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Alumni Spotlight: Erin McPherson

Posted by: andrewst | May 11, 2021 | No Comment |

Erin McPherson ’10 entered Charleston School of Law immediately after graduation, for that had always been “the plan,” but found herself questioning the decision shortly thereafter.  Her “willingness to pivot” away from that path, as difficult as it was, is what ultimately led her to a career she now loves.

Erin is a Senior Editor* for a local news outlet in Raleigh, NC where her two majors (PoliSci and English) and an MA in English have coalesced into the job of her dreams.  The mission of 6AM City is to “educate and activate” within the community – a mission I’m certain her favorite CofC professors (Dr. Jack Parson and Dr. Kea Gorden) also shared.  Erin finds her work “highly fulfilling” and mentioned shared an unexpected consequence of her work: motivating others inspired her to become a more active citizen herself.

Being an active citizen is one of the reasons that Erin chooses to be an alumni mentor in our political science mentorship program – she feels compelled to support undergraduates as they identify their own paths forward.  While a good percentage of political science majors may think they’re headed to law school or a career in government, many of them will find fulfilling careers elsewhere. “A PoliSci degree is just as useful to a marketer or a journalist, as it is to a government official,” she says and encourages students that “your 20s, and sometimes even your 30s, are a time to explore, shift, grow, change and dive in.”

Erin’s best advice to undergraduates is to “throw everything you have at your goals and if you realize that those goals have changed or something doesn’t match your expectations, give yourself space to change course.”

Obviously, Erin wouldn’t be where she is today without allowing herself this space.  When she returned to CofC for her master’s degree in English, after a four-year pause due to some personal upheaval, she intended to pursue a career in academia, the only other path she felt drawn to besides the law.  During her final semester she secured a fellowship with The Local Palate, a “Food Culture Magazine of the South.”  This fellowship launched her into work as a digital and print editor for lifestyle and trade magazines and eventually landed her at 6AM City’s Raleigh product, RALtoday.

Erin emphasizes “don’t be married” to that vision of yourself you held when you declared your major (or the ones your parents hold for you).  Give yourself time to explore while you are still in college.  Find some internships that spark curiosity in you to see where they might lead.  These experiences will either strongly confirm or absolutely negate your desire to pursue that path, but no matter which occurs you will have learned a lot!

*Promotion to Senior Editor was announced right before we went to print – Congratulations, Erin!


under: Mentorship Program

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