Christina Pajak '10 is the development director for Freedom Foundation of Minnesota.
How did you get your job/how did you pick your grad school, and what was the application like?
The summer before I graduated, I interned at the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota through a fellowship program. While looking for jobs after graduation, I contacted them to see if they had any positions available, and they were looking for someone to fill the role of Development Director. The application process was not too complicated since I had interned with the organization before and they knew my work ethic and skills. I sent in my resume and did an interview with the CEO and was hired soon after that. However, the application for the fellowship that connected me with my organization was very intense and long. I had to provide numerous essay responses to questions about public policy issues, and go through a few phone interviews.
What do you like best about your job/ responsibilities?
I enjoy the responsibilities and work experiences I have had as Development Director. Our organization is fairly new and small, and there was no one in my type of position before I was hired. Because of this, I have been able to have a say in what my job responsibilities are, and I feel fulfilled to be playing an instrumental role in the establishment of our organization.
I also love that my job is related to my political science major, and that I am able to work for an organization that (I believe) is having a positive impact on the public policy debate in Minnesota.
How do you use what you learned at Wheaton in your capacity?
Sometimes I use specific knowledge from political science and other Wheaton classes in my day-to-day job, but overall, I utilize the critical thinking, writing, and analytical skills that my liberal arts education helped me develop. My extra-curricular activities at Wheaton also prepared me for my current role. As an Advancement Associate, I was able to learn a lot about fundraising and donor relations, and I was able to bring many of those practices and ideas to my organization. Additionally, serving on the Wheaton College Student Government helped me develop my teamwork skills, and learn how to lead a group, delegate tasks, be organized, and create and execute a plan of action.
What do you do day by day?
As Development Director, I organize FFM public policy education and fundraising events, oversee student programming, and work in conjunction with the CEO to execute all fundraising operations. A usual day consists of me overseeing and preparing all the details for our events (preparing guest lists, invitations, menus, schedules, etc.), meeting with the CEO to develop outreach strategies for current and prospective donors, maintaining our relationships with current donors (writing thank you letters, preparing membership packets, writing updates, setting up meetings, etc.), and keeping up with current trends and methods that other non-profits utilize for fundraising and marketing purposes.