Margaret (McGoldrick) Merson ’97 is a Senior Programme Officer for the United Nations and is currently based at headquarters in New York. She is a graduate of the class of 1997 and received her bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
What inspired you to pursue a career in international relations?
I interned for the United Nations as an undergraduate – it was like a world unto itself, and each day was a different experience. Continuous learning is inherent in this work. I have had the opportunity to collaborate on a broad range of issues during my career, from emergency response to peacekeeping to environmental restoration. Twenty-plus years later, I have never had a dull day at work.
How do you think your time at Kellenberg Memorial helped to prepare you for your success in your academic and professional pursuits?
The emphasis Kellenberg placed on writing skills prepared me well for the rigorous demands of college and graduate-level work. Written communication is fundamental to my work now, and I am grateful for the solid foundation I received at a young age. Kellenberg also introduced me to some of the most formative books I’ve ever read in my life. I still have on my shelf the same copies of Man’s Search for Meaning and A Separate Peace from when I was a teenager.
Do you have any advice for current students or young alumni who are interested in pursuing a career in international relations?
There are many different entry points into the field of international relations, so my advice is to study what interests you most. Also, take every opportunity to volunteer or do internships to find a field of work that interests you (and to rule out those which don’t!).
Do you have any favorite teachers, coaches, or club moderators from your time at Kellenberg Memorial?
Latin class with Fr. Philip Eichner was my favorite. We learned everything from Cicero to pickle-making to how Robert Moses planned out Long Island.