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The following post is written by Becky Strangfeld, a 2010 graduate of Messiah’s Department of Politics, about her current position and how Messiah has helped her achieve her goals. She now works as an Outreach Associate at The Energy Cooperative in Philadelphia, PA.

I am one of the few, the proud, the December graduates. The class of 2010 ½ included many illustrious Politics alum. We graduated early before it was a popular choice.  In January, I did what many college grads do and started looking for jobs. I was completely unprepared for the stress and rigorous of phone, information and in person interviews. Constantly tweaking my resume, cranking out perfectly crafted cover letters , and scouring every opportunity for the perfect position left me physically and emotionally drained. Finally, after a number of in person interviews, I settled with my job offers and was left with the task of deciding which position was best for me. Ultimately, I chose my position at The Energy Co-op, a small, local non profit cooperative focused in providing renewable energy solutions to people in the Philadelphia area.

In my final semester at Messiah, I took a course called Environmental Ethics. Together we were challenged in our own understanding of how our actions affect our local and global environment. In this class, I developed a greater understanding and a passion for issues of environmental justice.  My job at The Energy Co-op allows me to provide information about smarter and more sustainable energy choices to individuals that might not otherwise be aware of the information. Partnering with an organization that made such information accessible allowed me to express my passions for environmental justice and use my administrative abilities at the same time.

Working at a small non profit cooperative gives me a lot of opportunities to serve as an advocate on behalf of our members. As a member-owned , democratic organization, we look to serve the interest of our members because they are our owners.  I love the opportunity to bring the concerns of our members to our staff and board. Together we work for a solution that best meets the needs of all our members.  I enjoy the opportunity to work with our members and meet their needs in practical ways.

In my position, I am also responsible for maintaining all of our social media networks. WE all know that the amount of information present and available on the internet  makes it challenging to present meaningful and significant information. I want to bring forward information that will generate valuable conversation and inspire action in our members. I am constantly looking for new ways to educate our members, connecting them with the helpful resources and making the issues related to living sustainably accessible and palatable.

My education at Messiah prepared me well for my current responsibilities. When creating blog posts and educational content for our members, I am responsible for researching relevant issues and synthesizing the information I find into concise, accessible material.  Doesn’t that sound like most assignments in Politics courses?  But, I also have to persuade the reader to act and engage with the material presented. If you’ve ever participated in a debate in a Politics course, you know that you are expected to understand your position and make a compelling case for your argument. These skills are crucial in persuading others to act, whether in writing or in conversation. Also, my desire to advocate on behalf of our members stems from my respect for a democratically run organization. I want each of our members to have a voice in the way our organization is governed.

My professors challenged me and equipped me with the skills I needed to be successful in my career path. Trust that the knowledge that you learn at Messiah, the papers you write, the books that you read and the lessons that you learn will come in handy well after you are done your three and a half or four years at Messiah.  Whatever path you choose, be confident in your ability to succeed.

If you would like to reach Becky to find out more about her position or The Energy Cooperative, she can be contacted at Becky@TheEnergy.Coop. The Energy’s Cooperative’s website is http://www.theenergycoop.com.