Where do Our Alumni Go?

Our alumni have followed a variety of career paths. We have alumni in all levels of the government: federal, state and local as well as in corporate America. A large number of our alumni work in the non-profit sector pursuing their passion in advocacy and communications. Others have gone into careers in law and academia. Many of them take time to go to graduate or law school either directly after their bachelors or after working for a few years. On account of our location, we have a strong alumni network both in the Richmond and in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Our majors can tap into these networks and benefit from the connections. Every spring, we host a Careers and Graduate School Panel on which our alumni share their experience and their wisdom with our current students. This gives our students an opportunity to learn from and network with our alumni. Our alumni also post job and internship news on the department’s social media. We can accurately state that no major in our department has ever sought, and failed to receive, an internship.

With our unique position between Richmond and Washington D.C., students can find jobs in state and national government as well as in the non-profit sector. If your dream is to work outside the country, international affairs students from UMW have been known to work around the globe as educators, reporters, legal advisors, and more. Here are a few alumni from our Spring 2022 newsletter who though have pursued different paths, all came from the same one here at UMW Political Science and International Affairs Department.

  • Christopher M. Winslow is an elected a member of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.
  • Curran Smolinsky is Legislative Correspondent at U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Kathy Loden is the Parliamentarian and Director of Operations for the Committee on Homeland Security at the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Alex Obolensky is the Finance Director at Texas Democratic Party.
  • Elspeth England is a Trial Attorney at U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Gabe Walters is an attorney with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
  • Shirley Martey is China and Taiwan Analyst at SOS International.
  • Nadine Zaatar is the Economic Unit Chief and Senior Economic Advisor for Palestinian Economic Affairs at the US Department of State.
  • Kate Seltzer is getting a master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Maryland.
  • Pari Farmani is a Senior Program Officer for Gender & Democracy at National Democratic Institute (NDI).
  • Therese Giambona is the Global Head of Cash Network Management at J.P. Morgan.

Check out our career page, grad school page, newsletters and alumni news to learn more about where our alumni go.

Students attending Spring 2019 Career Panel

College is about learning and figuring out who you are. In the Political Science Department you have the opportunity to try different fields of study and work through our diverse classes and internship opportunities. The department also hosts career panels, as pictured above, so students may meet alumni, ask questions about their careers, and foster a career network. UMW as a whole also hosts career fairs for thousands of companies to come and meet with students to hire as interns or as post-graduate employees. To check out our internship opportunities, click here.

April 2020 – Below is an interview with Spring 2020 graduate Jason Ford regarding his internship during the Spring 2020 semester.

Headshot of UMW student Jason Ford.


Where did you intern it, and what did you do there?

I completed my internship this past spring semester with McGuireWoods Consulting. While at McGuireWoods, I served as a General Assembly Session intern in which I attended state government committee meetings. I took notes on discussion and outcomes of bills and drafted reports to provide to our firm’s lobbyists. I also worked on research projects for colleagues around the firm and helped put together packets for clients and their advocacy team.

Where is the internship located, and how did you handle transportation there?

The internship was located in Richmond Virginia. I was unpaid during my tenure at McGuireWoods however was given a stipend specifically to provide for transportation to Richmond.

Was it difficult to balance classes (and any other extracurriculars) with an internship? 

I found it only slightly difficult to balance extracurricular activities and my internship. I was only enrolled in 8 credits for my final semester, so I was able to commit a lot of time to my internship. However, because of my role on campus and my involvement in many clubs, I did find it somewhat difficult to attend every event I had hoped to attend.

How did you find the internship? Did you use any on-campus resources, and if so, would you recommend them?

I found the internship through an alumni email chain from a conference I attended the previous summer. From the email, I sent my resume and cover letter to my on-site supervisor. Although I did not use any on-campus resources to find the internship, however I did use the Career Center to prepare for it. I would highly recommend using the Career Center to look for internships, and update any of your professional documents.

What was the application process like? How did you prepare for any interviews you had?

The application process was very simple because McGuireWoods was searching for interns, therefore they expedited the process by having a phone interview. I prepared for the interview by being in a neat and quiet space and taking notes on anything important that was discussed. Also, have prepared questions for your interviewer about the location you are applying to.

What were some key takeaways for you from the internship, and would you recommend a similar experience to other UMW political science and international affairs students?

Some key takeaways I got from my internship is the importance of deadlines. For academic assignments, it is easy to get accommodations for late work. But in a work environment, deadlines are necessary and absolute as they can deal with money, or in my case policy or bills.

I would most definitely recommend this internship to any Poli Sci or IA majors because you gain a comprehensive understanding of how legislation is discussed and altered. You have the ability to see how laws are crafted and shaped before implantation.