Alumni Profile-Ryan Shay

Ryan Shay

Political Science Major (2011)

 

Currently, I am working in the U.S. Congress for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Prior to my time on Capitol Hill, I received my M.A. in political science (emphasis: U.S. Congress) with distinction from Villanova University. I graduated from WWU in August 2011 with a B.A. in political science.

During my time at WWU’s Political Science Department, I had the great opportunity to take a wide variety of courses, ranging from the European Union to Feminist Political Thought. The chance to be exposed to such diverse curriculum enriched my own education and served as a useful way to solidify my research interests and career objectives.

One of the other highlights from my time at WWU’s Political Science Department was the opportunity to serve as teaching and research assistants to Drs. Amir Abedi and Shirin Deylami. I found it quite rewarding to serve both of these professors as their research and teaching assistants while burnishing my own research and education credentials. Finally, submitting and defending a research paper on political and religious identity at the annual Political Science Conference served as a key highlight of my undergraduate experience by providing me with a venue to defend my research and thesis in an academic setting.

Like most disciplines, the political science world is highly competitive. Whether you are interested in law school, political campaigns, graduate school, or working in Washington, D.C., the competition you will face is, unfortunately, severe. Consequently, I highly recommend that you take great care to maintain a stellar GPA and buttress your academic credentials with multiple extracurricular and professional development experiences. These experiences can include student clubs, volunteering on political campaigns, attending skills workshops, and participating in academic conferences. If you are particularly interested in working on political campaigns, on Capitol Hill, or in DC generally, internships are essential in order to find full time employment upon graduation. As a result, take great care to plan your course schedule and activities accordingly to set you up with the best chance to land an internship in your desired field.  However, it is not sufficient to pile up internship experiences; you must remain in great academic standing in your coursework and writing abilities in order to be giving a thorough evaluation by a prospective employer. In all of your application materials, I highly recommend that you seek support from the Writing Center, trusted peers, and professors to ensure that your application(s) demonstrate exceptional writing ability.  

Please feel to contact me through the WWU Political Science Department if you have any further or specific questions regarding internship preparation, finding employment in DC, or any other related topics. Several WWU alumni were instrumental in my own career path and I want to be a resource to all of you.

-Ryan Shay