Each summer the graduating seniors of College Democrats of Connecticut and of our chapters go on to do amazing things. Some stay directly involved in Connecticut politics while others take their CDCT experiences further afield. This post is the seventh in our Alumni Spotlight series which will highlight our amazing alums.
- Since graduating, what are you now doing?
I have moved to Washington, D.C. where I work as Director of Policy and Research at First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. I primarily work on early childhood issues, such as Headstart, but am able to work on a wide variety of issues due to the expansive nature of early childhood policy. Outside of work, I am a passionate advocate for foster care reform. This past May, I testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee about my experiences in foster care group homes and facilitated a roundtable of state child welfare leaders at the White House.
- Why do you find this position/job interesting?
I wholeheartedly believe that children are our future, and it is so fulfilling to work at an organization that is solely focused on protecting and empowering American’s youngest citizens. The unpredictable nature of my job is also very exciting. Whether I am lobbying Members of Congress or watching a hearing, I get to watch the all facets of the federal government work in real time. What could be better for a political nerd?
- What did CDCT and/or your College Chapter mean to you?
CDCT gave me an opportunity to meet with likeminded college students who shared my interests. It was a place where I belonged on a campus that was overwhelming conservative. It also provided me with opportunities to do grassroots campaigning, and the resources to do it. Without CDCT, I wouldn’t have a clue where to get started. By having a chapter on campus, I was able to get connected to these activities and also have cool people to do them with.
- What advice do you have for other college Democrats in the state?
Take advantage of opportunities to provide public testimony at the State Capitol! This allows you to practice speech writing and public speaking, and also allows you to raise your voice about an issue that you’re passionate about. Additionally, remember that public service is very much a component of the political process. In addition to pushing policy issues, look for ways to give back in your own community. For example, if your chapter is interested in immigration policies, brainstorm ways that the chapter can volunteer to assist immigrants in your town.
- How did your involvement with College Dems help you get where you are today?
My involvement with College Dems taught me so much about the political process, and how to navigate it. Additionally, I learned how to pitch policy issues and candidates to strangers when we knocked on doors for the Malloy Campaign. This all comes into my play at my role at my job.