Career Goal: Spy
When Cameron Crow studied Political Science at Boise State, he had a very specific career goal in mind. He wanted to become a spy.
He succeeded. A summer internship at the National Security Agency led to an Intelligence Analyst position at the NSA upon graduation. While at the NSA, he continued his education at Georgetown University, studying Security and International Relations.
But he quickly realized that the culture and pace of Federal government employment was not a fit for his personality or his desire to make a significant impact quickly. So he leveraged his intelligence analysis skills into a private sector career as a business intelligence analyst with a San Francisco tech company.
Later, when he decided to return to Boise, he looked for ways to use his analytical skills to make Boise a better place, initially using his technical skills with pro bono work for Idaho non-profits. He also launched his first company, Boise Analytics, to help small and medium-sized businesses with their data needs.
Applying Innovative Data Methodology to Local Government
Crow also noted that, in our current polarized environment and social media echo chamber, civil discourse and agreed-upon facts and data are often lacking. With this in mind, he founded another company, Make Boise Better, to create a following of engaged Boiseans that want to be better informed and be a part of solutions to problems.
“A better-informed society is a better one,” said Crow. “And is probably more likely to show empathy and to have civilized dialogue.”
Public service is an integral part of Make Boise Better, and Crow credits his time at Boise State with instilling in him a sense of the public interest. “I had some really good professors that got me excited about the idea of making an impact,” said Crow. He notes Political Science professors Ross Burkhart, Mike Touchton and Greg Raymond among those sparking a desire to make a positive change.
He also listed writing for Boise State’s The Arbiter newspaper and his NSA internship as important experiential learning opportunities he was able to take advantage of.
Get Involved in a Cause You Care About
Many of his colleagues at Georgetown and the NSA came from Ivy League backgrounds, and Crow admits to initially wondering if he would be out of his element. However, he quickly discovered that “great students at Boise State are just as good as great students at Harvard or Yale.”
And while things aren’t “handed to you,” at Boise State the way they might be at more privileged institutions, Crow feels that the critical thinking skills he learned at Boise State are ultimately more important.
When asked about advice for current Political Science students, Crow encourages them to avoid getting locked in to any particular path. “Try things on for size,” he said. “Get involved in a cause you care about.”