Suzie Nahach

Suzie Nahach

November 2, 2021

Suzie Nahach (2020)

Suzie Nahach is a public policy professional currently based in Oklahoma City, OK. Originally from Jefferson City, MO, Suzie graduated from Truman and then spent a year as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Baton Rouge. Fueled by her developing interest in education policy, Suzie received her MPA from the University of Missouri in 2020 where she spent time working with the University of Missouri Institute of Public Policy on a variety of research assignments. In her free time, Suzie enjoys reading, dancing, trying not to kill her plants, and spoiling her cat, Anna.

What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?

I graduated in Spring 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Public Communication. I also earned a degree in English.

What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?

I did a lot of extracurricular activities while at Truman because there were just so many enticing options! I was in The Society of Dance Arts (TSODA), Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Advertising and Public Relations Club, among others. I also had a few radio shows on KTRM and was also General Manager of the station my senior year.

Suzie (far right, red pants) with some TSODA friends at Thousand Hills State Park (2015).

Did you go to grad school? If so, where?  Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait?  Why?

Yes, I did go to grad school. I started graduate school at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs in Fall 2018 and finished in Spring 2020. I didn’t wait very long after graduating, only about a year. This was because I wanted to change gears a little bit after I graduated and getting my MPA along with the research opportunities I had in graduate school seemed like a good way to continue along my path. Graduate school soon after graduation was the right choice for me, but I know that it is definitely not the right choice for everyone.

What was your first job after graduation?

Technically my first job after graduation was working as a camp counselor, but I am not going to count that here. For my first job after graduation, I moved to Baton Rouge, LA to join the Baton Rouge City Year team as an AmeriCorps member. I worked on a small team of City Year members in a local charter school where we did classroom support as well as school culture support and math and reading tutoring. I worked in three second grade classrooms with students in a variety of capacities.

What work do you do/What are you doing now?

I am a nonpartisan Research Analyst at the Oklahoma House of Representatives. In this position I do a variety of activities including staffing assigned House committees, summarizing legislation and assembling session review documents, as well as conducting a variety of policy-based research activities and projects within my research areas.

Suzie (2nd row, 4th fr right) with a grad school study abroad group at the Court of Inter-American Human Rights in Costa Rica (2020).

How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?

My Liberal Arts/COMM education has helped me immensely by making me an inquisitive, well-rounded thinker that pursues answers using multiple avenues. My time at Truman encouraged me to explore my interests and go down paths I might not have otherwise considered. Also, the classes I took while there encouraged independent, creative thinking. This mindset has been useful in pursing policy research work because critical thinking is often a vital skill I draw on.

Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?

When I took Experimental Methods, I was not a fan and it didn’t feel super relevant to anything I was interested in at the time. Flash forward a few years, and I am very glad to have taken that class. The foundation in statistics that the class give me was very helpful going into graduate school and gave me a leg up in some of my first grad school classes.

Suzie posing in the KTRM station during her makeshift graduation photoshoot (2017).

What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?

My greatest accomplishment at Truman was probably successfully serving as General Manager at KTRM during my senior year of college. Managing the station gave me a lot of experience in working with a variety of people and delegating tasks to other individuals. It was absolutely a crash course in having a lot of responsibility and I am still immensely grateful for Dr. Mark Smith for helping me through that year. He was a wonderful advisor.

Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?

Truman is a good place to study because the size is conducive to a lot of individualized attention and one-on-one time with faculty. Truman is the ideal place to pursue a variety of interests and areas of study because it is small enough that you can join a variety of activities and learn from different individuals and departments.

What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?

Join student media! My time at KTRM was probably one of my favorite experiences at Truman and the transferable skills I gained during that experience were invaluable to future job duties. Getting involved in the station and trying on a lot of different hats also helped me figure out what I liked and didn’t like.

Additionally, if they can, I would recommend a COMM student take the Iowa Caucus class and go on the trip. That was a really cool experience that feels uniquely Truman.

What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and pursue interests that might not seem relevant to the linear path in front of you. I would consider myself a bit of a generalist in that I am interested in almost anything.  That is a real asset in my job because I am often doing research on the fly and teaching myself something new in a short amount of time. Having some knowledge in a lot of subjects is useful, so take classes in a variety of departments and remain curious.

Suzie (front row, far right) with fellow Mizzou students learning about EU politics at the Council of the EU building while in Belgium (2019).

What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?

I think I miss Barnett Hall most of all, or maybe the walk to Barnett.

Really, I miss being within walking distance (or a short drive) from all of my friends the most. Speaking over video call or planning a trip to visit is not the same, even though I am still in contact with many of my friends from Truman. The people there are wonderful and I found some life-long friends.

What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?

“COMM: Pretty useful for a so-called ‘useless’ degree.”

In all seriousness, I think Communication as a discipline is unfairly viewed as not providing as many opportunities for students when nothing could be farther from the truth in terms of opportunities to practice in the field and the ability to learn from your fellow students and professors.

If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?

I think the class would be called “Quick and Dirty Communication” or some variation on that (I am still workshopping the title).  While I was in graduate school, I was working on a policy project in which the main feedback I got was that there was too much information and detail. Policymakers receive a lot of information, so they need to be able to glance at something quickly and get the gist within a few seconds. I want to teach a class structured around being able to communicate with stakeholders and laypeople in a quick and efficient way. Sometimes policy can be complicated, but this class would you teach you how to explain a new policy to somebody over the phone in 30 seconds. Additionally, being able to pick the most important details out of a lot of information is an incredibly useful skill.

What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?

I think it’s important for people to know that it is okay to not know exactly what you want when you graduate college. It took me a few years to get where I am, and that’s okay. I also wasn’t quite sold on graduate school when I graduated and ended up taking the GRE during the year while I wasn’t in school. It is never too late to change your mind, change your major (I had several different majors while at Truman), or change your trajectory. When I started college in 2013, I had no clue where I would end up and that’s fine. It’s also fine if you know exactly what you want. We are all on our own paths.

Suzie (in red circle on left) with some fellow ΑΦΩ members and former Presdient Paino (2015).

If you would like to learn more of Suzie’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.


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