After graduation, some CHP students go on to earn higher degrees, while others are eager to begin working right away. Jeff Post (‘07) is one that has been putting his Political Science degree to good use.
“I work for Representative Brian P. Bilbray of San Diego in his Washington office as his Legislative Correspondent”, explains Post. As part of his job, Post responds to constituents’ concerns about legislative issues and manages the Congressman’s proactive mail program, which has been responsible for more than 30,000 personalized contacts this year. Post is also responsible for being up to date with all legislation relating to civil service and election law, and preparing vote recommendations on these issues prior to votes.
Post started his job and graduate school less than three months after graduating from UCI. “I moved 2600 miles from home to a city where I knew one person to start my first full time job and graduate school on the very same day, two days after my 22nd birthday”, recalls Post. He was able to get settled after a few months, and he has continued to make progress in his job and his studies. “I’m in my second year of a graduate program at the George Washington University. Next August I should finish up and earn a Masters Degree in Political Management with a concentration in public policy.” Post concedes that it is sometimes hard juggling school and his job, but he recognizes the benefits of each. “It has definitely been beneficial for me because my job has made me better at school and school has made me much better and more useful at work.”
Among his many responsibilities, Post’s most enjoyable task is preparing vote recommendations. “Less than two years ago I was sitting in a classroom learning about how Congress works, and today on a regular basis the last thing a Member of Congress does before voting is listen to my recommendations”, recounts Post. “I feel truly lucky to be able to impact our government at such a young age.”
Since Post moved to Washington, almost everything has revolved around the presidential race. “There’s a noticeable difference between Washington and the rest of the country. When everyone is talking about what happened on the last week of the Hills we are talking about whether McCain can pull out a win in Ohio. The difference is most clear at the supermarket checkout stands, where instead of seeing People, US, Ok!, and the other celebrity magazines you only see Time, Newsweek, US News, Foreign Policy, and other even more serious publications”, explains Post.
When contacted, Post was spending his vacation time campaigning for Senator Gordon Smith in Oregon. “It’s been a great chance to get first hand experience on a campaign and put my graduate work to the test”, admits Post. “I’ve also really enjoyed the break from the day to day work, because I don’t usually have much free time right now.”
Post credits the CHP for helping to prepare him for his career. “The CHP always encouraged me to go out and learn more things and be confident”, Post reveals, “while I may not have listened at first, I eventually took it to heart and the lessons I learned about leadership and hard work have been incredibly vital for me.” Post shared that the thing he misses most about the CHP is “definitely the people.” He also has advice for current students: “I think everyone should pay a lot of attention in Stanford and Barrett’s Logic and Philosophy of Science class. I can’t tell you how many times things that I learned in that class have come in useful to interpret and filter information I receive, and it has definitely helped me synthesize material between different subject areas that I believe has made me much better at my job.”
For students looking to pursue a career in Political Science, Post offers the following advice. “Experience matters. That’s the first thing I tell my interns when I meet them. In four years at UCI I took just about every American government class there was, but I learned more about how politics really works in four months in Congress.” Post went on to explain that in politics it is almost impossible to understand the full value of academics without first-hand knowledge.
“While I have made some great friends out here I still miss the late night hangout sessions, the bonfires, and the awesomeness of helping out with HED [Honors Experience Day]”, said Post.