Where did your life take you after Episcopal?
After Episcopal, I enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. I majored in Political Science and used my time in school to explore my political interests by interning on Joe Sestak’s Senate race, for United States Senator Mark Warner, at the Department of State, and for President Obama’s reelection campaign. After graduating in December 2012, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to work on Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s congressional race. I spent a little time in the political consulting world, before landing a job as a Legislative Correspondent for Senator Warner.
Since then, I’ve been expanding my legislative portfolio in the office (education, judiciary, labor, workforce), making new friends (the Hill is a cross between college and summer camp), exploring my faith (National Community Church is an amazing place!), and getting to know myself. In November, I went on a weeklong solo vacation to Ghana. What I gained was a new desire to be thoughtful and intentional about who I am, what I value, and what impact I want to leave on this world of ours. I’m excited to be doing this work, and encouraged by one of my favorite Mister Rogers quotes: “Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.”
What is it like working for a Senator?
Working for Senator Warner—and for the residents of Virginia—is rewarding, challenging, and intellectually stimulating. I learn something new every day, and come to work knowing that I have the ability to positively impact someone’s outlook on life and perception of their government. I am incredibly proud of the work I get to do on Senator Warner’s behalf engaging with and advocating for constituents across the Commonwealth. Dissecting a complicated piece of legislation or learning the intricacies of a policy proposal are incredibly satisfying intellectually.
However, the personal connections and relationships that I am able to form with constituents and my colleagues make me most proud. Nothing is more satisfying to me than a teacher telling me I made her students feel heard, or a woman who wrote Senator Warner about her experience being trafficked saying that our office was the only one to respond to her letter. These moments of connection—when people know their government is listening to them—make me proud to be able to do the work I do.
Tell us about your charity work, is there one organization that you’re particularly passionate about? Why is that work important to you?
The charitable organization I’m most proud of is my church, National Community Church at Barracks Row. The work that we’re able to do as an organization is important to me because there is such a need for community and healing, both close to home and internationally. I’m proud to be part of a group of people doing such transformative work. Between missions work, community service, and being a welcoming place for people in need, I’m fortunate to be reminded of my responsibility to continually do more for, and care more, about the world around me.
What’s one surprising thing we don’t know about you?
After graduation, I took a doula training course in New York and (very) briefly dabbled in birth work. I even considered going back to school to be a nurse midwife! My dream in my next life is to open a birth center for high-risk pregnant women.
What advice would you give to young EHS alumni as they begin to explore their passions and interests as careers after college?
I would encourage young EHS alumni to be patient with themselves as they explore their passions and interests as careers after college. The year after I graduated from college was bumpier than I expected (working on a losing congressional race, temping to pay my student loans, living at home again), and I remember feeling discouraged about my career trajectory. As cliché as it sounds, we’re still very young and only taking our first steps in our careers—it’s okay if they’re a little wobbly!
Don’t get discouraged or be too hard on yourself when you get your first adult taste of failure.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since graduating?
The most important thing I’ve learned since graduating is the importance of authenticity. There can be a lot of pressure early on in your career to fit a particular mold. A few years in, I’m more confident in myself, my abilities, and my shortcomings, and more certain that I was made this way for reasons that will only become clearer over time.
What have you enjoyed about being a member of the 2015-16 EHS Advisory Council?
Being a member of the EHS Advisory Council has been a great opportunity to give back to a school that has given me so much. I was the first person in my family to attend EHS and benefitted from its generous financial aid program. Especially since I’m still located close to campus, I feel a sense of responsibility to remain engaged and invested in the future of the institution. The Advisory Council is also a great way of meeting other alumni, parents, and friends of the school. I’ve only experienced the school as a student and alumna, so it’s interesting to get a peek into these other vantage points.