Alumni

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (M.A.- 1990)

US Representative and Chair of the Democratic National Committee

“The Political Campaigning Program gave me a strong foundation upon which to build a career in public service. My degree certainly caught the eye of elected officials when I first looked for a job. And the experiences I had as a student, particularly the opportunity to wage a mock campaign, helped give me the confidence I needed to run for office myself.”

 

David Beattie (M.A.- 1997)

President- Hamilton Campaigns, Washington D.C.

“The Campaigning Program at UF helped to expand the knowledge I had gained earlier as both a campaign manager and a candidate. It greatly enhanced my understanding of voting behavior, partisanship, and the impact of communications, while providing me with a useful theoretical framework for making political decisions.”

David Rancourt (M.A.- 1990)

Founding Partner- Southern Strategy Group, Tallahassee, FL

“The UF Political Campaigning Program is simply a great education and a great experience. The combined academic and real-world approach to this graduate program is the right way to go. It helps to elevate the profession, and instill strong values of hard work, ethics, and an historic understanding of Florida politics and government. I wholeheartedly recommend the Political Campaigning Program to anyone interested in either.”

 

Tom Rooney (M.A.- 1996)

US Representative- Florida’s 17th District

“The Political Campaigning Program enabled me to understand politics in a way that most candidates would not. Running for Congress is extremely difficult, but the program at UF taught me what to expect and lent insight into the strategy that we are using in our campaign.”

 

Michael Cohen (M.A.- 1994, PhD- 1996)

President and CEO- Cohen Research Group, Washington, DC

“The joint program in political campaigning and mass communications was a perfect fit for my career. It provided me the theoretical and practical experience to run political campaigns, work for the Gallup Poll, and ultimately open my own firm. The Campaigning Program enhances your ability to think critically and compete professionally in an arena that needs both. But most of all, it provides you the unique opportunity to work with future leaders in all areas of business and politics.”

 

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Scott Simpson (M.A.- 2003)

Managing Partner- Resonance Campaigns, Washington, DC

“The Campaigning Program at UF was one of the best decisions I ever made when choosing to pursue a career in politics. The network of alumni is wide but tight-knit, and continues to be as valuable a resource as the coursework itself.”

 

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 Michael Luethy (M.A.- 2003)

General Consultant- Oak Grove Campaigns. Raleigh, NC

“I frequently return to the truths I learned at UF. The Campaigning Program equipped me with a fuller understanding both of the larger, environmental factors that shape elections and of the strategies and tactics that define successful campaigns. There’s no substitute for experience in campaigns, but success within that experience is based on the understanding and skills you have acquired. For anyone considering a career in politics, I recommend arming yourself with the Campaigning Program’s balanced approach of theory and practice.”

 

15c4f92Ian Rayder (M.A. – 2003)

Senior Manager – Government Affairs at Cisco Systems, Washington D.C.

“The Political Campaigning program at the University of Florida provided me with the practical skills and academic foundation necessary to jump-start my career in the field of applied politics. The strength of the program was it’s focus on the strategic and tactical approaches that ultimately enabled me to better leverage my skills as a campaign staffer, Policy Advisor on Capitol Hill and now, Government Affairs professional. Further, the relationships that I was able to cultivate with elite practitioners and alumni of the program exposed me to opportunities that I would have not otherwise had. I would recommend this program to anyone considering a career in the political arena.”

 

Lyndsay (Jones) Monstur (M.A. – 2003)

Associate Director for Major Gifts- Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

“As an international student, the campaigning program at UF provided me with a unique opportunity to gain practical U.S. campaign experience and to make valuable connections. It taught me the value of professional relationships, provided me with mentors, and the academic coursework gave me confidence in my decisions. Although I no longer work in politics, I still employ the skills learned at UF in my career as a major gifts fundraiser, for example, building my case in a way that might appeal to a specific set of potential donors and cultivating relationships. In addition, the practical campaign experience I gained gave me a tenacity that is often lacking outside the political arena, as well as the ability to thrive under pressure and juggle multiple projects without losing focus on the overall goal.”

 

Jenny (Materio) Mesirow (M.A – 2006)

Vice President, Government Affairs at Farm Credit Council, Washington D.C.

“The UF Political Campaigning Program provided me the perfect balance of political theory and tactical skills I needed to launch a career in politics. The curriculum ensured that I was exposed to all aspects of political campaigns while allowing me the flexibility to dive deeper into the topics that were of particular interest to me. Whether managing a congressional race, serving as legislative staff on Capitol Hill, or now as a lobbyist, I frequently rely on the knowledge I acquired and the relationships I built through the Campaigning Program. I strongly recommend this program to anyone who is hoping to have a successful career in politics.”

 

Joe Pileggi (M.A. – 2005)

Political Director, Republican National Congressional Committee

“The Campaigning Program really fostered a desire to work in electoral politics and has thus far led to an exciting career. Having a degree in Political Campaigning definitely got a lot of people’s attention when I was first getting started in the field, and the relationships I made in the program led to several campaign opportunities and are contacts that I maintain to this day. It’s always great to be a Florida Gator, but especially so when you combine that with the chance to study electoral politics and apply that knowledge to the real-world experiences that elections bring. The Political Campaigning Program at UF is a tremendous opportunity for anyone looking for a career in that field.”