As a sophomore, Bailey Nachreiner-Mackesey felt frustrated to hear her peers in the College of Letters & Science worry about whether a liberal arts education would lead to a lucrative career.
Bailey had friends who graduated from L&S with “wild success,” so she decided to use her Journalism 202 research project to dispel any misconceptions about the value of her – and so many others’ – education.
Bailey interviewed alumni, employers, career advisors, faculty and staff and read multiple studies on liberal arts graduates.
What she discovered was that, regardless of major, L&S students learn to look at problems from a variety of different perspectives and draw from numerous tools to question, analyze, and solve them.
They learn to think critically and dissect problems through the lens of chemists, philosophers, or composers. They learn to effectively write and communicate as journalists and creative writers. And they learn to develop creative solutions wearing the hat of a psychologist, chemist or historian.
Two years later, Bailey is approaching May graduation with majors in Political Science and Journalism and a Gender and Women’s Studies certificate.
Looking back on her education, she recalled how valuable this exercise was: “As I was given more responsibility and agency in classes, internships, and jobs, I was able to clearly see the assets and benefits of my education and be able to articulate them to people who may be more skeptical of my training.”
A liberal arts education is not just about the content of the study; it’s about the skills learned while studying something passionately. And these skills are powerful assets in the job market.
In 2014, the college launched a comprehensive career initiative to spark students’ imaginations and help them see their potential long before they don their caps and gowns for graduation.
The L&S Career Initiative designed programs that support students like Bailey in making the most of their four years so they can transition seamlessly and with a competitive edge into employment or graduate school.
From career courses to a holistic internship program, quality advising to alumni mentoring programs and unfettered access to employers, we have created top-notch services that leverage the classroom experience and support our students’ career exploration and preparation.
As it turns out, L&S students not only graduate with “wild success,” but with the skills and experience needed to continue to thrive throughout their careers.
We are proud that L&S graduates go on to be CEOs, innovators, and leaders, and we want our current students to be ready to join these ranks.
“Look around. There’s a liberal arts major succeeding in just about every field,” Bailey added.
A liberal arts education doesn’t prepare students for success in just one field, but in many.
As graduation approaches, Bailey aspires to pursue communication law. Before heading to law school, however, she hopes to continue working for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in campaign communications.
“I’m proud of my education,” she said. “I worked hard to earn opportunities that advanced me and allowed me to pursue my interests and goals. I don’t regret anything.”