NYU Wagner Alumni and Students Discuss Career Paths in Advocacy

On November 16, 2022, the NYU Wagner Office of Career Services hosted a Careers in Advocacy panel, which highlighted the impactful work of NYU Wagner alumni working in the advocacy field. The panel featured panelists Lilian Aluri, REV UP Voting Campaign Coordinator, American Association of People with Disabilities; Kadeem Robinson, Policy Director, NYC Council; and Zara Nasir, Deputy Director of Community Organizing and Policy Advocacy, New York City Anti-Violence Project. The panelists shared career insights and practical advice for current students interested in pursuing careers in advocacy.

From local government to non-profit work, the panelists expressed their gratitude for being able to work on impactful issues for marginalized and vulnerable communities. Zara Nasir, whose work focuses on city-level and people-focused organizing, said one of the most exciting aspects of the job is knowing that their work is touching the lives of people at a personal and local level. The panelists also described some of the challenges that emerge from working in advocacy for communities with diverse needs. Kadeem Robinson, NYC Council Policy Director and current MPA-PNP student, said that the abundance of work also comes with the difficulties of balancing multiple community-based problems and priorities. However, the panelists all agreed that the challenges make the work that much more rewarding.

In preparation for their roles, the panelists emphasized the resources at NYU Wagner that helped them be successful in their careers. Lilian Aluri, whose work includes disabilities advocacy and grassroots organizing, said that the different fellowship opportunities at Wagner, such as the Ellen Schall Experience Fund and the David Bohnett Public Service Fellowship played a huge role in shaping her career trajectory. In addition to the fellowships offered at Wagner, the panelists also highlighted the importance of choosing the right courses and professors to supplement their career goals and interests. In particular, the panelists recommended courses that help shape policy formation and analysis skills, such as Estimating Impacts in Policy Research. The panelists also suggested considering some of the unique coursework offered in the January term.