Price Student Q&A: Kelli Reitzfeld
Hometown: Culver City, CA
Major: Business Administration and Public Policy & Law
Q. What inspired you to choose your major?
A. After taking AP Environmental Science and AP Government my senior year of high school, a light bulb went off—my time on Earth had to be spent advocating for those who the system neglects. I chose my two majors because Business Administration gives me a realistic, practical know-how, while Public Policy gives me a purpose. I have come to realize the two have similar sometimes-conflicting goals so knowing both sides will be advantageous in being one step ahead of the game. The balance will make me both an ethical business leader and an effective advocate.
More specifically, I chose Price because their curriculum is people-centric. While the course plan has plenty of analytical, quantitative classes (and a whole track dedicated to it), the focus on the people and realities of life sets it apart. There are no filler classes at Price; there is too much to learn about social issues and too many great professors to resume life business-as-usual.
Q. What opportunities has Price afforded you?
A. Calling the Fall 2017 Price networking night a turning point is an understatement. There, I met an exceedingly enthusiastic woman named Rhea Mac, who would later help me land my first real job at Supervisor Solis’ office (which I am absolutely infatuated with). We talked for maybe five minutes before she graciously overwhelmed me with dozens of resources to email and reach out for opportunities. We would go out to lunch not a few weeks later, and she probably said “OH wait, let me email this person right now; you’d be perfect for them” at least a dozen times. At one point, she asked me if I liked the restaurant we were at, and before I could say yes, she told me her roommate started the company and she inquired her about openings for me. Not just the alumni, either—I met my absolute student-crush Tingyee Chang, in my PPD 245 class. Since, she has been the best mentor I could have asked for. To say the least, Price embodies the Trojan Family and has SERIOUSLY created an environment of all-for-one-and-one-for-all.
Beyond career opportunities, just the honor and privilege of working with the Price faculty and staff is unreal. Hands down the most inspiring, beautiful, and passionate people I have ever met. It is clear that their dedication is infectious and reverberates through the school’s entire culture.
Q. What skills have you developed in your time at Price?
A. A big one would be having confidence in my ability. Price is filled to the brim with encouraging people who see the endless possibilities in everyone, and it has done wonders to my self-esteem and overall wellbeing. From the beginning of my freshman year, and now reflecting at the end of it, I feel much more empowered to achieve the unachievable and be able to speak on subjects I did not think I had the credibility or insight to do so before. Since enrolling in Price, I have never felt more important, and that my thoughts, time, opinions, and input are not just heard, but listened to.
Q. Tell us about your internship experience.
A. My first college internship was at Culver City Urban Planning. Not only are the people absolutely fantastic and ridiculously informative, it was great seeing the material and concepts from a Price class (PPD 245: The Urban Context of Policy and Planning) being applied in real life—my hometown, no less. On the job, I was able to advice constituents, check plans, and get the inside scoop on the town drama (all of which are square footage related). While I have not decided whether or not urban planning is my calling, it was great to have the opportunity to at least try it out in a workspace sprinkled with USC alumni.
Q. What class have you enjoyed the most at Price and why?
A. Of the two whole classes I have taken thus far, PPD 300: Social Issues in Public Policy and Urban Planning with Dr. LaVonna Lewis is my favorite (Gish is great though!). I spent a lot of my life reflecting on my own identities, roles, and expectations, so it was liberating to finally be able to share and challenge my findings with those who seek a more complete truth too. The whole class is full of teachable moments: learning to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable, distinguishing the infinite intersections that influences one’s experience, and recognizing the importance of historical legacies in shaping the modern world. Dr. Lewis is incredible. She has mastered the art of allowing her students to come to their own realizations, and in doing so, her students have a newfound, unique appreciation for difference. She has taught me how to better articulate arguments, so I feel more confident and ready to tackle controversial conversations and educate those who may not have had the opportunities I had.
Q. What is your future career plans?
A. The beauty in the diversity of Price (and USC) classes and students is that my interests are constantly examined, expanded, and explored. I was SO sure when I came to USC that I wanted to write environmental policy, but as I delved deeper into the subject, my curiosities became more individual—from urban planning to homelessness to segregation within the built environment, to currently, the social significance behind contemporary art and how it is telling of the art world and greater society. The whole system of art politics intrigues me—from both the business and social justice standpoint. The ultimate-fantasy-dream (for now) is to get a progressive degree in Masters of Public Administration (or a program more geared towards art) and work on a curatorial team for a major contemporary art museum, in order to promote equality and ensure a more accurate representation for unrepresented groups.
Q. What is the best advice anyone has given you regarding your education?
A. To never stop leaning. Knowledge is power that cannot be taken away.