Alumni and Careers

This is what some of our government and legal studies alumni are doing now with their Bowdoin degrees.
Victoria (Wirunwan) Pitakton 17'

Victoria (Wirunwan) Pitakton

Class of: 2017

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Major(s): Government and Legal Studies

Taking advantage of a liberal arts education has been the most rewarding decision I have ever made.

What is your current job (position) and what do you do specifically?

I am a researcher (officially called urban researcher) at an organization called Urban Design and Development Center in Bangkok, Thailand. It is a small organization of about fifteen people that deals with urban development, urban planning, and urban governance, and aims to be an agent that connects the public, private, and civil sectors to promote an inclusive urban development.

The organization handles several projects, but I am on a team that is responsible for one that is pushing for the Open Data project, co-funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. So my day-to-day job is to research about how open data (the disclosure of information without any restriction) can help with urban issues in this digital age and the role of governance in urban development and its potential uneven vulnerabilities.

Aside from research, I also write articles to publicize about the project to the general public. It has really been quite interesting because not only do I get to learn things every day, I also get to interact with people of various expertise like urban architects, graphic designers, sociologists, etc.

What are your fond memories of the department, including courses or experiences?

There are really so many. One of my fondest memories is definitely the discussions in Professor Laura Henry's Social Movement and Political Change because I get to learn about what others have sacrificed in the past, and what has been happening through an academic lens. Each person had to write a semester-long paper, and to me what each peer chooses to do as their project is very fascinating as it definitely reflects their passion.

Another fond memory is my time in Professor Ericka Albaugh's Politics of Development class. Coming from Thailand, a third world country, the topic of development is very personal and I had all these aspirations and ideals about the topic before going into the class. I think it definitely gave me a realistic perspective on how the politics comes in to play. Of course it was hard to learn that even the best of good intentions can have unintended consequences, but I think it was a necessary awakening.

What advice would you have for current Gov majors in thinking about life after Bowdoin?

Do not be afraid to explore different fields, both within the department and outside. Taking advantage of that liberal arts education has been the most rewarding decision I have ever made, and I appreciate it even more after Bowdoin. My work involves researching and learning about different fields, and being able to incorporate them has been very valuable.

Nora Biette-Timmons

Nora Biette-Timmons

Class of: 2014

Location: New York, NY

Major(s): Government and Legal Studies

Iā€™m the associate editor at The Trace (www.thetrace.org), which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news site that covers gun violence and gun policy.

What is your current job and what do you do specifically?

I’m the associate editor at The Trace (www.thetrace.org), but because we’re a small organization, I get to do a little bit of everything: I commission (which means I come up with story ideas and assign them to freelance writers) and edit our politics articles and our “evergreen” stories — that is, pieces that don’t have a time-sensitive news peg that we can run whenever. I also edit our newsletter, which is a daily briefing on news from the gun world — it’s a mix of politics, legislative news; court decisions; incidents of violence; and new research on the subject.

But starting in September, I’ll be studying for a masters degree in comparative politics at the London School of Economics. My specific area of study will be political parties in Western democracies and I’m particularly interested in the recent developments of the Labour Party in the UK and the Democratic Party in the US. 

What are your fondest memories of the Government Department, including courses or experiences?

At Bowdoin, my concentration was American Government — and I really concentrated on it. I once counted it up and I almost had more than twice the required number of courses for my concentration. I wouldn’t say I regret that, but I do wish I had been a little more mindful of it at the time. I loved my classes, but I wouldn’t say I really got into an academic groove and started taking full advantage of all that the Government Department has to offer (attending lectures; going to office hours even when I didn’t have a looming paper deadline; devising an independent study course) until the spring semester of my junior year.

A particular academic highlight was taking Social Movements and Popular Protest in fall 2011 — the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I also loved American Political Development and Politics of the European Union (I’d love to be taking that class right now as Brexit negotiations are ongoing). Also, take British Politics with Henry Laurence if you have the chance!

What advice would give current Gov majors thinking about life after Bowdoin?

Since graduation, one of the things that continually intrigues me is how many different types of jobs there are. That may sound silly but it can be comforting (I hope) as you prepare for life after Bowdoin and it seems like there are only a handful of career paths that the CPC is advertising and/or that your classmates are pursuing.

Tanu Kumar '12

Tanu Kumar

Class of: 2012

Location: University of California, Berkeley

Major(s): Government and Legal Studies

I am a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

What is your current job (position) and what do you do specifically?

For now, I’m trying to wrap up my dissertation project and while also working towards submitting other research projects and papers for publication. Apart from wrapping up my dissertation project, I also occasionally help teach undergraduate courses and consult at the UC Berkeley D-Lab (a place where people can seek advice on research design, coding, programming, and statistics).

What do you remember as fond memories of the Government Department, including courses or experiences?

I will never forget my first Government class—Intro to Comparative Government, taught by Laura Henry. For the first time, I felt like I was gaining tools to learn about the world and understand the news! I also loved both of the advanced seminars I took — one was with Dewitt John, and the other was with Ericka Albaugh. Finally, working on my honors project was stressful but rewarding!

What advice would you have for current Gov majors in thinking about life after Bowdoin?

Graduate school in political science or economics (PhD level— I can’t say much about an MA program) can be an amazing way to learn how to do research on topics you care about. Equally importantly, it’s a great way to pick up valuable skills such as statistics, programming, and grant writing. These skills are applicable and, in fact, very sought after, both within and outside of academia.

Alain Mathieu ā€™12

Alain Mathieu

Class of: 2012

Location: Boston, MA

Major(s): Government and Legal Studies

I am an associate attorney at Mintz Levin, a large Boston-based law firm.

What is your current job and what do you do specifically?

I am an associate attorney at Mintz Levin, a large Boston-based law firm, the role offers me the opportunity to do some very interesting work alongside incredibly smart, talented, and wonderful people (including some great Bowdoin alumni). I am in the firms litigation section, where I work on a wide variety of matters involving public and private companies across a number of industries.

Another very special part of my job is the opportunity to help people through our robust pro bono practice. From the start of my time at the firm, I've been able to lend my voice and my skills to those who are unrepresented or underrepresented in our legal system and society.

I am a recent graduate of Boston College Law School, where I spent a fantastic three years. While at BC, I served as a teaching assistant in criminal law, a summer law clerk at a legal advocacy organization called Free Speech for People, a summer associate here at Mintz Levin, and a judicial intern for the Honorable Gregory C. Flynn in the Waltham District Court and District Court Appellate Division. I was also a member of BC's admissions committee and vice president of the BC Law Democrats.

What do you remember as fond memories of the Government Department, including courses or experiences?

I am of the strong belief that Bowdoin’s government professors are some of the very best in the country. At Bowdoin, I concentrated in American government, with an eye towards building a curriculum that would prepare me for law school. I took enough courses in the government department to have majored in it twice, simply because I truly enjoyed learning from the brilliant minds of Bowdoin’s professors. In particular, I took every class that Professor Morgan and Professor Franz taught while I was there. Some of my favorites included Law and Society, Constitutional Law, Campaigns and Elections, and Money and Politics. I also enjoyed working closely with Prof. Franz on an independent study during my junior year, and with Prof. Morgan on my honors project during my senior year. In addition, I also learned a great deal from Professors Potholm, Springer, Martin, and Yarborough. Finally, arguably the best part of the government department is its gem, Lynne Atkinson, who is a great friend and pleasure to spend time around. I don’t know if I would have made it to graduation without her!

What advice would you have for current Gov majors in thinking about life after Bowdoin?

My biggest piece of advice for current government majors (and all Bowdoin students for that matter) is to engage with, and lean on, Bowdoin’s vast alumni network. The Bowdoin community is a special one, and you will undoubtedly find that Bowdoin alumni are very willing to help you with advice, internship/job opportunities, etc. Bowdoin alumni have played a huge role in my career growth; Joe Curtin ’84 and Emmett Lyne ’86 have both been instrumental mentors for me, and were a big part of my decision to move to (and stay in) Boston to practice law. In addition, develop good relationships with with your Bowdoin professors and the Career Planning office.

Steve Robinson '11

Steve Robinson

Class of: 2011

Location: Boston, MA

Major(s): Government and Legal Studies

I'm the Executive Producer of the Howie Carr Show, a Boston-based radio show that airs on 30 stations throughout New England and nationally on Newsmax TV.

What is your current job and what do you do specifically?

I'm the Executive Producer of the Howie Carr Show, a Boston-based radio show that airs on 30 stations throughout New England and nationally on Newsmax TV.

My job is to research news topics, mix audio during the show, book guests, and banter with Howie on air about the news of the day. When Howie's on vacation, I run the show four long hours talking politics. I've interviewed Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Ann Coulter, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, to name a few. We broadcasted from Cleveland during the RNC Convention and recently did a show from the East Room of the White House with President Donald Trump.

What do you remember as fond memories of the Government Department, including courses or experiences?

There are too many to count. I remember being Jeff Selinger's conservative antagonist during public policy courses, Prof. Franco introducing me to Leo Strauss, learning about the dark side of public opinion polling with Michael Franz, and Jean Yarbrough telling me my life would be much better if I chose a political philosophy concentration. (She was right!) And, of course, I remember working during the summer with the lovely and talented Lynne Atkinson.

What advice would you have for current Gov majors in thinking about life after Bowdoin?

Talk to people, make friends, and grow your network. When you have a large professional network, especially in politics, you can add more value to any organization. Also, mind your work-life balance. When you're working in politics and media, you want to be plugged in all the time checking the Drudge Report, reading the Wall Street Journal and scrolling through a political Twitter feed. But getting off the Internet and reading a book can help you develop new perspectives on current events.

Brandon Mazer ā€™08

Brandon Mazer

Class of: 2008

Location: Portland, Maine

Major(s): Government and Legal Studies

I am General Counsel for Shipyard Brewing Company based in Portland, Maine. My position allows me to interact with almost every aspect of the business.

What is your current job and what do you do specifically?

I am involved with compliance, branding, assisting with opening new pub locations across the country (Shipyard also owns Sea Dog Brewing Company), and other day to day management needs.

What are your fondest memories of the Government Department, including courses or experiences?

I have so many awesome memories of my time in the Government Department.  Working closely with the professors as the student aide in the department allowed me to cultivate some lifelong friendships.  Some of my favorite courses included Professor Morgan’s Constitutional Law (which ended up using the same course book as my law school Con-Law class), Franz’s Money in Politics, and Shelley Deane’s Ending Civil Wars.  Another great memory was Professor Deane’s spaghetti suppers where she would try to carbo load us before her final.

What advice would give current Gov majors thinking about life after Bowdoin?

Never hesitate to use a Bowdoin connection.  Whether it is trying to find a job, fundraise for a charity, or running for public office; we are incredibly lucky to have such a tight network of people that always seem to have a willingness to help a fellow Polar Bear in any way they can.