First as an undergraduate studying political science, then as a graduate student in SPA, Joshua Ellis (SPA/MA ’16) says AU prepared him to do his part to influence the electoral process.
Ellis works for the Democratic Governors Association, an independent political committee that supports Democratic governors and candidates across the county. He is a digital manager, providing in-house design and web development for the Washington-based DGA with about 40 employees that supports governors in 16 states and 2 U.S. territories.
“I’ve had to grow my skills as fast as possible and work with influential partners to make an impact in gubernatorial elections across the county. That’s been a rewarding experience,” says Ellis, 24. “I’m able to really advocate for those causes and progressive issues that I care about.”
At SPA, he got the foundation and connections needed to launch his career. “It welded together my passion for politics and being involved with the skills and strategy to do it effectively,” says Ellis. Like many SPA students, being in Washington was a plus because it provided hands-on experiences and a chance to make a difference. While completing his master’s degree, Ellis worked as a graduate assistant for the Campaign Management Institute and part-time for the DGA.
“AU is perfectly situated, especially for political work. You get exposed to the right people,” says Ellis. “It was an immersive experience where I was always involved and drawn into the whole political sphere.”
For two years he worked for DGA in Washington, but then moved to Brooklyn, New York. Ellis says he likes working remotely, which he thinks is the future, and not having to sit at a desk all day.
“It gives me the flexibility to live my life more,” he says. “But there are some considerations. My response time has to be immediate and I always have my phone and laptop with me at 9 in the morning or 9 at night.”
Ellis says through SPA he was introduced him to a network of people who share his professional interests.
“The biggest benefits of my graduate degree were connections and getting an understanding of strategy,” says Ellis. “It gave me the basis to be able walk into a room and know exactly how we should be communicating and put that into action.”