Into the Unknown

20161025_170900“When I began my journey…I did not have a fully mapped career path in my mind. I always told myself that I had time to figure it out and then in the blink of an eye, I found myself in the fourth year of my undergraduate degree.”

Written by: Crystal Lobo
Political Science Level IV

When I began my journey in Political Science, I did not have a fully mapped career path in my mind. I always told myself that I had time to figure it out and then in the blink of an eye, I found myself in the fourth year of my undergraduate degree. Like many of my peers, the tensions of the future got to me at the beginning of this academic year. I decided attended the Careers in Business Panel hosted by the Experiential Education office to see how my education could help me be successful in the job market.

The panel occurred on October 25, 2016. It consisted of three professionals who prided themselves on being McMaster Social Sciences alumni. The three panelists were from fields of consulting, human resources and corporate affairs, and policy and research analysis. Each of the panelists gave us students a description of their background, their education, and how they used lessons from the Social Sciences to carve their paths into fruitful and worthwhile careers in the business industry. Students then got the opportunity to ask panelists specific questions. Subjects of these inquiries included the value of an graduate-level degree, the transferability of skills obtained in the Social Sciences to careers in business, interview advice, and gender inequality in the industry, among many other topics. The panelists provided students answers bearing sources from their experiences and what they had seen over the years.

I learned two valuable lessons from attending the panel. First, I learned not to sell my Social Sciences degree short. The panelists helped me realize that this discipline effectively enhances skills in communication, innovation, and leadership. These skills not only impress employers but also craft successful careers in the business sector. Second, I learned the value of assessing our reasoning when making career decisions. For example, one of the panelists told us his reasoning against pursuing a graduate-level degree based on assessing that it would not specifically enhance his career growth or income in his role, but in other instances it might.  I may not pursue a career in business, but I still found this panel to be valuable because it made me open my mind to all the various opportunities my #SocSci degree will give me when I graduate.

Students Learn Lessons from Premier Kathleen Wynne and Local Leaders

BAES Kathleen Wynne


“Overall, it was an inspiring feeling to be seated in the same room as some of the most important business and political leaders in our community.”

Written by: Cam Galindo
Political Science Level IV

On June 21st I attended the Bay Area Economic Summit hosted by the Hamilton and Burlington Chambers of Commerce at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The cost of attending was covered by an experiential grant called the Hamilton Matters Fund offered through the Office of Experiential Education in the Faculty of Social Sciences. The theme of this year’s Bay Area Economic Summit was “Leading Change in a Regional Age”. The idea was to further strengthen the cooperation between neighbouring communities as shared interested are advanced in a global economy.

Discussion topics included world economic trends, inspiring stories of regional collaboration, driving innovation in the public and private sectors, and lots more. Much of the information was conveyed through panel discussions, breakout sessions, and several key note presentations. The conference took place throughout the entire day, and concluded with an address from the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne.

Her speech touched upon several points including the importance of local businesses and organizations working together to achieve similar goals. Not surprisingly, the Premier reinforced her support for Light Rail Transit in Hamilton and other transportation infrastructure projects in the GTHA that include the expansion of the GO Transit system. She even spoke to her government’s commitment to provide free tuition to low income families by mentioning that, “Brainpower is not determined by a family’s purchasing power.” Thus, once again reinforcing her government’s commitment to creating equal opportunities for students. Overall, it was an inspiring feeling to be seated in the same room as some of the most important business and political leaders in our community.

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Ambitious City

Written by: Clarissa Huffman
Sociology Level III
Anthropology ’14

What comes to mind when you think about your city? Or any city? Most people think about the bustling streets, busy urban centres, and suburban residential areas. When most people think of urban planning they think of infrastructure and design; city hall professionals working to make our city run smoothly, with cost and (hopefully!) the environment playing large roles in the decisions made.

Since my interests lie in urban development, environmental assessment, and sustainability, listening to the Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, speak on his triumphs in transforming his city was absolutely enlightening. His open conversation with Jennifer Keesmaat, the Chief City Planner of Toronto, was equally as fascinating, bringing together two different parts of the country to talk about the strengths and weaknesses from both cities, and how they can learn from each other to grow into the strong, sustainable cities we hope to see in our country’s future.  Continue reading

HIVEX Conference

Written by: Clarissa Huffman
Sociology Level III
Anthropology ’14

Have you ever attended a conference? Until now, I hadn’t. I was extremely shy about this – people around me seemed to be attending all of these amazing conferences and meeting all of these awesome professionals in their field, and gaining this valuable life experience. I sat and watched, thinking to myself, what do they have that I don’t? When I was asked to volunteer at the ‘Business of the Local’ session at the 2014 HIVEX conference, it was just around the time that I had begun collaborating with Experiential Education to start this blog. In deciding to take a leap and accept the volunteer position, I finally, after 5 years, answered my own question. Continue reading