Carnegie Mellon University

Life After IPS

Sometimes the best way to envision your career path is with an assist from those who have come before. Read on to learn about how students who received graduate degrees from the Institute for Politics and Strategy used their experiences in the real world. 


Alex Pasch knew she wanted to study abroad. That’s one of the reasons she chose Carnegie Mellon University, because the flexibility of the curriculum would allow for a semester overseas. She didn’t know where, she didn’t know why, but she knew she wanted to go.

Her experience in Brussels, Belgium gave her direction. Now Pasch, who graduated with degrees in both International Relations and Politics and Ethics, History, and Public Policy in 2017, and a Master’s in IRP the following year, is in the second year of law school at Georgetown, focusing on international law and trade. Read more


Emily Peterson sat on her friend’s couch in Aruba during spring break, applying to graduate school. She was a senior at the United States Naval Academy, which allows a small number of graduating students to complete postgraduate education before beginning their military service. 

Later that year, she was at Carnegie Mellon. Read more


When Colin Tait enrolled in Carnegie Mellon’s BXA Intercollege Degree Program, he had to study a language. One of his earliest friends on campus posed him a question that, in a way, started him along his career path.

“She asked me, ‘Why do I speak English?’” Tait said. “‘I speak your language, but you don’t speak mine [Arabic].’ I was like, OK, that’s a challenge.”  Read more


As Kellen Carleton began his junior year at Carnegie Mellon, he thought he had his career figured out. Two summers before, he interned with Octagon, one of the world’s largest sports agencies. The summer after that, Carleton, a lifelong hockey player and Pittsburgh sports fan, interned with the Penguins during a playoff run that resulted in the first of two consecutive Stanley Cups. Read more


Susanna Seltzer, who earned a degree in International Relations and Politics from Carnegie Mellon in 2016 and later got a master’s in the same subject, works for Maxar Technologies, a geospatial satellite imaging firm. She and her team assessed the threat of violence at various polling places in Afghanistan and ranked them, then shared that information with US and Afghan security personnel. Read more