Posts Tagged ‘government’

Meet Edgar D. Rodríguez ’16, Legislative Correspondent/Aide to Congresswoman Norma J. Torres

November 8th, 2017 by eklamm

Name: Edgar D. Rodríguez ’16
Title: Legislative Correspondent/Aide
Organization Name: United States House of Representatives; Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35)

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

I am responsible for managing the Congresswoman’s entire mail correspondence system between constituents and her office, as well as, using constituent input (among other avenues) to help advance her legislative agenda by proposing and drafting bill ideas.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross?

My original plan was to return to my hometown (Pomona, CA) and work in the community expanding access to healthcare, specifically for U.S. citizen children of undocumented parents. However, after participating in the Washington Semester program in the fall of 2016 and receiving a job offer, I decided to stay in D.C.

How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

While I truly enjoyed my internship on the Hill—especially since I was interning for my representative—I still had plans to return to my community. It wasn’t until the Congresswoman asked me to join her on the campaign trail the week leading up to the general election that I began contemplating the idea of staying in D.C. after graduation. Driving the Congresswoman around to multiple campaign stops in California and Nevada and seeing first-hand the issues that she was advocating for and how it related to the work she was doing in D.C., made me realize the possibility of doing the same in Washington. Immediately after returning from California, the Congresswoman offered me the position to stay and help her accomplish the work she advocated for on the campaign trail.

Rarely do you find D.C. staff working for their home representatives. I saw the need to stay here and work for my home representative and advocate for my community because I am from there and I understand the local issues.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was involved quite extensively during my time at Holy Cross through the Student Government Association. I was the assistant to the SGA Director of Student Life my freshman year, a two-term Senator, and eventually Director of Diversity. Concurrently, I was also involved in the Pre-Business program, co-founded the RSO Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A. de Holy Cross) my sophomore year, took part of several service trips, was appointed to a couple of Presidential committees under the Office of Diversity, and founded the new center for students of color, among other things.

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I came to Holy Cross seeking an Economics Accounting major. However after my first year, that quickly changed to Political Science. While my major did not directly affect my career decisions, I have greatly benefitted from its instruction in my current job.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

The two greatest skills that I developed at Holy Cross are the same ones that I utilize today on a daily basis. The first is the ability to manage people. Aside from handling a legislative portfolio for the Congresswoman, I also have the wonderful opportunity to manage our internship program. Understanding the weakness and strengths of people and knowing how to utilize them to the benefit of an organization is something that took quite a bit of trial and error during my time at Holy Cross. The second skill is perhaps more common: the ability to multitask and take on different projects at the same time. For a very long time, I was the type of person that always took more than they could handle simply because I wanted to do it all. Learning to understand your capacity as a leader and how to effectively manage multiple projects early on has truly helped me balance my innate feeling of wanting to take on a lot and doing a good job at it.

What advice do you have for students on campus interested in the Communications / PR field?

I think students always fall short of pursuing their passions and, more often than not, pursue what makes them feel secure and not what challenges them. My advice for students is to try to escape the fear of judgement.

Pursue what makes you grow. There are passions out there that you may discover along the way, passions that you never knew you had. And that might not only impact your life in a positive way, but the lives of those around you as well.

I Was a Political Science Major, Now I am a First Year Associate

October 11th, 2017 by eklamm

Meet Jonathan Casseus ’14, First Year Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Boston.

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

My job essentially is that I am a lawyer in a big law firm conducting litigation for large companies on a variety of issues ranging from class actions to securities litigation.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

I always knew that I wanted to go to law school ever since I stepped foot on campus at Holy Cross. I tailored my course selection to prepare me to fulfill that dream. I noticed that the courses matched my passions while at Holy Cross and in law school, I continued to love what I was learning, proving how much of a great fit it was.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

Sound of St. James All-Male Acapella Group, RA in Mulledy for 2 years, MPE, Peer Mentors, Brother to Brother Committee, WHCH Sports (Broadcaster for Basketball), Intramural Soccer, Co-Chair of BSU in 2013, Treasurer in 2012, and Freshman Apprentice in 2011.

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

Political Science. The courses really helped me understand how the law can shape countries and states, and the writing equipped me with tools that I still use up to this day.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

I learned how to have a disciplined work ethic to meet various deadlines especially when they all fall around the same time period. All the “hell weeks” prepared me for the times when law school got really tough. Moreover, I learned how to constantly reflect on my journey and my purpose and that has aided me in putting things in perspective and reminds me why I wake up doing what I always wanted to do.

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

If you have a goal or dream, take your academics by the horns and try to gear yourself towards that goal as best as you can. Also, do not take Holy Cross for granted, the school is preparing you to do great things, however, selling yourself short or cutting corners will not allow you to reap those benefits.

#CrusaderIntern: The Office of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin

June 5th, 2017 by eklamm

Meet Mary Kate Vanecko #CrusaderIntern at The Office of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin

What were you up to this past summer?

I spent my summer working on the Hill for my state Senator, Richard Durbin. I enjoyed the high-energy, purpose-driven environment of Washington and learned a ton about the behind the scenes work of our government.

Senator Durbin serves in leadership as the Democratic Whip, so he has two offices in the Capitol. As an intern, I assist with various administrative tasks in both offices. I answer phone calls from constituents, give tours of the Capitol and attend and write memos on legislative hearings. I have attended several hearings on public health, energy and foreign affairs and have enjoyed hearing experts from each field debate. It has been eye-opening to witness the legislative process from constituent concerns to the passing of a bill. Before the Senate went on recess, they were debating several bills on GMO labeling, Zika funding and gun control. I was surprised by how many constituents called into the office to voice their concerns to the Senator and how many groups came in to meet with staff to share their concerns.

What was your favorite part?

One of my favorite experiences was the intern lecture series where a variety of political figures gave talks to the summer interns. I heard from NASA Administrator Charles Bloden. Like many of the speakers, he started as a congressional intern then went on to be a marine and astronaut. In a political environment that is becoming increasingly polarized, he shared an inspiring story about looking back at earth from space and seeing so clearly how we are all one.

My Alumni Job Shadowing Experience: GOVERNMENT

April 10th, 2017 by eklamm

Full Name: Juliana Brandao
Class Year: 2017
Major: International Studies and Spanish
Shadowing Visit Site: MA State House

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

I had the wonderful experience of shadowing Christine Barber, the Massachusetts House Representative for the 34th Middlesex district. During my shadowing experience, I gained insight into Christine’s role as House Representative as well as some of the activities and events that occur within the State House. I attended several caucuses and meetings and had the opportunity to network with other people. The first event that Christine had scheduled was a presentation by the non-profit organization ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) where I met the Operations Manager and the Deputy Director of Field Operations for ABCD. I have kept in contact with both of them and now have the opportunity to do an informational interview with the Operations Manager of ABCD.

I also attended the Progressive Caucus and the Women’s Caucus, both of which Christine is involved in. The Progressive Caucus was a great experience because I got to observe how the representatives coordinate meetings and speak with one another. They were speaking about topics that particularly interest me, such as health care reform, and it was fascinating to hear how they planned and discussed practical strategies to make sure that the meeting would be efficient and their goals would be heard. During the Women’s Caucus, representatives of different organizations that advocate and support women’s rights presented on their specific organizations, explained what impact their organizations have in communities across Massachusetts, and provided important statistics about women regarding sexual victimization and racism.

I was able to speak with Christine on a more personal level during lunch and in between scheduled meetings and events. I asked her about her career path and how she landed her position as State Representative. I learned about what experiences helped her gain the skills that her position requires her to utilize every day. It was comforting to speak about both of our experiences at Holy Cross since we share this college experience in common. At the very end of the day, she took me on a tour around the State House and I got to see both the House Chamber and Senate Chamber.

Overall, it was a pleasure to meet with Christine and learn about her role as State Representative. I found the experience fulfilling and eye opening. As a female student, it was both empowering and gratifying to shadow a female alumni working for the government and playing an active role in shaping public policy.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

I gained a networking opportunity to speak with employees of ABCD. I also developed a better idea of what it means to work for the government, and more specifically, the State House. This experience increased my interest in public policy. Christine’s role is relevant to my interests. She works to protect and ensure the rights of her constituents, and she is particularly active in health care, housing, and women’s rights matters. It was wonderful to learn about what bills she is trying to pass and what bills she is trying to resist, especially during a time where there is a lot of political controversy. As a senior, this experience also made me reflect on the kind of work environment that I would like to be a part of, especially as graduation gets closer and closer.  

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My alumni host gave me advice to try to enjoy my last semester at Holy Cross and break down my next goals step by step. As an HC alum, she understands the pressure of having to keep up with classes, participate in outside activities, apply to jobs, and have at least some down time. She encouraged me to try new things and not be afraid of getting stuck somewhere that I do not like since these moments can help us grow and realize what we are really interested in. She also mentioned that the Center for Career Development has really developed since she went to Holy Cross, and based on the information that I provided her on my personal experience, she thinks it is a great resource for students. Finally, she stressed the importance of networking because it is necessary for almost any career path that you take.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I would definitely recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students. It is both exciting and insightful to experience a part of an alumni’s career and see what they do on a daily basis. With respect to Christine’s role as House Representative, and I am sure this applies to other alumni as well, a lot of her work is relevant to changes that affect society, something I found quite meaningful during the visit. Most importantly, the shadowing program is great practice to put yourself out there and get over the hurdle of being shy or intimidated by the “real world.” Networking is key!