7/08/2015

Alumni Profile: Katie Schmidt McMurry '00

  • Katie Schmidt McMurry '00 Katie Schmidt McMurry '00
History Major, 2000
Freelance Writer and Photographer

I was never a career-driven person. In high school, I didn’t apply to colleges knowing what my major would be or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I chose history as my major as a sophomore at Franklin and Marshall because it was interesting and didn’t come naturally (physics would have been a more logical choice according to my high school transcript), so the work I had to put into it was rewarding in and of itself. I never had a swanky summer internship that would get me a foot in the door down the road. Back at graduation in 2000, I found myself with a history degree, management experience at my local pool and about to embark on a move to Washington, D.C., from suburban Philly. Friends were heading off to law school and med school, but I didn’t see the point since I didn’t know where I’d go after that. I was on top of the world and ready for adventure like any good 22-year-old should be.

Fast forward 15 years and life is completely different. I have a mortgage, a husband, and two darling girls who also drive me crazy with their limit-testing and creativity. I still don’t feel like I have a “career.” No fancy title, no long list of professional accomplishments like some of my peers that I read about in the back of the alumni magazine. But what do I have? Skills. My history degree taught me how to read, research, analyze, question, and write. Combine that with the work ethic I refined during my time at F&M and I was able to take my first “real” job as an administrative analyst at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and work my way onto a team overseeing national-level publications and marketing for our department at the FAA. A few years and one kid later, I was running the team solo from my home office while juggling parenting duties and freelance writing work.

Now my days are filled with nursery school co-op responsibilities (I’m president of the board) and Muay Thai. Swim team and sleepovers and Common Core math homework. I’ve even followed my love of photography and turned it into a little side business. But if it weren’t for my history degree, I wouldn’t have found this niche that I work in now. Fifteen years ago I never would have guessed that I’d be working as a writer, but here I am. Most of my writing is in the world of business finance and corporate credit simply because that’s where my network has led me. Have I ever taken a business class in my life? No. But it’s because of F&M’s History Department that I can read, research and write about a topic I’m not wholly familiar with. I’d love to write about something someday I find more interesting, but for now, I enjoy the ability to provide additional income for my family. Maybe in 15 more years I’ll be in a career path that’s completely different. My mom got her master’s after she turned 50, which is a great reminder to me that there’s no limit to when you can stop learning. Maybe a master’s in library science is in my future. Or maybe I’ll become a post-partum doula. Or maybe I’ll take my little photography business and go pro full time. I don’t feel trapped or tied down to any one thing, and to me, that’s incredibly liberating. If my career path continues to twist and turn, I can guarantee I will still make good use of those skills I learned at F&M.

"If it weren’t for my history degree, I wouldn’t have found this niche that I work in now."
Katie Schmidt McMurry '00
  • Katie Schmidt McMurry '00 working at home. Katie Schmidt McMurry '00 working at home.

Articles by Katie McMurry

Much of Katie's writing on business finance and corporate credit is published on trade journal websites, which often require a subscription to view. Her three-part series titled "9 Best Practices for Automating Your AP Department" was re-published on a public blog and can be read at the following links: 
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

 

 

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