Lytwyn '12 Pursues Passion for Politics
March 18, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— At Illinois Wesleyan University students are encouraged to pursue
their passions, a sentiment that Tracy Lytwyn, Class of 2012, certainly took to heart.
During her time at IWU, Lytwyn played saxophone in campus musical groups, was a DJ
for the University’s radio station, wrote for the IWU student newspaper, worked for
the Hart Career Center and interned with two local politicians. Along the way, she
perfected the art of multi-tasking, a skill that she has found useful in her current
position as a press secretary for the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus.
“I think the number one thing that impressed my employers was how much I juggled at
one time. IWU really taught me how to multitask and prioritize my commitments, which
has been incredibly valuable in the “real world,” said Lytwyn, who majored in political
science and minored in business administration and religion at IWU. “I’m often working
on press releases for all of my senators along with newsletters, reporter phone calls,
and making sure that I eat something before 2 p.m. It’s chaotic at times, but I definitely
spent four years preparing for it.”
Responsible for managing all communications and public relations for eight senators
from the Northeast and East Central region of Indiana, Lytwyn counts herself lucky
to have the opportunity to interact with senators on a daily basis and see first-hand
how politics and government function.
“What really appealed to me about this job was that I would be right in the center
of all the political action,” Lytwyn said. “It’s a really exciting and daunting feeling
that, at 22 years old, I have an effect on state government.”
Since legislation covers a wide-range of issues, Lytwyn credits her diverse academic
background to her success in a political environment.
Tracy Lytwyn on the Senate floor discussing a project
with Senator Jim Banks (R-Columbia City)
“I’d always heard about the value of a liberal arts education, but I never really
understood how important it is until after I graduated,” Lytwyn said. “You wouldn’t
believe how often issues or subjects that I learned in classes outside of my major
have played into my job.”
Lytwyn’s road to the Statehouse wasn’t all smooth sailing. She originally applied
for a job with a different government institution but they needed to fill the position
before she was to graduate. Lytwyn followed up closer to graduation, but when they
still didn’t have a job opening they put her in contact with the Senate who had an
opening for a press secretary.
“The title “press secretary” automatically makes you think of people like Jay Carney
who stand in front of television cameras and speak for the president,” Lytwyn said.
“So I initially thought, ‘Am I really cut out for a job like this?’ However, after
reviewing the qualifications for the job, I felt pretty confident I could handle it.”
Two interviews later, Lytwyn was offered the job in late May.
“We always tell students to follow their passions and become a person with passionate
interests,” said James Simeone, professor and department chair of political science.
“That is the liberal arts way, but it is also the way to succeed professionally because
people want to hire interesting people.”
When she was at IWU, Lytwyn worked closely with the political science department to
tailor her education to fit her interests.
“The liberal arts are about intellectual curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. You
never know where your intellectual interests will lead you,” Simeone said. “In Tracy's
case, she was interested in American religion and the Supreme Court. Since we do not
have that class, but she was exposed to it in my Constitutional Law class, she persuaded
me to work with her on an independent study on the topic.”
Lytywn’s time at IWU might have been busy, however, the chance to pursue multiple
passions made it all worth it.
“I am so blessed to have gone to a college that gave me limitless opportunities to
do all the things I love. My hope is that more students realize how valuable that
is before they graduate.”
Contact: Katherine Filippo, ’12, (309) 556-3181 firstname.lastname@example.org