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SPA Justice Grad Takes on the House Floor

Goff

Shuwanza Goff came to DC with her heart set on law school, but life had other plans. A career on Capitol Hill emerged during her master’s studies in Justice, Law and Society (JLS). From making connections to being exposed to politics and policy work, “my experience at AU helped to catapult me onto the Hill,” said Goff.

Goff landed a coveted staff assistant position in the office of House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) while she was completing her graduate degree. Two years later, the Mechanicsville, Va, native was promoted to floor aide, a position helping manage developments on the fast-paced House floor. 

As a member of the floor team, Goff is on the front line of communications about legislative action taking place on the floor both to Representative Hoyer's multiple offices and externally to the Democratic caucus. Much of her time is spent updating members about current floor activity. This is no leisurely task; on one recent day the House debated a record 85 bills.

“I definitely enjoy being part of the floor team. I can see a direct correlation between what happens on the Floor and the policies that are developed,” said Goff. “But the most enjoyable aspect of my job is working with Mr. Hoyer and his staff, and witnessing their interactions and commitment.”

Goff still maintains the valuable connections she made in the JLS program, including ties to a fellow SPA grad working on the Hill with whom Goff is in “constant communication.” She credits Professor Emilio Viano’s core class on law and society for spurring her interest in and motivating her to establish a career on the Hill, a place she sees herself working for a very long time.

“Working with leadership is tough. I’m 26, and it means sometimes working very long hours,” said Goff, “but seeing the healthcare debate from beginning to end—from the town halls to the bill’s signing--that was historic, and an a-ha moment for me personally. I just can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”