Carroll, Paul

Paul Carroll
  Paul Carroll
Personal Information
Rutgers University Class: Class of 1989

Home Town/High School:   Yardley, PA/Pennsbury High

Major(s)/Minor(s):  Political Science/History

Date of Questionnaire:  August 12, 2009
Career History
After Rutgers I went to the University of Maryland and completed a Masters of Public Management in National Security Studies.  I then spent about six years in Washington, DC working in Congress and then the Department of Energy on nuclear weapons policy issues.  In 1996 I moved west and have been living in the San Francisco Bay area since then.  I have been continuing to work in the nuclear security arena but rather than in government I now work in the philanthropic “world.”  I have been with the Ploughshares Fund since 2000 and head up its grant-making program to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear threats and ultimately nuclear weapons.  I feel fortunate to be able to work on a national policy issue but outside of the Beltway.
Career Advice

What advice would you have for someone interested in a career like yours?  Are there particular skills you’d recommend acquiring, experiences you’d recommend having, subjects or fields you’d recommend studying, or activities you’d recommend being involved in while at Rutgers?  Were there particular experiences at Rutgers that were critical for you?  Were there important “first steps” when you left Rutgers that were critical?  Again, please feel free to provide as much detail as you’d like.

Some of the best advice I got from professors at Rutgers was to take on some graduate-level courses during my junior and senior years.  If you can and have the flexibility to do so, I recommend it.  They also urged me to pursue a Masters degree since B.A.’s in Washington are “a dime a dozen.”  This is true and for me the extra study and interaction close to Washington was key.  But if graduate school is not the best choice for you, I urge you to consider an internship in the area you think you want to work.  I had a low-paid but substantive summer internship in Washington that helped make “real” the world of policy and politics.  It whetted my appetite and helped cement my desire to pursue this kind of work.