Commencement 2011

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

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Leah Libresco
Mineola, New York
Jonathan Edwards College
Political science

How did you choose to major in political science?

I gave up math for political science. I majored in political science and chose my major as much for what was outside the major as for the major itself. Ultimately, I got to take the best mix of bizarre classes outside my major, in things I was interested in—glassblowing, machine shop, and musical theater songwriting. Oh, and oratory.

Delivering speeches?

Speechwriting. That one's better known, but most people don't realize you can take chem grad classes, or that they're as cool as they are. What is cool is that in both machine shop and glassblowing the final project was a steam engine: one out of metal and one out of glass.

Do you have plans?

I'm going to take a job at the Pew Charitable Trusts, working on debit card reform. It's all data: how do I make something out of this giant pile of data, and how do I persuade anyone to do something about it? The job combines lobbying and research.

How have you changed since you started at Yale?

Aside from the fact that I've gained a lot of very practical physical skills, which I like, the thing that's been the most exciting for me in my development is the Yale has Political Union, which is a debating group. Because I really have not often met smart people who disagreed with me before, and what's great about he union is it provides this forum for discussion where people are respectful but also really invested on changing each other's minds.


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