Non-Profit Work, Policy Work & Health Care

Since he was an undergraduate, Scott Jackson ’80 has “believed that part of my own commitment to this world is to have apositive impact on the history of the future and perhaps even more importantly our future history makers,” and this commitment has guided his career in global development, fundraising, and marketing.  After graduation, Scott earned an MBA from the University of Edinburgh School of International Business, amd went on to found TRADEC, a firm specializing in international trade promotion, technology transfer and market access. Scott then served as President and Managing Director of APCO Seattle, and Senior Vice-President at World Vision US before joining Global Impact. He writes, “As President and CEO of Global Impact I am currently engaged with many others to change the course of history for Syrian Refugees, joining many others to ensure that something positive happens for the largest humanitarian crisis of our time.  A decade earlier I had the privilege to be a part of the chorus to turn the tide of HIV-AIDS in Africa.”  In 2010 UPS recognized Scott’s achievements with an honorary doctorate.  He has this advice for current students: “Be proud of your major and know that the capacity to affect history starts with the capacity to know that history exists not just for the historian but for each and every one of us as we dare to continue our journey and share our story.”   

After graduation, Sara Hallvik ’07 spent a year in Sidney, Montana, working at the county health department through the AmeriCorps *VISTA program, “conducting an environmental health assessment, organizing community meetings to learn more about their health and public health concerns, and combining this information with data from local, state, and regional epidemiological studies.” The following year, Sara returned to Washington for two years as an analyst with the Kittitas County Public Health Department, then earned a Master’s in Public Health from Oregon Health Sciences University in the biostatistics and epidemiology program, while working as an analyst in Multnomah County’s mental health and addiction services division. In 2013, Sara moved into her current role with Acumentra Health as senior healthcare analyst. She writes, “The most rewarding part of my career is seeing the results of my work impact healthcare policy, medical provider behavior, and ultimately improving the population's health.” She credits the History major with making her a better writer, and cites her daily reliance on the research skills she gained doing History at UPS.  Current students should know that public health “does require a masters degree if you're interested in going into epidemiology or biostatistics as those are very specialized fields. In the end that's a good thing, because as an employee you become invaluable to your company. Most jobs are in government, which will not make you rich but do pay enough and have nice benefits. The people that are attracted to the public health field tend to be very kind and willing to share ideas and resources, and to work collaboratively, which makes my day-to-day work enjoyable.”

Graham Taylor ’07 joined AmeriCorps in 2008 as a Volunteer Coordinator with the Tahoma Audubon Society, a non-profit organization focused on bird conservation. After working with Audubon for two years, he moved to the Sierra Club as a Conservation Organizer. Five years later, Grant transitioned into a new position as the Northwest Field Representative with the National Parks Conservation Association. He writes, “My work has me engaging the public and our organization's membership to advocate for our national parks in the Pacific Northwest. I am most rewarded by the people I get to work with, and the issues we get to address. I've had a chance to work on everything from oil spill prevention, to supporting grizzly bear recovery in the North Cascades.”  Studying history, Graham says, “helped me understand multiple perspectives on many issues, which has proved critically important as I work to engage people on controversial issues, improved my writing skills, and also helped me determine the authenticity of information that I encounter. Thus, it gave me some key tools to separate fact from fiction and recognize the nuance and complexity of the world.” He suggests that students interested in conservation careers should volunteer for a conservation organization to network and gain an undertanding of current issues in the field. “Many conservation groups are looking for young people - the next generation to fight for our public lands, waters, and wildlife. Identify your strengths - whether it is scientific fieldwork, grassroots organizing, fundraising or online advocacy support. All of these roles are key to the conservation field.”

After writing her History thesis on Margaret Sanger and the American birth control movement (plus an IPE thesis on the economic effects of AIDS), Linnea Johansen ’09 work in hospitals and traveled before getting her Master’s in Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  After graduating, she writes, “I was awarded a fellowship with Providence Health & Services in Anchorage, Alaska, where I worked After two years in Alaska, I relocated to Portland, Oregon, where I currently serve as a Senior Project Manager for Oncology Services throughout the Providence System.” She reflects that “the skills I gained from my UPS history degree in analytical thinking, writing, and research prepared me well for grad school, and serve me every day in the work I do now.” History students interested in health care policy or administration should volunteer at health care facilities, Linnea suggests. “Spend time in hospitals, federally qualified health centers that serve the underinsured and underserved, and specialized clinics, such as Planned Parenthood. Educate yourself on health care policy, Medicare and Medicaid. Reach out to health policy organizations and do informational interviews with people whose jobs you find interesting to get a broad-spectrum view of the health system.”

After getting his MAT at Puget Sound, Rob Wellington ’11 returned to Colorado and joined AmeriCorps, which placed him with the ‘I Have a Dream’ Foundation. Finding that his favorite part of the position was not teaching or tutoring but “the administrative behind-the-scenes stuff,” Rob moved into a Volunteer Coordinator role at the foundation before landing his current job as a Case Manager with a non-profit called the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center. Rob writes, “A large part of my position is making decisions about children's eligibility for Medicaid Waivers. These Waivers can give families up to $37,000 in state aid. Since this is a lot of taxpayer money at stake, I have to be able to defend any decision I make in my post-meeting write-ups. The writing skills that I developed in the History Department have been invaluable for this! I learned to make a clear argument, defend that argument with specific examples, present and refute the counter argument, offer potential alternatives and describe future implications. That's probably 80% of my job now, except that I write about people who are still alive and the sources are medical records, interviews, and my own observations.  I get compliments almost weekly from the State about how well I write up my decisions and I attribute this largely to UPS!” Rob encourages current students to spend time networking, noting that he found his current position through a chance meeting while on vacation.  He notes, “There also UPS alumni chapters in cities across the country and we're all eager to help recent grads in any way we can. Also, once you land an interview from networking, be sure to highlight the communication skills and critical thinking that UPS develops in all of its students.”