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History at Work: Grassroots Activism

Kent Strickland, on campaigning and communicating

Kent Strickland with CBS network

Kent Strickland found his job accidentally: he dropped in on a presentation hosted by the SPIA Student Union, casually introduced himself to the speaker — and some interviews later, he found himself with a job as a campaign organizer for Impact, a non-profit that focuses on grassroots activism. Kent consults with researchers and other experts on particular issues that concern public health or public welfare, and then develops strategies in concert with local communities to bring about changes in policy or business practices. Kent majored in political science at UGA and minored in history and communications. He constantly uses skills that he developed as an undergrad: his work requires breaking large-concept goals (such as the reduction of antibiotics in Subway's food supply, or implementing the Clean Water Act) into manageable, concrete units of work. He has to conduct research on topics he doesn't know much about at first, sift what information is relevant and useful from what isn't, and then create a plan of action based on what he learns. History majors will also appreciate how Kent's work involves listening, paying attention to and engaging different perspectives, asking how experience is affected by different social and environmental factors, and — this is a huge one — understanding how power is mediated through federal, state, local, and economic institutions. And this is Kent's first job out of college; he graduated in Spring 2015.

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