Hello! My name is Maggie McInerney, and I am a third-year SPIA student. I am majoring in Political Science with a minor in Law, Philosophy, and Ethics and certificates in Data Analytics in Public Policy and Environmental Ethics. I know that is a breath to say, but it only demonstrates the variety by which SPIA allows you to explore! I am from Newtown, CT, and I hope to ease and give peace of mind to anyone who might feel unsure of their post-grad SPIA career options.
From a young age, I knew my future career would involve government or politics, as it was my only fascination while in school. Like most people, I was told the only smart career choice was to enroll in law school immediately after graduation and follow the trajectory of any typical lawyer. And again, like many people, I found this route intriguing but also intimidating and rigid. I am passionate about policy studies, legal philosophy, and environmental advocacy. How could I balance all of my interests into a single field?
That is what is so unique about SPIA. You do not have to be tied down to any specific interest, as the possibilities of coursework, lectures, professional opportunities, and clubs are endless! Therefore, when I arrived at UGA, especially as an out-of-state student, I was eager to discover all of my options and familiarize myself with the information and guidance SPIA provides for its students. More importantly, I wanted to explore careers that did not require a law school degree and carve out alternate career paths!
I was able to accomplish this (and even more!) by gathering knowledge from advisors, professors, and SPIA peers. For example, I am interested in attending the D.C. Semester program, where I have learned that I can pick any internship in D.C. that I chose, whether that be a law firm, a newspaper column, a campaign, a bank firm, or the EPA. After attending an eye-opening lecture by William Donnelly, specifically about careers outside of having a J.D., I also learned about opportunities to do private research with organizations such as BSI, The New York Times, and Microsoft, to name a few. Another fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in public service is the MPA program, a Master’s in Public Administration. This two-year program is one of the most accredited in the country, one that UGA is best known for. These are just a few examples of the countless offerings this college can give anyone not planning to attend law school. Thanks to my time with SPIA, I am confident in my ability to succeed in whatever career path I choose, whether that involves law school or not.