Interviewed by: Sophia Gourley ’19
SG: What have you done since leaving Trinity?
CA: I had interned for three summers during college in DC for a United States Senator. After college, I moved back to DC for what I thought was going to be the rest of my life. I graduated in May and started working in another Senator’s press office for an internship in August 2010. And when that internship was done, I moved over to the private sector working at a government relations firm. During that time, I was considering law school, but decided to apply to the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) instead. I moved to London after only a year in DC. It was amazing. I got my master’s degree from LSE in political communications and then moved back to DC, where I worked for a small public affairs firm. And then one of my clients – SoundExchange – approached me to work in-house for them. They actually advocated for legislation passed last year called the Music Modernization Act, and I ended up working for almost five and a half years on that, between my agency and client work. The legislation passed right after I left SoundExchange to go back an agency environment. While I specialize in public affairs, it was the political science degree that definitely gave me the right foundation to figure out what I wanted to do. Now I am at an agency called Weber Shandwick, where I’m an Account Director of Public Affairs for their specialty public affairs unit, Powell Tate.
I feel that my foundation is really solid because of my degree in political science. II’m happy that I chose political science as my major and from there was able to launch my career by focusing more on Political Communications and Public Affairs, while having that foundation in policy. My focus was American National Government, which has been helpful for me.
SG: Was there anything else that you learned at Trinity that you think helped you in your career?
CA: Certain classes helped more than others. There was a senior seminar class that I found to be very good. Dr. Diana Evans taught a class on special interest groups and I find that I spend a lot of time thinking about that class since I now work with lobbyists. I liked the senior seminar setup in the political science department because it provided some real world perspective and practice based on your major.
SG: I saw that you studied abroad in Rome. Did having spent some time abroad make the transition between undergrad and grad school easier for you?
CA: I am a huge advocate for studying abroad. I just got back from Rome for vacation and it was great to go back and see the Rome campus. Studying abroad is something I keep an eye out for when I’m looking at resumes. I think that Trinity College did a really good job of promoting studying abroad and encouraging students to pursue it. The fact that they have a campus in Rome is a good example of that. It broadens your outlook and teaches you that there are other people and perspectives out there. I took a European Union class that was taught by a British professor while I was in Rome. It helps students understand different perspectives and that you can’t have such a narrow view on how other people feel, especially about the United States in general. I thought that living in London was going to feel more like my semester abroad in Rome but it was very different because you’re getting a master’s degree and there was less time to travel. But studying abroad prepares you for taking those kinds of journeys.
SG: What are some of your proudest accomplishments since graduating from Trinity?
CA: Getting into the London School of Economics was a big accomplishment for me. During the application process, I had been asking my work contacts for professional recommendations, but if you’re a recent graduate, you can only have professors write the recommendations. So relied heavily on my professors to help me get into LSE. One of my professors at Trinity had gone to LSE as well and she was very supportive of me in that process. Since graduate school, one of my biggest accomplishments at work was having music licensing legislation passed after working on it for more than five years. I spearheaded a music industry bill launch in New York in 2015, which was a huge deal for me. In general, having a liberal arts education made me more well-rounded and prepared for the workplace.
SG: It sounds like you’ve had a lot of success after graduation and that you’ve accomplished a lot. What were you kind of involved in while you were at Trinity in terms of extracurriculars? Did you play any sports?
CA: I did not play any sports. I was a dancer. I had done ballet, modern dance, and dance in general growing up. I took a lot of dance classes in college. I wanted to go somewhere where I could take dance classes without necessarily having to major or minor in dance. That was important to me and that was one of the many things that Trinity had to offer. I also did Model UN for a period of time and was a research assistant in the political science department during my junior year for Dr. Diana Evans. I was also a teaching assistant twice. And I was the secretary of the Trinity College Democrats.