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Careers in Research: “It’s All About Hustle”


During a panel discussion hosted by the Career Center’s Connect Team, students heard from three alumni working in the field of policy and political research. Panelists included Ann Dubin ’06, a freelance political researcher and consultant, Marc Pitarresi ’10, a freelance political and communications consultant and researcher, and Cristina Garafola ’11, a research associate at RAND Corp. specializing in Chinese foreign policy.

Panelists discussed their respective entries into the research profession, citing the Hamilton alumni network as a major help to students entering the workforce. Additionally, Dubin and Pitarresi discussed the advantages and disadvantages of freelance work while Garafola talked about her experience at a large think tank. The panelists also touched on some of the topics they currently research, including election security, East Asian foreign policy, and public attitudes toward Israel and Palestine.

When asked to impart advice to students interested in research, there was a common theme among all the panelists’ answers: the need for personal drive and effort. “It’s all about hustle,” said Dubin. “When you’re starting out, nobody’s going to come to you and say ‘Hey, I heard you’re really good at statistics, want to come work on my campaign?’ At first, you have to go to them and make those initial connections.”

Students of all class years attended the event, including Alex Reboredo ’22, who said: “It’s always interesting to see people who are actually in the field, because they can provide guidance. There’s resources like the Levitt Center and the Career Center that you hear about but hearing about them from people in the field provides a new perspective.” 

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