Interview with Kevin Hughes

Interview with Kevin Hughes ’13

Kevin is currently a Public Policy Manager at Facebook in Washington D.C.

1. Why did you choose to major in political science or international affairs?

When I was a sophomore I was waffling between political science and computer science. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what I wanted out of life and I consulted a lot of my peers and mentors. Through those conversations I realized that my future would not be a typical, structured career in a specific discipline. That was one of my original draws to a liberal arts school in the first place. So, I stepped back and thought long and hard about what truly excites me. What can I spend my time learning that I actually want to learn about? What is something that will go beyond work and play a role in my personal life. Political science was that topic for me. The thread between what history, governance, and people is fundamental to the human experience and I love it.

2. What was your favorite part of the major?

The professors. I think the diverse political perspective spread across multiple geographies enabled me to really open up my world view.

3. Were you a part of any clubs and/or did you do study abroad? How were those experiences and how did it aid your education?

I was a UMW Ambassador and played club lacrosse. I always intended to study abroad but stayed local due to work opportunities.

4. how did your PS/IA education guide you to the career you have?

When I graduated, I accepted a full time role as a technical program manager for Facebook. A program manager is a critical role that can make or break an effort’s implementation, timeline, cost, and ultimate success. A truly good program manager is someone who can know and navigate people. In a lot of ways it is a raw form of politics. Develop a plan (policies), obtain buy-in (get the votes), secure leadership decisions (pass the bill), and implement. Understanding this as a political science major accelerated my advancement in the program management field.
This intersection of technical program management and politics, along with my degree then afforded me an opportunity to join Facebook’s global policy team. Since then I have worked in both international and domestic policy efforts around telecommunication regulation, taxation, data privacy, security, and law enforcement. I’ve been a policy developer, a strategist, and a lobbyist. I love it.
I never would have had the opportunity to take this path if I hadn’t made the choice to become a political science major.

5. What is something you want incoming students to know about these programs?

Studying abroad is something every political science major should have at the forefront of their mind. While I was unable to take advantage of it, I would highly recommend taking a serious look at incorporating it into your academic journey. Whether you are interested in domestic politics, international politics, political theory or political history, you will find that studying abroad will afford you an opportunity to broaden and deepen your understanding.