Tracy Lytwyn, '12

 

1) Where do you work? Briefly, what does it entail?

I'm a press secretary at the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus. I manage communications and public relations for eight state senators. That includes writing press releases and op/eds, filtering reporter phone calls, organizing press conferences, updating social media, recording radio feeds, and everything in between.

 

2)  What aspects of your job do you enjoy most? Find most challenging?

The number one thing I enjoy the most is interacting with the senators I work for. You never really get to see lawmakers as people when you read or watch the news, but I've had the opportunity to form great relationships with the legislators in our caucus. I also love watching politics and government from the inside. I see legislation being debated and created in real time, and I get to observe people from both sides of the issue show why they have such a passion for what they believe. It's really cool, and not a lot of people get that perspective.

The most challenging part of my job is also something I enjoy. Because I work for eight senators, a lot of things often happen at once, and I get pulled in multiple directions without warning. Sometimes, a crisis will happen absolutely out of nowhere, and I have to drop everything and put out the fire. But that's all part of the excitement.

 

3)  How does your job relate to what you studied at Illinois Wesleyan?

Everything I learned as a political science major has played directly into my job. I have a lot of experience in understanding what goes into legislation and other things that might affect it (court cases, public opinion, etc.). Because of that, when I write press releases or op/eds for my senators, I think about everything that plays into the bill we're highlighting. That helps me craft quotes and arguments, which then gives the reader a compelling reason to support a particular idea. Additionally, my writing experience as a political science major has really helped me in my job. As I said before, I spend a lot of time creating arguments or persuasive talking points in the press releases I write. I attribute my ability to do that to the essays I wrote and classroom debates I was a part of at IWU. So in short, I don't think I would be where I am without IWU's political science department.

Everything I learned as a political science major has played directly into my job. I have a lot of experience in understanding what goes into legislation and other things that might affect it (court cases, public opinion, etc.). Because of that, when I write press releases or op/eds for my senators, I think about everything that plays into the bill we're highlighting. That helps me craft quotes and arguments, which, in turn, helps the reader understand a particular idea. Additionally, my writing experience as a political science major has really impacted my work. As I said before, I spend a lot of time creating arguments or persuasive talking points in the press releases I write. I attribute my ability to do that to the essays I wrote and classroom debates I was a part of at IWU. Those things also helped me understand how other people feel about an issue so I can now see things from their perspective more clearly. And sometimes, that even changes what I think. So in short, I don't think I would be where I am without IWU's political science department.

 

4)  Has your job given you any insight into what you would like to do with the rest of your career?

Yes! I think it's shown me a lot of ways my political science major and job experience can be used. I interact with many people from different fields, and it's really cool to meet other poli sci majors who are doing great things. This job has also taught me what I like/dislike about working in government. I had an idea of that when I was a legislative intern in college, but now I'm seeing how things operate in a busy state capital setting. This has been a great springboard into the field, and I'm excited to see where else I might go.

 

5)  What advice, if any, would you give to Political Science majors looking for a job upon graduation?

Do at least one internship before you graduate. That's absolutely essential to being competitive in the job market. Take classes outside your major so you get a better perspective of the world outside what you're used to learning. When you're looking for a job, don't be afraid to take risks. Reach out to as many people working in the field as you can for advice, and they'll likely view your assertiveness positively. Use all of your resources, and ask a lot of questions. And of course, visit the Career Center at least once per school year.