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Ready to Work His Way Up

Mike Dicken
Mike Dicken

Mike Dicken has a vision -- a country that protects the environment, provides equal rights for all, and eliminates the influence of money in politics. While his views might be fairly typical among millennials, his career goal is anything but standard. He plans to work on campaigns and public policy to make his vision reality.


"I've always been into politics," says Mike, a 23-year-old resident of Deptford, NJ. "I'm an environmental guy at heart. I want my kids to have clean water and better food."


The political science major is off to a good start. This semester, he's interning at the Gloucester County Council office in Woodbury, NJ. He's conducting background research and preparing PowerPoint presentations for county officials and lawyers on topics that vary from local contract law to the open public records act.


Mike already got his first job offer. In June, he'll begin working for the Fund for the Public Interest in Philadelphia. The Fund, founded in 1982, is a national nonprofit organization working to increase the visibility, membership and political power of the nation’s leading environmental and progressive groups. Its work to oppose fracking and protect state parks is part of what attracted Mike to apply. The position is for the summer only, but there's a chance that it could lead to a full-time post.


"This is good for my resume and a stepping stone for my career," explains Mike, who is very positive about adding some real-world experience to his portfolio. He's undeterred about the temporary nature of his first job. "As my Dad always says, you've got to work your way up."


He credits Dr. Robert McMonagle for providing inspiration and pragmatic career advice. "I've had Doc all four years," Mike recalls, smiling broadly, "and he's overseeing my internship right now." Part of Dr. McMonagle's academic oversight is a weekly journal that requires Mike to write about the research methods he learns and the litigation he investigates.


Mike chose Neumann because he was looking for a college that was close to home, offered his major, and gave him the opportunity to play baseball. A fifth-year senior, he pitched for four years before Tommy John surgery curtailed participation in his favorite sport. "When I visited campus, I met Coach Fleming, saw the Mirenda Center under construction, and liked the dorms."


The combination sold him on Neumann, and Mike has no regrets. "Everyone here has been great."



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