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Co-op Profile: Catching Up at Senator Warren’s Office with Kimberly Pfeifle

CAMD undergraduate student Kimberly Pfeifle ’18

As a Music Industry major, CAMD student Kimberly Pfeifle has used her courses at Northeastern to explore the history of music and music creation. She had the opportunity to embrace this enthusiasm for music each and every day at her first two co-op experiences, which were at Wilbur Theatre and Universal Pictures – both of these were directly involved in the music industry. Kimberly, however, has similarly utilized Northeastern’s co-op program to pursue her passions beyond music by also exploring marketing, publishing and, most recently, politics. Inspired by public policy, she is currently on her third co-op, in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s state office, where she works mainly with constituent affairs.

Senator Warren’s office focuses mainly on correspondence with agencies such as Social Security, mortgage providers, healthcare providers, student loans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and more. In her role, Kimberly’s responsibilities include tracking correspondence from constituents and sending inquiries on their behalf to these agencies. Her position focuses on immigration services including correspondence with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Patrols and U.S. embassies abroad.

“This entire co-op has been an enormous learning curve for me,” said Kimberly. “Having the opportunity to learn about how our government works at this level and about the flaws and strengths of certain systems – like immigration – has been amazing. I can’t talk about specific projects, but each case teaches me something new.”

This ability to embrace new challenges has been a constant throughout Kimberly’s experience at Northeastern. She explained that her Music Industry major has inspired and encouraged her to consistently take risks throughout her time as a student. This approach has led her to many opportunities, such as representing CAMD as a correspondent at South by Southwest and of course, accepting her current co-op in Senator Warren’s office.

“I majored in Music Industry because I believe that music is powerful. It has helped and shaped me, and so I want to be a part of supplying this force to the world,” Kimberly explained. “What my major has really helped me with is challenging myself to discover new perspectives. The challenge of looking beyond what is presented and stepping beyond my comfort zone through discussion and creative projects. These challenges have made me more comfortable with taking risks and approaching all sides of a problem.”

Going back a few years to her first co-op, Kimberly worked at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston as a Promotions and Budgeting Coordinator. She gained expertise in marketing, and also found new appreciation for the “numbers behind the industry.” This experience led her to explore the publishing side of the music industry in her second co-op at Universal Pictures in the Film Music Department.

“I worked with music cue sheets, worked right in the studio, saw free movies every week and went to the theme park on my lunch break,” Kimberly said of her bustling work at Universal Pictures. “There I also became more focused on legal affairs. That interest still drives me today.”

Kimberly Pfeifle at Universal Pictures

However, she emphasizes the significance of the co-op program as a stepping stone for her career exploration within and outside of the music industry.

“My first two co-ops have been strictly related to the music industry,” she explained. “But, last year, I became more involved with politics and interested in public policy. I have always been a supporter of Senator Warren and respected her contributions and stances, so I applied on a bit of a whim. I never expected to get it!”

Ultimately, she encourages other students to take similar risks and full advantage of the co-op program as a learning experience that can fuel and teach new passions and skills.

“I’ve learned the value of not being afraid to ask for responsibility and more projects and taking my experience into my own hands,” said Kimberly. “In the end, because of co-op, Northeastern is a great place to learn what you really want to do. Co-op gives you the chance to try on careers for size until you find the right fit – it’s really invaluable.”