A student’s focus in college does not always dictate their careers.
Aftab Pureval, former Undergraduate Student Government president who left office a few weeks ago, will be graduating with a degree in political science.
Pureval said he chose political science purely for interest.
“I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up,” he said, mentioning that law school will give him three years to figure it out.
Although a career in politics seems like a natural step after serving in student government, the paths former USG presidents have taken have not strictly followed those lines.
Mike GoodmanUSG president 2003-04
In less than a year after graduation, Mike Goodman found himself back in Chicago, his hometown.
“It’s kind of nice after five years of living alone and being independent to go back home and be with my family, which I missed a great deal when I was away at school,” he said.
Goodman, who graduated with a degree in finance last June, is a business systems analyst for BP Oil at its North American headquarters.
“College is a lot more fun than work but for work it is a good time,” he said.
He said he works with great people and is learning every day.
“And gas prices are high so that makes the work environment a little more fun for us. When you’re making money people are happy.”
Goodman spent his first six months in Columbus before transferring to Chicago to work with a team on “customer profitability.” The team is responsible for making sure the company optimizes its business with its customers.
He also does daily reporting for the CEO about pricing and margins.
BP Oil, based in London, is a global company, which is one of the reasons why Goodman chose to work there.
“I have the opportunities to go anywhere in the world,” he said. “So right now I really want to focus on my career and let it take me wherever the business needs me.”
London, Australia, New Zealand and Asia are places Goodman said he would like to go to.
“I am open and excited for some of the opportunities around the world.”
Goodman said he learned invaluable skills from USG that set him apart from him peers, such as his understanding of how an organization works and his ability to communicate, especially to different audiences.
“I’ve done presentations to executives and they’ve always been very surprised with my ability to communicate,” he said.
He also said he learned the importance of diversity and how to embrace it in a work environment.
“USG was definitely the best education I got at Ohio State,” he said.
Goodman, who was an intern his freshman year, served as an undergraduate student academics services senator during his sophomore year. During his junior and senior years he moved up into the executive branch, first as vice president and then as president.
When asked about his favorite USG memories, Goodman said the USG Halloween parties are something he will never forget.
“Every year we would have crazy Halloween parties,” he said. “Anyone who has been at them realizes how much fun we had as a group and how special of a bond we all have together.”
Goodman said he dressed up as Napoleon for Halloween his senior year.
“I’m not all that tall and sometimes people consider my leadership style similar to Napoleon,” he said. “My junior year I was a man with a mullet. I’m a pretty big fan of the mullet.”
Another memorable USG moment was election night.
“It was incredible. It was a dream.”
Goodman said his aspirations for becoming USG president began his freshman year.
He said he had hoped to become USG president since his freshman year. Before even coming to OSU, Goodman had spoke with Josh Mandel, former two-term USG president. Mandel gave Goodman advice about how to get started in USG and introduced him to people.
Goodman called Mandel a mentor to him.
“Throughout my time at USG he’s always been a guiding light,” Goodman said. “He’s always been there for me.”
Eddie PaulineUSG president 2001-02, 2002-03
Eddie Pauline is stretching his political career at OSU to the city level. This November, Pauline is one of six candidates running for four seats on Columbus City Council.
“I saw the impact of decent government through my experience at Ohio State, the impact that it could make, and though I could do that at a grander level,” he said.
When asked how his USG experience prepared him for city council and other post-graduate experiences, Pauline said USG was the best thing he did at OSU.
“(It) really prepares you for the real world,” Pauline said. “I’ve noticed that everyone has an opinion, everyone is right and to learn to manage all that is pretty important.”
He said he can match up personalities with people he worked with at OSU with those he works with now.
“There’s always some sort of parallel that I can make,” he said.
Pauline said his USG involvement was a good preview for the real world.
“It was good training ground, especially for public office,” he said.
When not busy with his city council campaign, Goodman works for Bernie Kosar, former Cleveland Browns quarterback, and his national network of team-specific Web sites and magazines.
“It’s kind of interesting but it has nothing to do with my geology or political science degree,” he said. “I really didn’t know too much business when I graduated and getting involved with (Kosar’s) company really showed me the real roots of business.”
Pauline said that, as a result of his involvement in the business world, he wants to get his MBA and “continue down that path and see where it leads.”
Pauline said he had the most fun in USG during campaign season but the best part about USG was how serious members took their roles.
“It is refreshing to know that there are such dedicated people that really sacrificed their time and energy to make a positive impact, even though some other students thought our efforts were fruitless,” he said.
Among what Pauline said he considered his most notable accomplishment as USG president were revitalizations projects in the University District, such as fixing street lights and landscaping traffic islands, and the community ambassador program.
He also mentioned academic issues.
“Students always complained we did nothing to help them so by getting more involved in the academics of the university was my way of addressing that,” he said. Pauline said that ideas his administration had about restructuring the honors program are still being looked at today.
Pauline continues to be involved with OSU by serving on the Ohio Union Alumni Society board of directors. He said he still keeps in touch with former and current USG members, including USG president and vice president Suzanne Scharer and Matt Kreiner.
“I’ll admit I have lost track of some I thought would be lifelong friends.”
BJ SchuergerUSG president 2000-01
BJ Schuerger also continued down the political path. Schuerger is serving his third year as president of the Franklin County Young Democrats.
He has also been an aide for state Rep. Joe Koziura, D-Lorain for almost three years.
“It’s been a great experience getting to know how state government works and how the Legislature works, getting an on-the-ground education in terms of being intimately involved in the legislative aspect of government,” Schuerger said.
Schuerger, who attends law school at night, said he will graduate from Capital University next May. He said he plans to stay involved in politics and enter law after graduation. Schuerger said he enjoys law school but isn’t sure which area of law he will focus on, although he said that business law interests him.
Schuerger said USG helped him become a better leader.
“The USG experience gives you the opportunity to deal with a plethora of different experiences, whether good, bad (or) indifferent,” he said. “Plus a leadership position (and) making touch decisions really helps build your character.”
Schuerger said his impression of USG as an organization that could make a difference inspired him to run for president.
“I wanted to make a difference when I was at Ohio State,” said Schuerger, who became president his sophomore year. “I had a vision for the organization after being involved and therefore felt strongly about what the students believed and (that) USG should be a strong organization with a strong leader.”
However, Schuerger term ended early after an incident involving the misuse of USG funds.
According to Lantern articles, eight students in USG spent more than $2,000 on a dinner at Mitchell’s Steakhouse. When the incident was covered in The Lantern, six students destroyed an estimated 10,000 copies of The Lantern.
“Going through an experience like that matures you by many years,” Schuerger said.
He said it was a tough time when he resigned because he enjoyed being an advocate for students.
“But at the end of the day, leaders have to make tough decisions and when your people make mistakes, ultimately your the boss and decision was mine to resign as USG president,” he said.
Schuerger said he was not involved with the theft of the Lanterns, although he was at the dinner. Schuerger said he was deceived by people at the time about the how the dinner was paid.
Schuerger said he believes he made the right decision in resigning and, by taking responsibility for the situation, he showed a defining leadership characteristic.
“(It was a characteristic) that I practiced not only then as USG president but one that I will continue to practice,” he said.
Despite the incidents surrounding his resignation, Schuerger has other, more positive memories about his USG experience.
He said his accomplishments, such as making the four-year plan a policy for the university to strive for and OSU workers on strike were both distinct memories. In 2000, Communications Workers for America union members went on strike until a compromise was reached regarding hourly pay, according to Lantern articles.
“Those kinds of achievements, those kinds of stances, help shape the character of a person,” he said.
Schuerger said he still keeps in touch with people he met through USG.
“The USG experience allows you to bond closely to people and build friendships that last obviously beyond your college years,” he said.
Josh Mandel USG president, 1998-99, 1999-2000
Josh Mandel went from serving the university to serving his country in Iraq.
“I missed my graduation from Ohio State because I was shipped off to the Marine Corps,” he said.
Mandel went to Parris Island, S. C., for boot camp in May 2000, about three weeks before commencement.
Mandel, who graduating from boot camp in August 2000, was sent to Iraq in January 2004. He served as an intelligence specialist in the 1st Marine Division, which operated east of Fallujah.
Mandel said he was honored to have the opportunity to serve in Iraq.
“I believe in the cause and feel that the U.S. government does a solid job of taking care of its Marines on the ground,” he said. “As long as terrorism is going to exist, I’d much rather have the fight on someone else’s turf than here in America.”
When asked what he learned from his experience in Iraq, Mandel said he learned two main lessons.
“(Candy) Buckeyes don’t last long in the Al Jazeerah desert and, if you’re ever going to swim the Euphrates River, it’s best to first practice in Mirror Lake,” he said.
Mandel graduated from Case Western Reserve Law School in December 2003. A month before his graduation he was elected to the city council of Lyndhurst, Ohio.
He said he enjoys being a part of city council, but when asked about his long-term plans, Mandel said he is just taking it one day at a time.
Mandel said his USG experience taught him one of the most effective skills in government: knowing when to keep quiet.
“The good lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and I think it’s important for folks in government to use them proportionately,” he said.
Other things he said he takes from his USG experience are memories of accomplishments and friends.
He said that during his senior year freshmen were denied access to season football tickets. His administration successfully asked faculty, staff and alumni to give up their tickets for the freshman, an event he said he remembers fondly.
Mandel also said he keeps in touch with his friends from USG and OSU.
“They’re my closest friends and I’ll do anything for them.”
John CarneyUSG president 1996-97, 1997-98
In many ways, John Carney is still connected to USG and Ohio State. Every morning he is reminded when he wakes up in his Clintonville home next to his wife, Jenny Nelson Carney, the USG vice president before him.
The two met during Carney’s freshman year. Carney was campaign manager for her election in 1995 and later served as her chief of staff. The two began dating in 1996 when Carney became president and married May 2000 when he was in law school.
But Nelson wasn’t the only reminder of USG.
“There were a lot of people I consider as close to me as any of my family members,” he said. “I made a lot of great friends, people who I certainly will remain in touch with for the rest of my life.”
His first-term chief of staff, Colin O’Brien, was his best man in his wedding. Carney’s vice president, Greg Krabacher, was a groomsman.
Carney said that many of the people he met through USG get together every year to talk about old times and what is new. He also meets with OSU administrators for dinner.
“I feel very lucky,” Carney said, referring to everyone he met through USG.
He also serves on the Ohio Union Council and on the Mortar Board Alumni organization.
Carney and his wife met with Suzanne Scharer and Matt Kreiner, current USG president and vice president, shortly after the two were elected.
“They seem like truly outstanding people and terrific student leaders,” Carney said.
When asked what advice he would give to Scharer and Kreiner, Carney said he would tell them to value those in student government with them.
“You want to nurture those relations and respect the fact that they those people are giving up their free time,” he said. “Those are good people to know in life: people who have dedication.”
Carney said he has applied skills he learned in USG to his career as lawyer.
“I think that half of my education came from student government and activities through student government,” he said.
Carney, a health care attorney at Porter, Wright, Morris and Arthur, a large law firm in Columbus, said the leadership skills he learned in USG have been beneficial in his post-graduation experiences.
He also said there are similarities from working with different committees and different corporations in the law field.
“My USG experience taught me the foresight and insight in representing corporations,” he said.
Carney, who graduated from Moritz College of Law in 2001, said he chose health care as his focus because he believes it is one of the biggest issues facing Americans.
“If you can’t access health care services quickly you can’t do anything in your life,” he said. “I wanted to go into that area that would help me help people obtain that service.”
He said his career has also helped him make contacts with people in the health care field, which enables him to set up programs such as free classes about health care. He said he is also looking into to setting up a prenatal program for young mothers.
Carney said he initially thought about going into criminal defense work.
“I quickly realized that with criminal defense work a lot of time you have to defend people who have been rightfully accused and that wasn’t something I was up for on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
For the future, Carney said he wants to continue his community work for those who are in the greatest need.
“Specifically, I would like to work with my physician-clients to help provide high-quality health care screening and service for free or a very affordable price throughout the community,” he said.
Carney, who is a board member for the City Year Service Alliance, said he also plans to continue free computer courses that the organization started.
“The hope is that through these programs all people in Columbus who have the drive to be educated and healthy will have ready access to resources which will enable them to fulfill their dreams,” he said.
Carney said he and Jenny will be staying in Columbus for many reasons, but mostly for the people.
“We do plan to have a family in the future, but for now we are content with our roles as aunt and uncle to my 11 siblings” 26 children,” he said.