Matt Pahl

Year of Graduation: 2005

Major(s): History


Please provide a brief description of your current position and what your work entails.
I am the Director of the Policy, Measurement and Innovation Division at the New Mexico Public Education Department.  In this position, I lead the department in its efforts with the state legislature, run innovative new educational programs in conjunction with school districts and charter schools across the state and measure the development and impact of programs across the department and state.

How did you decide on your major and career path?
I was, and am proud to be, a History major.  I left school knowing I wanted to have an impact.  That led me to becoming a first grade teacher in New Mexico through a program called Teach for America.  I had a great experience with my students, and wanted to impact lives on a larger scale in my home community.

What path did you take to your current position?
After teaching, I enrolled in a policy program at the University of Southern California.  It gave me some of the additional tools I needed to become an innovative force in the public sector.  My time in Los Angeles was a wonderful experience for me, but it didn't take long for me to realize that I wanted to get back to New Mexico to find a way to have an impact.  So after a short stint with the U.S. Congress, I moved to New Mexico to become a program evaluator for the State Legislature.  After a few years there, I was approached by the state Education department to join their team and drive state policy from the executive branch.

What activities or resources did you utilize at CSB/SJU to prepare yourself for your career?
St. John's was instrumental in my career development.  I worked in Career Services; there I was able to gain fluency in exploring careers, and, most importantly, get comfortable with speaking with people within those careers to get the 'real story' of what they were like.  I spoke to countless alums, which really helped me cull down the list of possibilities for myself.  Alums have always been incredibly open and helpful, and it was their insight that helped me decide a general path for myself. This includes me! Call or email!

What advice do you have for CSB/SJU students?
Let your interests drive you forward.  When I was in school, I couldn't articulate what I would do with my History major from SJU.  Now, I know that I use it every day in a job that I am engaged in and love.  By flexing your skills in a subject area you are interested in, you'll get more from it, and your career path will be littered with fulfilling opportunities.  

(November 2016)