Alumni in the Field

Kathryn Edgett
STU Degree: BA '11
Major: Great Ideas and Human Rights
Job Title: Officer for the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission
Location: Fredericton, NB

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work?
I’m responsible for investigating human rights complaints from across the province. This involves interviewing relevant witnesses and parties, gathering documents, analysis, and report writing. I also do presentations about the New Brunswick Human Rights Act to employers and groups around the province.
 
How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
Volunteer work is a big one. It’s a great opportunity to show an employer you’re interested in working in the field and—you never know—it might lead to a job! Sometimes you might not be able to get work experience in your intended field, but showing an interest through extra-curricular activities and volunteer work could be your leg up against other candidates.

How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
Being able to read and write well are essential in what I do and STU really helped foster those abilities. Being able to articulate what I want to say, look critically at a situation, and analyze it are also skills I developed through my liberal arts education.

Tom Henheffer
STU Degree: BA'09
Major: Journalism
Job Title: Executive Director, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Location: Toronto, ON

What are the duties and responsibilities of your work? 
No day is ever the same at CJFE. I do everything from strategy, relationship building and fundraising to creating our annual budget, speaking to the media, authoring op-eds, editing stories that we post on the website and in our annual publication, to hiring and dozens of other tasks. As an organization, CJFE advocates for the protection and enhancement of free expression rights in Canada and around the world. We hold government and institutions accountable through our publications, lobby governments, take protest actions, publish troves of resources on our website (CJFE.org), host an archive of published Snowden Documents, give grants to journalists in distress, intervene in court cases of public importance, and far more.
 
How can students prepare themselves at STU to work in your field? (eg. volunteer work, internships, extra-curricular activities, specific courses)
I came to this work through a background in both journalism and business, and I recommend that students take every opportunity to grow their knowledge, their networks, and to enhance their resumes. Volunteer for student newspapers and use that to eventually freelance for mainstream media organizations while still at school. Run for student council. Start your own business. Volunteer for every cause you’re interested in, especially if it relates to your career or gives you the chance to work overseas. All of these things are great ways to have new experiences and meet new people. Make sure you have a life outside of school and work, play sports, have a strong network of friends. Being a well-balanced person is far more important than having a good resume and is crucial for success.
 
How has STU and your liberal arts education helped you in your career?
I started in journalism writing for The Aquinian, and I used those clippings to get a freelancing gig at The Daily Gleaner. Then, I met the publisher of Maclean’s after his Dalton Camp lecture, which helped me land an internship at the magazine after I graduated. STU directly served as the launch pad for my career. More than that, it helped make me into a well-rounded, thoughtful person. I only have a Bachelor of Arts and I don’t have much specialized knowledge garnered from higher education—except for the trade of journalism and a knowledge of human rights. The broad base of a STU degree, and the critical thinking it teaches, makes you an adaptable person and teaches great problem-solving skills. Problem-solving is the most important skill an employee can have—if you can continue to build on the base a liberal arts education gives you, and approach new challenges in an intelligent way, you can go very far with a Bachelor of Arts.