Career Encounters: Kate Coyer

Kate Coyer is Director of the Civil Society and Technology Project for the Center for Media, Data and Society  in the School of Public Policy at CEU. Her research examines the complexities of media practice and policy; digital rights advocacy and the social uses of technologies; media development and communication for social change; the opportunities and challenges of emerging technologies as well as the resilience of ‘old’ mediums like radio. Kate holds a PhD in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London and held a post doctoral research fellowship with the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania where she is also an affiliate. She has taught master and undergraduate level courses at CEU, Goldsmiths and University of Pennsylvania. [source: Central European University]

I decided to major in Political Science. It was probably my junior year in high school and I had always been really good at science but really enjoyed history and English and somehow just even though the phrase political science seemed to wrap it all together in this type package on kind of combining my interest because it had the analytical background, but it was also more creative and more thought-provoking.

Rock The Vote’s a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that’s dedicated to protecting freedom of expression and helping young people realize and utilize their power to affect change in our community. It’s a really good marriage of a political science background and my values right now. My job primarily is to oversee the radio program. I write our public service announcements for radio and produce our radio CD that, with public service announcements, that goes out our stations. I work with the California Secretary of State’s office has a voter outreach committee. I also work a lot with our website which we’re trying to develop right now to be a really strong resource for people to get information – one website they can go to to write a letter to members of congress to start a petition to do research on their congressional candidates, to find out about volunteer opportunities in their community.

One of the things about being a political science major is, for me, was having to explain to my father what it was that I was actually studying. He’s a wonderful man but he’s definitely of a different generation he started with one company and you stuck with him and they took care of you. Well, since he’s since been laid off from his company that was supposed [inaudible] with them I think he’s realizing the value of building skills and learning in moving from job to job and being able to change what we do to follow our passion and to follow our interests. So I was kind of constantly fighting in college explaining why I was volunteering my time, why I was interning, why was working at the college station because it was tough for him to understand what the value was, but I can tell you that I graduated college and I had a resume that had  organizations and job skills on there that, you know, it might take people a few years after college to have and that’s what got me a good job right away after college.

Interested in working with non-profit organizations, not just because I love working in an office that does not paint on the walls and, you know, having the back tail light of my car not quite fixed, but because of the the possibilities. I mean, I think it is just so full of possibilities and being able to create things, and getting the funding for those things that you want to create, setting up the program plan and moving things forward and make them happen.


The video clip above was taken from Career Encounters: Political Science which APSA released in 2000. The documentary-style video features people from across the US who studied political science and discuss how their political science backgrounds have been critical to their vocations, their avocations, and their general lives. Career Encounters feature careers that can be launched with undergraduate degrees as well as graduate degrees.