From a State House research analyst working in policy to MCLA's alumni relations coordinator where he encourages graduates of the College to stay connected, English/communications major Brandon Pender '07 has only begun to realize where his MCLA education will take him.
Upon his graduation, Pender first thought he would pursue a career in television and broadcasting by heading to graduate school. However, that plan changed after he learned that State Rep. Daniel Bosley, D-North Adams, had a position open on his staff.
The legislator thought Pender and his background in the communications field would be a great fit in his office. So, the Queens, N.Y. native soon found himself working for Bosley in downtown Boston. There, Pender not only got his foot in the door into the world of politics, he learned the legislative process.
Pender went on to work for Massachusetts Rep. Brian Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Committee of Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.
"My main purpose in his office was working with broadband and how we could assist unserved and underserved communities within the state, especially Western Massachusetts," Pender said. "It was especially great because, coming from MCLA and Western Massachusetts, I got a chance to see what was needed out this way. It was great working on that project with different lobbyists and different companies and getting all the information out. It was fun."
Now, Pender communicates with MCLA grads. His job includes networking with younger alumni - most of whom have been out of college within the last 10 years. He incorporates social networking on the online realm, working to link a Facebook page with the alumni page on the MCLA Web site.
"I really hope to reach the alums online because, these days, everything really is online media as people connect," Pender explained. "You really have to think about the last time anyone has handwritten a letter. We're not trying to go away from that here, but it would be great if we could incorporate both."
Pender wants young alumni and undergraduates to know that the Advancement Office is there for them. Even before they graduate, networking opportunities are available as they enter the job market, he said.
"I want recent graduates - as well as those who are currently at MCLA - to know that we are a resource for them. We want them to connect with alums out there and to hear their stories. We want the transition from college to career to be a little less stressful."
Pender said the liberal arts education he found at MCLA prepared him well for the world of work.
"With the background that I had from my classes and from being involved on campus and interactions with faculty, staff, students and friends, and the learning from the small classes where it was one-on-one and you had the chance to network and be involved with intramurals and the President's Office, it was great," he explained.
"I went into the working world saying, 'I can do this.' I can relate to a lot of these graduates when they are putting their resumes out there and not getting calls back. I've been in that position before. I understand how it goes. Every graduate says they just want that chance. Well, that chance will come. Having and using the services here that I had with Career Resources to the Alumni Relations House to the President's Office, I was able to take that next step.
"We want to see how they're doing, what they're doing and where they are in life, because we do care here," he said.
Alums who would like to reconnect with the college should contact Pender at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 662-5392.