Day in the Life: Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services

What is it really like working in a state-wide nonprofit network?  Maggie Potter addressed this on Tuesday, March 13th. Get insights into this field in preparation for  the Philadelphia Nonprofit & Government Career Fair at St. Joseph’s University on Tuesday, March 20th. Post your questions to our Facebook page or send us a tweet  to @PennCareerServ or @PennCareerDay.   Maggie will answer them directly. Read more about Maggie below and check out her insights on our Storify page where her tweets are available.

Maggie Potter graduated from Williams College with a Bachelor in Psychology in 2004. Following several years of working and soul searching, including a stint abroad in Nepal and a year as an Americorps VISTA in Boston, she landed at Penn for a dual Masters degree in Social Work and Social Policy. She graduated in 2011 and now works at the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services, a statewide membership association of nonprofits. She works closely with non-profit leaders, public officials at the state and local level, and foundations to advocate for better policies and practices for children and families involved with the foster care, juvenile justice and behavioral health systems. In her free time she enjoys traveling the world, reading, baking and doing yoga.

Exploring Careers? Check the Obituaries…

One exercise I have seen suggested in career counseling books and workshops is that to learn what really matters to you, you should try writing your own epitaph.  The idea is that you can see what you want to be remembered for, and as a result become more focused in your career exploration and job search.

I know it sounds creepy, perhaps this blog might have been better timed in a month for Halloween, when talk of the dead and the undead is more socially acceptable. But I will venture forth in sharing a Sunday ritual I have had for years (not eating eye-of-newt, I promise):  I sit down in the morning and pore through the Sunday New York Times Obituaries.   As a career counselor, I have always found the profiles of people in their long career spans to be very compelling.  I can’t think of a better place to learn about the variety of careers available, nor to really illustrate the varying roles of fate, of ambition, of goals achieved and how unanticipated experiences have changed the course of people’s lives. When you read obituaries you also see how a personality, for example a style of leadership or capacity for empathy, can play a huge role in the nature of someone’s achievements.

While reading the obit articles can be sad because the lives described are at their ends, it is also thrilling to be reminded how much people can accomplish for society in how many ways.  If you are currently exploring your options, this is an unconventional, but inspiring approach to learn about the world of work.  These are some of the people profiled this week:

Entertainment/Communications Careers

Founding Force of the Big East Conference

Gavitt harnessed the burgeoning power of televised sports coverage with his nascent league to produce a powerful conference.

Man Who Shaped Miniature Golf

Mr. Lomma and his brother Alphonse are widely credited with having shaped the game’s familiar postwar incarnation

Painter and a Creator of Pop Art

Mr. Hamilton, whose sly, trenchant take on consumer culture and advertising made him a pioneering figure in Pop Art, was known for his cover design of the Beatles’ “White Album.”

Political Careers

Leader in Gay Rights Fight

Mr. Evans helped form and lead the movement that coalesced after gay people and their supporters protested a 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar.

Antiwar Leader in 1960s

Mr. Oglesby led Students for a Democratic Society as it publicly opposed the Vietnam War, and his speech “Let Us Shape the Future” is considered a landmark of American political rhetoric.

Charles Percy, Former Ill. Senator

Mr. Percy was a moderate Republican who clashed with President Richard M. Nixon over the Watergate scandal.

Education Careers

Man Who Fought Standardized Tests

Dr. Perrone’s ideas on flexible teaching methods led to a loose network of public alternative schools in New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Cultural Musicologist

Christopher Small, a New Zealand-born writer and musicologist who argued that music is above all an active ritual involving those who play and listen to it

Judge and a Scholar

Mr. Asch, a judge with a Ph.D. in sociology, wrote scholarly works about civil liberties and made notable decisions about landlord-tenant law and gay employment.

Hi Tech Careers

Early Chronicler of Video Games

Mr. Kunkel helped start the first published gaming column in 1978, and later the first video game magazine.

Pioneer of E-Books

Mr. Hart began the digital library Project Gutenberg after a July 4 fireworks display, when he typed up the Declaration of Independence and made it available for download.

Builder of Cargo Container

Mr. Tantlinger is credited with creating, in the 1950s, the first commercially viable modern shipping container, which changed the way nations do business.

And, for the thrillseekers…

Daring Italian Mountaineer

Mr. Bonatti was a member of the Italian team that conquered K2 in northern Pakistan

Air and Land Daredevil

Ms. Skelton was a three-time national aerobatic women’s flight champion when she turned to race-car driving, then went on to exceed 300 m.p.h. in a jet-powered car.

What do you want to be remembered for?  I’ll close with a quote from my colleague John Tuton: “…our society focuses so much on the outward trappings of success like salary and possessions when folks are alive, but I’ve never seen a dollar sign on a tombstone.”

A Day in the Life: NPR Producer

Read Melody Kramer’s archived tweet feed here:

Have you always wanted to produce your own radio show? Broadcast to thousands, even millions, of people with the flick of the “on air” switch? Not surprisingly, there’s more than just the flick of a switch to make it happen.  Next Thursday, March 24th @PennCareerDay welcomes Melody Kramer.  Melody will post live throughout her day and highlight life as an associate producer with NPR.  To learn more about her, read below and check out her posts here.

Melody Kramer (SAS ’06)

Melody Kramer is an associate producer at Fresh Air with Terry Gross in Philadelphia. She previously was the director and associate producer of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me in Chicago and an NPR Kroc Fellow in Washington DC. She graduated from Penn in 2006 with a B.A. in English. At Penn, she was a member of the Penn Band and wrote for The Daily Pennsylvanian and The Punch Bowl.

To find Melody on Twitter, follow @mkramer.

Nonprofit Career Fair & Year of Service Panel

By Kelly Cleary

Community and Economic Development, Education, Environment, Healthcare, Homelessness, Human Rights, International Affairs, Social Justice…

These are all issues that Penn students express their concern for and demonstrate their commitment to improving those conditions for others through the hard work and dedication they give to their extra-curricular activities. But many students don’t realize that they can continue contributing to these causes while building on the professional skills they gained here at Penn by pursuing internships and rewarding careers in the not-for-profit and public service sectors.

Idealist’s Guide to Nonprofit Careers for First-time Job Seekers is a great primer for students interested in exploring careers in the not-for-profit sector.

Students interested in interning and working in the nonprofit sector in Philadelphia are encouraged to attend this event on Friday:

Philadelphia Not-For-Profit & Public Service Career Fair on Friday, February 25th, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Bryn Mawr College, Thomas Great Hall

This is your chance to meet and talk with 50-60 representatives from a wide variety of not-for-profit and public service employers with internships and jobs serving many missions. Employers include those in the arts, education, environment, health, law and justice, politics and government, religious and ethnic causes, science, social service and women’s issues.  Bryn Mawr is an easy train ride from Penn. Click here for directions. For more information including a list of the over 65 participating organizations, please visit:

Interested in a Year of Service/Gap Year? Another great way to gain professional experience in the public service/nonprofit sector is to do a post-graduate year of service. Several organizations who offer these programs will be attending the fair on Friday, and you can learn more about Service Corps and Gap Year options at tomorrow panel:


Do you want to make the world a better place?  Are you looking for a job during the “gap year” between college and graduate school?  There are a plethora of community service fellowships out there that typically include work in the U.S. or abroad in a wide variety of fields (teaching, advocacy, community development, health care, immigrant services, social work, environment, etc.).  Many programs also feature a training program prior to the work period, living in community (or own one’s own), deferment of student loans, and scholarships for graduate school.  Come to this workshop + panel to learn about these fellowships and service corps programs, whether they are right for you, and how to submit strong applications.  A panel of current and former fellows from selected programs will also discuss details of their experiences and give their take on vetting programs and applying to them.

A Day in the Life: General Counsel of a Non-Profit Corporation

Read Brandon Fitzgerald’s archived tweet feed here:

Next Tuesday, February 8th, we kick off our Spring edition of @PennCareerDay on Twitter! Brandon M. Fitzgerald (SAS ’93) will post throughout his day as the Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Inc. (MCCA).  If you’re interested in a career in law, life at a non-profit corporation or diversity issues, then follow @PennCareerDay on the 8th!  Learn about Brandon’s background below.

Brandon Fitzgerald (SAS '93)

Brandon joined MCCA in March of 2008 and he handles all legal matters for MCCA including those related to its internet presence and MCCA’s Diversity & the Bar® magazine.  MCCA’s mission is to advocate for the expanded hiring, promotion, and retention of minority attorneys by corporate law departments and the law firms that serve them. Since its founding in 1997, MCCA has emerged as a thought leader on diversity issues in the legal profession, and its expanded platform addresses diversity management issues involving generational diversity; women; the physically challenged; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lawyers; and lawyers of color.

Brandon spent the first portion of his legal career as an associate in the DC offices of several large, national law firms– including Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.  In private practice, his focus was on corporate transactions, securities, and finance.

Brandon has also served as in-house counsel to several multinational companies where he reported to the General Counsel and worked directly with senior management.  His focus in-house was in the areas of finance, copyrights and trademarks, and corporate governance.

He is also the co-chair of the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association’s Diversity Forum and is one of the originators of WMACCA’s Corporate Scholars Program.  The Corporate Scholars Program began in 2004 and provides paid internships at WMACCA member corporations to diverse students attending law school in Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Richmond, Virginia.

Brandon received a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.