In October, CAPD kicked off the second year of the Infinite Careers Series, lectures that bring alumni back to campus to speak with students about nonlinear career pathways. Started in partnership with the MIT Alumni Association, Infinite Careers seeks to provide students with an opportunity to connect with role models who managed to find success outside the conventional employment pipelines their peers participated in.
For Joe Brown, our 2018-19 season opener, a lifelong love of rollercoasters inspired him to major in mechanical engineering as an undergraduate at MIT. While he was here, however, experiences in the Ridonkulous and Mocha Moves dance crews opened his eyes to the larger world of entertainment and performance, and Joe found his stride as a choreographer and production designer, eventually starting his own dance company, Stroll Groove. Joe worked with our students to help them see the transference of their skills and perspective from the technical world to the creative, noting that his training in design and engineering software serves him daily on set and in the production workshop.
Steve Baker, our second speaker, may have had a more conventional path on the surface—he’s an M.Arch who became an architect—but his career took a surprising turn in the early 1990s, when a recession forced the firm he was working at to close. In response to a challenging job market, he co-founded a new firm, BWA, and has since built a career as a noteworthy designer and advocate for public housing and transit centers in Boston. He encouraged students to view partnerships as crucial to a successful architecture practice, and to invest some of their own time in developing skills as marketers, which the 21st century labor market will compel them to do anyway.
This spring, we’ll be featuring 10 more speakers and will share the finalized schedule when it is available. If you have any suggestions for alumni who’ve taken unconventional paths, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Aaron Altabet, Career Advising & Professional Development