Prepared for the Future

After graduating with three degrees from Mizzou – constitutional democracy, economics and political science – Luke Pittman is now studying at Harvard Law School. Photo courtesy of Luke Pittman.

Of all the skills Luke Pittman gained during his four years at the University of Missouri, time management proved to be one the most vital. When Pittman graduated in May, he did so with three degrees – constitutional democracy, economics and political science. Balancing that workload was key as Pittman pursued his interests in politics and policy.

“I did come to Mizzou with quite a few credits, which helped, but I worked hard to manage my time wisely,” Pittman said. “When I had four assignments due in the same week, I knew I was going to have to start a couple of them a bit early. It was tough, but that was incredibly important. I set hard, personal deadlines before the actual project deadlines, and I found that was crucial for my success.

“My degree programs were also awesome to work with. We had a lot of discussions, and each program worked with my schedule to make everything feasible. I am so appreciative of their support.”

Policy is still a passion for Pittman, and he is currently putting his time management skills to good use as a student at Harvard Law School. He just began his first semester.

“I’m so thrilled for this opportunity,” Pittman said. “I’m focused on learning as much as I can and building on the great education I received at Mizzou. My time at MU really helped me find my passions, and I’m excited to explore those further at Harvard.”

Students pose for a picture at the Model United Nations Conference at the UN in New York.
Luke Pittman, pictured left, participated in a variety of clubs and organizations while at Mizzou. Here, Pittman is at the Model United Nations (UN) Conference at the UN Headquarters in New York. Photo courtesy of Luke Pittman.

Pittman grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and got familiar with Mizzou at a young age. His father is an alum, and their family would visit Columbia every so often during Pittman’s youth. Once Pittman was ready to start looking at his college options, Mizzou felt like a natural fit.

“Mizzou was close to home but was far enough away to give me the space to grow,” Pittman said. “I really fell in love with the campus during my visits, and every faculty member who I talked with made me feel so welcome.”

With his passion for policy and politics, Pittman was quickly connected with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at MU. Through the Kinder Institute, Pittman was able to gain a variety of hands-on learning experiences, including studying global history at the University of Oxford.

“The opportunities through the Kinder Institute are incredible,” Pittman said. “It’s such a unique and strong community that really encouraged me to go farther in my studies. While I already had an interest in government, being part of the Kinder Institute pushed me to explore all the options available to me.”

Along with his involvement in the Kinder Institute, Pittman was part of several organizations on the Mizzou campus. He was the founder of the Missouri Debate Union and was also a member of Model United Nations and the Missouri Students Association. Pittman held numerous internships, too. He was a housing voucher intern with Central Missouri Community Action; an infrastructure policy intern with Our National Conversation (ONC); an intern with the Jackson County Democratic Committee; and a legislative intern with the Missouri House of Representatives. Pittman also wrote for the Midwestern Citizen, an undergraduate, nonpartisan opinion publication.

“Hands-on learning is so, so valuable,” Pittman said. “It’s one thing to read something in a textbook or see something on television. When you’re in the middle of it, participating, it really opens your eyes. Taking part in so many different things showed me what I truly enjoyed.”

Pittman also earned a history minor while at Mizzou and received his Honors Certificate as part of the Honors College.

Students who were part of the Oxford global history cohort pose for a picture.
Pittman was able to gain a variety of hands-on learning experiences through the Kinder Institute, including studying global history at the University of Oxford. He is pictured here with the Mizzou cohort he traveled to Oxford with. Photo courtesy of Luke Pittman.

“I loved being part of the Honors College,” Pittman said. “The community was lively and great to be a part of. It made a big college feel small. I’m still friends with peers who I met early on, and I made so many connections with my professors. It’s just a passionate group of individuals who I enjoyed being around. I also enjoyed how driven the rest of the students were. It was very inspiring and pushed me to be better.”

Pittman said all those experiences, as well as his work with the MU Office of Global and National Fellowships, prepared him for Harvard Law School.

“The fellowships process was incredibly valuable,” Pittman said. “I was able to really narrow down what I was passionate about and what I wanted to do. It gave me purpose beyond the application. Plus, the experience of writing essays and performing interviews helped me as I was applying to Harvard.

“The advisors were great to work with, too. They helped me shape my story and gave me ways to frame everything.”

As Pittman embarks on the next steps of his educational journey, he said he is thankful for his time at Mizzou and the important lessons he learned and skills he developed as an undergraduate student.

“If you would have told me I would have enjoyed my undergrad time so much, I don’t think I would have believed you,” Pittman said. “I built so many great relationships, and it was tough to leave the people behind. I do feel very prepared to tackle what’s next, and I owe a lot of that to MU.”