Name: Candice Jaimungal
Degree: M.A. International Affairs
Year Graduated: 2020
Career/Field: Social Media Specialist/US Politics
What was your professional and educational background before you came?
I obtained my B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Cortland College in 2017. Near the ending of my time at Cortland, I found my interest in resiliency research gravitating, and I started to shift my thinking from looking at the resiliency of people in conflict areas such as, refugees and, and survivors of violence, to an interest in the policy and political institutions behind these events. After graduating from college, I spent a year working for the public interest group, the New York Public Interest Research Group, and worked on a variety of different human rights issues (although I didn’t realize it then) — from food and housing insecurity, to voter and consumer rights, and the systematic barriers to higher education. I realized then that I wanted to keep working on those issues, from a global perspective and through a human rights lens — which is why I started looking into International Affairs programs.
What brought you to SGPIA/The New School rather than other programs?
The New School’s human rights perspective and critical theory lens’ really influenced my decision to attend SGPIA/The New School. I wanted to enroll in a program where I knew I would learn to think critically about the pressing issues and explore rights, governance, and development from post-colonial and feminist lens’. I am also big on experiential learning, and wanted to enroll in a program where I knew I could gain hands on experience. When I learned of the IFP and UNSS programs at SGPIA, and the various practicum choices, I knew that was what I wanted to do. This was especially important to me as I did not have a background in international affairs before I came to the program.
What advice would you give to students considering studying international affairs at The New School? What advice would you give to new New School IA students?
I learned so much through my practicums and courses. I took the “Create Your Own Practicum” route in regards to my capstone project, and also participated in a Practicum with the Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility where I worked on the Tempest Tossed Podcast. Additionally, during the summer I participated in the UN Summer Study Program and worked with the UN Women practicum team. Every post grad interview has asked me about my UNSS experience and have been impressed by my capstone practicum experience. Mark Johnson also made sure we learned practical project management skills during our practicums, which has been super helpful post graduation. So I would definitely advise students to go off the beaten path and try their hand at alternative, creative ways to showcase their work and research – you end up learning and adapting more, something that employers want to see. I also highly recommend participating in a practicum course or SGPIA’s skills workshops.
What is your current work/position? How did SGPIA prepare you for it?
I just started a position with the Data Analytics group, YouGov. I work with the YouGovAmerica team on all things related to the 2020 US Presidential Election. I’m responsible for supporting our journalists and researchers to create social media posts that highlight YouGov’s political data with our partners at The Economist, Yahoo News, CBS News, HuffPost, and The Daily Show. I also write some of the longer editorial pieces, and help on the backend with communications related tasks (i.e. daily newsletter, website maintenance, data visualizations, etc.).
First of all, working as one of the social media and communications coordinators for the SGPIA department prepared me tremendously for this position. Outside of that, my experience working with CMS systems, especially the experience I gained during my capstone project, really helped me stand out. All the writing and research experience, and the importance of grounding work with data is also very applicable to my current position and really prepared me.
The SGPIA program also encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and learn more technical skills that I don’t think I would have learned elsewhere. The emphasis and importance of data visualization and utilizing emerging media for the purpose of disseminating information was definitely emphasized in my courses, and I can 100 percent see why. Being able to communicate and illustrate data results is a key part of my position and courses that made me rethink storytelling methods such as Documentary Traditions and Human Rights, really shaped me.
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