What are your best memories from Semester in Washington? What parts of the program did you enjoy the most?
"My best memories from SIW are the people, first and foremost. The program was full of amazing and interesting people -- fellow students, instructors, guest speakers, and many more. We did some really unique stuff that summer, from meetings on the Hill and at the White House, to visiting some of the most well-known think tanks and interest groups.
I will also never forget how nervous everybody was before our final presentation. Another great life lesson: performing under pressure!"
Where did you intern during SIWP? What was that experience like? How did it help you get where you are today?
"I interned for New York City’s Office of Federal Affairs. My duties included issue research, monitoring legislation, drafting correspondence, attending legislative hearings, and more. It was a fascinating time to be interning for NYC, as the implementation of the city’s post-9/11 security agenda was ongoing.
The experience I gained from the internship was invaluable. I was forced to juggle numerous projects at once, work under tight deadlines, and quickly bring myself up to speed on various issues. And since part of the job was attending events on Capitol Hill, it was a fantastic networking opportunity."
Please describe your professional history. How has your SIWP experience helped you along the way?
"After graduating from college, I went to work for the Vermont Republican Party as part of their voter turnout program. The effort was primarily in support of competitive races for Governor and U.S. Congress, in addition to helping the entire Republican ticket.
Following the 2006 elections, I did a brief stint at Washington lobbying firm before joining John McCain’s presidential campaign in early 2007. I was initially part of the political department in the DC headquarters. But eventually I went on the road to key primary states before becoming the Iowa State Director for the general election.
After the McCain campaign, I was hired by SRCPmedia, a Republican media consulting firm. (One of the firm’s partners was my practicum leader at SIWP!) I have been at the firm ever since.
I learned more about working in politics in one summer at SIWP than I did in all the poli sci classes I took in college. The difference is the real-world experience. Nowhere else would I have had access to such top-notch instructors and political professionals. You can only learn so much about politics from lectures and books. And that is why SIWP is so valuable."
Please describe your current position. What is a day in your work life like?
"I am currently Associate Vice President at SRCPmedia. We are a full-service political advertising agency that works for Republican campaigns, issue groups, and right-of-center causes. I work with the firm’s partners to advise our clients on overall strategy, as well as to develop and produce the advertising for our clients’ campaigns."
How has SIWP helped you over the course of your career? Are there lessons you learned in class/the practicum/your internship that you still use?
"Campaign plans, budgeting, strategic allocation of resources, message development. At SRCP, I use all of these skills (and more) on a daily basis. And it was at SIWP where I first honed these skills in a real-world campaign scenario.
In addition, networking is the lifeblood of what we do. The political consulting business is almost entirely based on relationships. The events at SIWP were a fantastic introduction to making new contacts, and turning them into opportunities."
Anything else interesting? Any words of wisdom for prospective or current students?
"On any given day in Washington, DC, there is something going on that is worth your time. Whether it’s a reception on the Hill, a policy briefing at a think tank, a Nationals game, a museum, or even just happy hour after work. The more you can get out and meet people the better. You may meet someone and think they could not possibly be a good professional contact for you. But things change. And DC is small town. So maintain those relationship as much as you possibly can."