College Changes Everything: John Austin

This video blog is the last of eight installments in a series that profiles college access professionals. During the selected interviews, participants explain how college proved to be a “game changer” in their lives. Interviews appear on MCAN's blog every Tuesday, June 14 through August 2. 

John C. Austin

Colleges Attended
Swarthmore College, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Degrees Earned
Pubic Administration (B.A. Swarthmore College), Pubic Administration (M.P.A. Harvard Kennedy School of Government)

Current Job Title/Employer
President, Michigan State Board of Education

Year of College Graduation
Swarthmore 1983, Harvard Kennedy School 1990

Who, if anyone, encouraged you most to attend college?
My parents and high school teachers encouraged me to attend college. There was always an expectation that I would graduate with a college degree.

What surprised you most about college?
I remember taking notes and paying attention in my Public Administration class realizing that I had not decoded the material—I had not fully grasped what was being communicated.  I needed to dig deeper to get the full understanding of the text and material. I had to learn to understand and to read differently, with more insight in order to truly comprehend the information.  It was like a new way of looking at the world opened up.  

Where do you think you'd be/what might you be doing if you hadn't attended college?
I don’t know where I would be without a college degree.  College opened up new arenas of work, connected me with new people and opportunities, and helped guide me toward the field I found most interesting: government and public policy.   


Posted Aug. 2, 2016

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