Mary Taylor ’15
Major: Political Science
Minors: Philosophy and Global Studies
What do you do now?
I am the Digital Marketing Manager, Email and Automation for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). I’m responsible for managing digital marketing strategy for the email and SMS programs at MSF-USA. In this role I manage a team and several vendors to set strategy around acquiring, cultivating, and converting donors. This includes choosing content and drafting marketing materials, managing the audience targeting, building out emails, SMS messages, and donation forms in the marketing platform, and leading data analysis on campaign performance.
How did your academic experience at Saint Michael’s College help prepare you for your career?
Saint Mike’s really shaped me as a whole person, which I’ve carried with me throughout my career. Academically, I learned how to look at problems through multiple lenses and think critically about potential solutions. This has served me in all areas of my life, but certainly in various points during my career as both a marketer and a community organizer.
Additionally, my experience in the Political Science department and with the Global Studies program gave me the chance to explore a good balance of domestic and international policy and theory, which has carried over into my current job where I consistently have to frame global problems in a local context to appeal to an American donor base.
What was your favorite memory or class from your time studying at St. Mike’s?
It’s hard to choose a favorite memory because I really loved all 4 years of my time at St. Mike’s. One of my favorite classes was probably American Foreign Policy with Prof. Ayres. To this day, I still think and talk about some of the themes and authors that were covered in those classes.
I also loved Prof. Kirby’s Otherness and Marginalization. It played a huge role in shaping who I am and how I think about my interactions with other people. Over the course of my time at Saint Mike’s I think I took 4 classes with Prof. Kirby and I eventually went to Guyana with her and a few other former students after graduating.
How have you translated your volunteer experience at Saint Michael’s into giving back to your community after graduation?
Both my experience with MOVE and my classwork shaped my post-grad community involvement. For example, I’ve worked and volunteered for multiple political campaigns, for candidates that are fighting for the same values that were such an important part of the St. Mike’s community.
When I first moved to NYC I worked as a community organizer for VOCAL-NY, an organization that builds power among low-income people who are directly impacted by HIV/AIDS, the drug war, mass incarceration, and homelessness. I organized specifically around expanding prevention and treatment services for people living with Hep-C in NY State and working with the harm reduction community to find a public health approach to the overdose crisis. I learned about the power of community organizing from Professor Grover’s American Democracy class, the importance of public health approaches to issues like HIV/AIDs that impact a person’s whole life in Professor Siplon’s classes, and lessons about the importance of passing the mic to marginalized communities in Professor Kirby’s Otherness and Marginalization class.
Do you have any advice for incoming or current students?
I definitely had a vision of where my career would take me when I chose to major in Political Science. While I have worked on both political campaigns and as a community organizer, I’m currently in a marketing role. I would say, when you’re searching for jobs after college, stay open to possibilities as they come your way. 5 years out of college, I’m not doing what I thought I would be doing, but I love my job and I feel like I’m making a real difference in the world and continuing to fight for the values that were instilled in me during my time at St. Mike’s.
Also, take classes that you’re interested in! I didn’t plan on minoring in philosophy, but I loved my intro class with Prof. Standen, so I just kept taking more and before I knew it I had a minor. I use the critical thinking skills I learned in those classes every day.