M.A. in Elections and Campaign Management Alumni Spotlight
The skills acquired in the Elections and Campaign Management (ECM) program make alumni among the best-trained prospective employees in the political arena. They are recruited by top political firms, campaigns and organizations across the country and the world.
Alex Gomez, GSAS '09
Alex is the Assistant Press Secretary for the United Federation of Teachers. He handles media (press) relations and strategies as well as political affairs.He was named one of the top 40 under 40 in Politics for 2018 in the City and State New York magazine
What Alex likes most about his job:
It’s fast-paced environment, which changes by the hour and requires me to stay up to date on the latest in current events.
What ECM taught Alex:
ECM exposed me to multiple disciplines that were applicable to this role. Each lecture gave me a deeper understanding of the political process. Learning how to develop and read polls allows me to quickly cut through the headlines and dive into the real story under all the noise of the top lines. Our lecture series exposed me to reporters and professionals which gave me a leg up in building up my contacts.
Nicole Jaconetty, GSAS '15
Nicole is a senior associate at Global Strategy Group (GCG), a nationally recognized public affairs, communications, and political research firm. As a member of the research practice, she conducts surveys and focus groups for primarily political candidates and elected officials but also for non-profit organizations and corporations. She is responsible for the management and day-to-day operations of seeing a project from start to finish – from drafting questionnaires to producing final data analysis. Her job is to ensure that GSG clients have the most strategic, actionable advice to make their biggest decisions and achieve success in their efforts.
What Nicole likes best about her job:
I like having the opportunity to be “in the room where it happens,” helping to develop strategy for and interact with politicians who and causes that align with my values. As a native Chicagoan, I particularly appreciate any chance to work on campaigns in Chicago, Illinois, and other parts of the Midwest, in which I have the most experience. In the past two campaign cycles during which I’ve been with GSG, I have worked for some impressive candidates who I am proud to call long-term clients, including the newly elected Governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker.
What ECM taught Nicole:
I would not be at GSG without the help and encouragement from ECM Professor Jeffrey Plaut. I can also credit Professor McDermott and Professor Bart Robbett with helping me navigate the job search and mentoring me through the process of being involved in politics outside the classroom.
In terms of coursework, classes on the topics of American political behavior and its institutions and processes laid the foundation for my high-level understanding of our political system from a professional academic perspective.
Classes in the fundamentals of campaign management aided me while actually working on a campaign during my time in the ECM program. They, as well as classes on the topics of earned media and campaign finance, gave me the baseline knowledge I needed to understand every facet of a campaign. I have also found that I have an advantage on some of my colleagues who don’t know the inner workings of media strategy or fundraising, and I have a better sense of how my current work is important to the overall goals and tactics used in a campaign.
And of course, as a pollster, I use knowledge acquired in my quantitative analysis and political survey research classes on a day-to-day basis.