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Political Communication Program Launches Careers

SOC Shannon Rice

“I was given the tools to find a dream job at C-SPAN," says Shannon Rice, a graduate of the program.

The Political Communication program is a fairly new one at American University. Launched in 2010 as a joint program offered by the School of Communication and the School of Public Affairs, it has already produced alumni who are having an impact in the field.

One of the first graduates of the program is Stephanie Slade. While completing her studies she worked as an intern for the White House, as a communication fellow for an nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and also helped edit The Public Purpose, the School of Public Affairs journal for graduate students. Currently she is a project director at The Winston Group, conducting research and commentating on politics and current affairs from a free-market perspective for various online and print publications.

Dotty Lynch, SOC Executive in Residence, directed the program for the first two years and is now an advisor of the program. Lynch is an active member of the SOC/SPA faculty team, who is committed to remaining politically engaged. She serves as a political consultant for CBS News doing on-air radio analysis and as a member of the CBS News Election Decision Desk.

"Launching the joint program was challenging but working with the administration and faculty at SOC and SPA has been a terrific experience," said Lynch. "The synergy between the two schools was wonderful and seeing the students bring different perspectives to the program and learn from each other has been fascinating."

The Political Communication program is growing each semester. Some of its recent graduates have continued their interest in politics by currently working in support of the upcoming 2012 Presidential election.

Shannon Rice, another recent Political Communication graduate, currently works for C-SPAN Radio, covering the 2012 presidential campaign and Congress.

“The program gave me the foundation to understand the inner workings of DC and campaigns in a way that has proved to be incredibly beneficial for this job,” said Rice. “I was given the tools to find a dream job at C-SPAN that allowed me to continue learning and covering the political process here in Washington.”

“We have tried to provide the best academic grounding and professional skills and introduce students to top professionals in the field,” said Lynch. “What I hope they take away is not just skills but commitment to using those skills to pursue their goals for improving the political system”