Attended Campbellsville University from: 2005-2009
Minor: Mass Communication-Emphasis in Public Relations
Hometown: Lebanon, Kentucky
What class(es) helped you the most while you were at Campbellsville University?
The State Government course, taught by Mr. John Chowning, fostered my interest in government and politics. Mr. Chowning’s personal insight and experience with government affairs served as a great tool in the classroom. I recall him arranging a “state government day” for us in which the class traveled to Frankfort for the day while the General Assembly was in session. This was my first visit to our state capitol and I remember being so intrigued by the dynamic between legislators and outside parties. I also enjoyed my Terrorism Studies class with Professor Max Wise. The course curriculum was extremely challenging and by studying various terrorist organizations I was able to improve my analytical skills.
Did you go to continue your education after graduation at Campbellsville University, or did you go straight to the workforce? Is this typical for the job you have?
I originally planned on applying to law school my senior year, but decided that I was not ready for it, instead I decided to return to Washington, D.C. after I graduated and try my luck at finding a job as a hill staffer. (In 2008 I interned for former Congressman Ron Lewis and enjoyed the time I spent working in a Capitol Hill office. It is amazing how impactful six weeks can be on one’s future.)
Typically hill staffers have completed an internship in Washington, D.C. which allows them to build a certain skill set and develop relationships. It is very important to do an internship if you are looking for a job in DC.
You mentioned law school; do you ever plan on applying and following through with that dream?
I do still plan on applying to law school or graduate school; however I believe that I still have a lot to learn about public policy and look forward to furthering my career in public service.
Where do you currently work? What is your job and did they give you any additional training when they hired you?
I currently work for Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) in his DC office. I serve as his legislative correspondent. In this role I am responsible for managing all of the incoming and outgoing correspondence for the office, crafting explanatory language on legislation and assisting senior staff with policy research. This means, I summarize what legislation does and explain how it will impact our state/country.
How did you find out about this job? Did anyone at Campbellsville University help you make connections?
I graduated from Campbellsville University in May 2009, and moved to Washington, DC in September 2009 to do an unpaid internship for Congressman Guthrie. After completing the internship in December, a position became available in the office and fortunately I was offered that position. Congressman Guthrie currently represents Taylor County. He also represents Marion County, where I am originally from. I have been very fortunate to get to work for my hometown and my alma mater.
Did you do any internships while at Campbellsville University?
I completed two internships as a student at Campbellsville University. I did an internship for former Congressman Ron Lewis (KY-02, now retired) in Washington, DC in the summer of 2008. I also completed the Frankfort Internship Program Campbellsville University coordinates through the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) in the spring of 2009. I worked for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, worked for the legislative liaison of the department and was responsible for tracking legislation and performing research related to the department.
How do you feel that the political science program at Campbellsville University helped to prepare you or give you an advantage upon graduation?
The political science program at Campbellsville University was relatively small when I was a student, therefore it allowed for more guidance from professors that I may not have received if I chose a different program. I was fortunate to complete two internships prior to graduation, thanks in large part to encouragement from my professors, which gave me a greater advantage upon entering the workforce. Since then, I have advised any student seeking advice that such real world experiences are much more beneficial than any coursework. I would also credit my political science professors, especially Professor Max Wise for creating a positive learning environment, and constantly challenging me to reach my full potential. Strenuous curriculum requirements had a significant impact on my research and writing abilities, which I have since found beneficial in my current position.
What is your advice to any potential students and freshmen?
I encourage students to take their time and take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. I had a timeline for myself when I entered college, but veered from my plan, took a chance and moved to Washington, DC, and I have been fortunate enough to have some really amazing experiences and a job that I love.
Interview compiled: Meagan Pickett
Photo taken at the Cannon Rotunda in the Cannon House Office Building, Washington D.C.