Year of Graduation: December 2013
Major(s): Political Science
Current Position: Executive Assistant, Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03)
Please give a brief description of your current position:
I manage Congressman Paulsen's schedule both while in Washington, D.C. and in Minnesota. Responsibilities include handling all invitations, coordinating meetings, speaking engagements, in-District tours and site visits, and managing travel. Additionally, I work closely with the legislative teams both in D.C. and in Minnesota to ensure the Congressman is prepped nightly for the next day's activities.
What path did you follow to get to this point?
Internships- both in Washington D.C. and in Minnesota! These helped me build contacts and I tried to make the most of these internships - I met many people in the field by being so involved, and even though it is unpaid work, it does so much for you in the long-run. Furthermore, in such a "social" field, politics is all about who you know. I tried to make sure that I never came off as "transactional" with the contacts that I made. I maintained consistent correspondence with them and built personal relationships, so when the time came and I asked for assistance in the job search, they were happy to help me.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Never turn down opportunities in politics because it is not your dream job. You have to pay your dues. The Hill is very much a pipeline - don't expect to jump in without getting your feet wet.
What skills are important in your field?
The most important skills in my field include organization, the ability to multi-task and thrive in a fast-paced environment, strong, high-energy interpersonal skills and savvy political instincts.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Even though an executive assistant position may seem like a strictly administrative job, it's not. If I can successfully navigate myself into getting my boss a meeting with a bureaucrat so he can speak with him or her, scheduling oftentimes has tangible, life-changing implications for constituents. And that's very exciting for me.
The Hill is an extremely high-stress environment. My job truly never ends since I manage both Washington D.C. and Minnesota schedules. However, that energy and extremely dynamic environment really keeps me engaged.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
Career Services were extremely helpful for me. The CareerEXPO was great - I would advise current students to attend the industry panels - there is so much insight to be gained from experienced alumni!
Interested in connecting with alums to tap into their expertise and learn about career opportunities?
Participate in the “Take a Bennie/Johnnie to Lunch” program. To learn more, check out: