Carnegie Mellon University

Alumni Spotlights

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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.

Sports management seemed to be the likely path for Carleton until the following spring, when he participated in the Washington Semester Program. He interned with Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey. He attended Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“It was an absolutely transformational semester in my college experience,” Carleton said. “It’s made all the difference, it really has.” Read more.

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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.

“We were able to help the Afghan government ensure better elections,” Seltzer said. “That’s real-world impact. That’s big-picture impact. These are skills, a majority of them I learned at Carnegie Mellon, that I was able to contribute to free and fair elections in a country halfway across the world.” Read more.

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After more than four years overseas, Celete Kato was coming home. The America she left in 2014 was not the America to which she returned last year, she said, so she thought she’d ease into it.

“And so I was like, let me bike across the country,” she added.

So much for easing into it.

But that endeavor fits Kato, who graduated Carnegie Mellon in 2012 with degrees in both International Relations and Politics and Decision Science, well: She’s a people person with the urge to travel. Read more.

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For Emily Feenstra, São Paulo beckoned. She had spent a year and a half there, on and off, investing in education technologies for low- and middle-income families in Latin America. She’d learned Portuguese.

Now the operations were there, and she had a choice: Move to Brazil, or move on?

“I didn’t want to be a funder anymore,” said Feenstra, who graduated Carnegie Mellon in 2013 with degrees in both International Relations and Politics and Policy and Management. “I wanted to make sure that I was capable of doing what we were asking our entrepreneurs to do in our portfolio." Read more.