Eric Waldo

Eric Waldo

Executive Director of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative


Civic Nation

Washington, DC USA


[A well-rounded education] is like having a passport for multiple careers. Part of getting your education is to stamp that passport and say that you can speak across these issues.

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Eric Waldo

Highlight
Now Playing
01:17
Eric Waldo HighlightInterview Highlight
Now Playing
07:29
InterviewThe Interview
Now Playing
02:35
Studying Subjects That Aren’t Directly Related to Your Field Can Help You Be BetterWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
01:34
Take A Chance And Don't Let Fear Paralyze YouWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
02:41
Working On Obama’s Campaign And Working At The White HouseInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
02:47
I’ve Learned To Be Comfortable With Risk And ChangeInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
02:02
Why I Decided Not To Go To Medical SchoolInterview Excerpt

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born in Birmingham, AL, to a Jewish father and Puerto Rican mother—he describes himself as a “Jewish Puerto Rican guy who was born in Alabama and grew up in Cleveland.”
Growing up, he says he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life because he was interested in so many things.
In college, he was on the pre-med track until he took a class called “The History of American Education,” which he says sparked his passion for education reform.
Participated in a program called Summer Bridge, where college students teach underserved high school students—says he fell in love with teaching and working with young people.
Moved to Boston right out of college; he worked as a market researcher, which he hated, but it paid enough for him to take acting classes at night and pursue his interest in theater.
When 9/11 happened, it changed his perspective and forced him to rethink how he wanted to make a difference—he decided to pursue his master’s in education policy and go to law school.
Worked on the presidential campaign of one of his former law professors, Barack Obama, serving as an attorney on his transition team and later as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Department of Education.
He is now the executive director of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative at Civic Nation, working to inspire every student in the U.S. to complete their post-secondary education.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Bachelor
Comparative Literature
Brown University
Graduate
Education, General
Harvard University
Doctorate
Law
University of Chicago

Career

Executive Director of Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative

I work to inspire young people around the country to pursue and complete their education.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Politics
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

I put together a lot of meetings; trying to bring people and organizations together towards a common purpose and hopefully we bring creativity to our cause around inspiring and empowering young people to take control of their lives through education.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

I think one of the most important skills is learning to be an active listener. If you want to build trust on teams toward larger goals, it's critical to learn how to listen and respond to the needs and demands of your team.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for middle school students

Everything counts, so start working hard now and try as many things out as possible. Make friends with your teachers, take internships, learn about things you are excited about, but know that your plans will change. And that's okay.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Comparative Literature
graduate
Graduate
Education, General
doctorate
Doctorate
Law

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I'll just be a doctor."

Challenges I Overcame

Physical Issues
Relocation
Career Change