How the pandemic is reshaping career plans for college students


Jenny Russell, starting as a nursing major at Kent State, changed majors and now works as a campaign manager for Ohio Representative Randi Clites. 

Zaria Moore Reporter

While recent college graduates deal with a limited number of career options during the pandemic, current students may be looking to adjust their path for employment. The current recession leaves many forced to survive on unemployment.


Freshman Jenny Russell, a Washington state native, moved to Kent to pursue her nursing career. Kent State’s nursing program is highly rated in the country. This influenced her decision to move to Kent. However, her involvement of politics led to her switching to a political science major.


I moved to Kent in January 2019. I took a break from school when I moved here and ended up transferring and beginning classes at Kent fall quarter last year,” she said.


James D. Ponder, the undergraduate coordinator, deals with students switching majors.


The issue is pinning down how this is happening in COVID and how to separate it from the current recession,” he said. “Right now, there haven’t been any official reports released, as those numbers are still moving quite a bit.”


More information will become clear in the fall semester. Data will be more available after major selections in the fall.


“I changed my major from nursing to political science because I had been working in the medical field for four years when I moved to Ohio and realized I didn’t want to continue pursuing that career field,” Russell said.


While the pandemic continues, social justice protests have been occurring all over the world. Russell decided to organize a Black Lives Matter protest in May at the gazebo in downtown Kent. She remains active in local politics. She participates in outreach in the Northeast Ohio area.


“I’ve always been very passionate about and interested in politics, and I essentially had a prolonged conversation with myself about deciding to basically restart school and focus on a field that I care about. It was just a process of deciding what is most important to me, and I know that making a real difference in the world is my passion.” she said.

Her interest in politics paved the path for her to become a campaign manager for Randi Clites. Randi Clites represents the Ohio House of Representatives for the 75th district. She appreciates Russell’s hard work and activism.


“She’s doing a great job. I‘m very thankful for her help and perspective. Jenny always informs me about issues I should be more informed on,” said Clites. “Her work doesn’t go unnoticed in the community.”


Russell started participating in local politics when she moved to Kent.


“I began volunteering for Randi last year, I was coordinating campaign events for her. Campaign managers are usually hired in April for incumbent candidates in local elections, though Randi and I had discussed the job offer previously,” Russell said. “I love being a campaign manager, I feel like I get to make a real difference. I get to review upcoming bills, offer my perspective to my candidate and others. It’s a huge change for me to be passionate about my work.”


After graduation and working for Randi Clites, Russell plans to attend law school.


“I’m planning on going to law school, hoping to be a civil rights attorney eventually. Though after the campaign I’m hoping to split my time in Columbus to work in the statehouse,” she said.


Contact Zaria Moore at [email protected]