‘Seizing Opportunities after a Liberal Arts Education’


Chloe McGrathShortly after Chloe McGrath ’13 graduated from MCLA, she headed to Washington, D.C., to pursue graduate studies at American University. Now, poised to graduate with her Master of Public Policy degree in May and then transition to a full-time position as a management analyst at the United States Department of Treasury, McGrath will return to the North Adams campus to deliver the keynote address at the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) on Thursday, April 21.

At the conference, McGrath will present “Seizing Opportunities after a Liberal Arts Education.” 

“I will talk about the rich research background my education at MCLA provided me, and how it equipped me for graduate school and my current position at the Treasury Department,” McGrath said. “In addition, I will highlight how students can utilize liberal arts in their futures and capitalize on opportunities.” 

McGrath said the main thing she hopes to convey to the students is the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity that comes before them, especially while they are at MCLA.  

“Time goes by so fast,” she explained. “Each experience or opportunity provides you with insight about your own goals, and vision for what you want to do in the future. It is important not only to take advantage of opportunities, but really push the limits to get as much out of something as you can.

“I’ve found firsthand you can shape an experience or position to make it all your own. I’ve learned that you are ultimately in command of your education and learning, and the only limits are those that you set on yourself.”

McGrath has been a trainee at the Department of the Treasury since last September.

“I fell in love with the research and management projects I’ve been doing there,” she said. “Being able to directly apply what I’ve learned in my classes has been extremely rewarding." 

McGrath continued, “Looking back, I can see that I definitely developed a public service motivation, starting with my time at MCLA, which propelled me toward this civil service role. Being part of the team at the Treasury has really felt like where I'm meant to be and I can't wait to see my knowledge and skills grow there.”   

A graduate of MCLA’s political science and public policy program, McGrath, who also minored in history, wanted to be in the hub of public policy. To her, that meant Washington, D.C. 

Since she arrived at the nation’s capitol just more than two years ago, she’s served three internships, including one with the Franklin Partnership’s research team. It was there that she developed an interest in financial and taxation policies.

McGrath’s return to MCLA this month will mark the first time she’s been back on campus since her December 2013 graduation.  

“I am so grateful for this opportunity to come back to MCLA. I’m very excited to see some faculty whom I have missed very much. Some of my best memories in my life happened at MCLA, so it was and always will be a very special place for me. I will definitely walk around and visit some of my favorite spots on campus,” McGrath said.

She also looks forward to seeing the work MCLA students have prepared for the conference.

“The URC was one of my favorite events while I was a student, so this is something I'm really looking forward to,” McGrath said. “I love seeing the variety of research, so I know without a doubt I will learn some new things.”