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Madison Stromswold

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'19 Political Science | Associate, Greenlee Partners, LLC | Harrisburg, PA
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Madison Stromswold

Liberal Arts Major: Political Science

Liberal Arts Minor: Communication Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Billings, Montana

Current Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

As a Penn State student, I spent a great deal of time focused on undergraduate research. I've published work on federal lobbying disclosure and registration policies in The Dialectics: Journal of Law, Leadership, and Society and completed a Schreyer thesis studying the political determinants of K-12 education spending at the state level. During the summer between my junior and senior year, I completed an internship at Greenlee Partners, LLC, a lobbying firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

After graduating from Penn State, I took a job at Greenlee Partners, LLC, the same place I interned the summer before. As an associate and registered lobbyist, I represent my clients' interests in front of various government institutions, and I am blessed to work from an office located only a few hundred feet away from the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex. Due to the current global pandemic, however, I have been working from home.

What was your favorite class and who was your favorite faculty member?

My favorite class was Presidential Rhetoric in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences with Dr. Mary Stuckey. This class had a great balance of rhetorical theory, American presidential history, creative and technical writing, and government/political theory. I'm still using skills and knowledge from this class in my career today. To date, my favorite faculty member was Professor Salar Ghahramani, Associate Professor of Business Law and International Law and Policy at Penn State Abington. He was integral in growing my interest in undergraduate research and served as an insightful and professional mentor, even after I transferred to Penn State University Park.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for life after graduation?

The College of the Liberal Arts does an excellent job teaching critical thinking skills, which I continue to utilize in my career today.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

As someone who works in government relations, networking is essential to the success of my career and my clients. I think networking is important in every field, however. Two pieces of advice that have helped me network more effectively are: 1.) Learn to listen. You can't network appropriately if you're too caught up thinking about the next thing you're going to say. 2.) Don't fake it 'til you make it. If you're at a networking event and a group of people start discussing something you're unfamiliar with, don't be eager to pretend you know what they're talking about. Likewise, if someone asks you a question you don't have the answer to and you're at an event, business meeting, casual office setting, etc., it's better to admit that you don't know the answer and promise to follow up or inquire further. Honesty and sincerity will help you establish meaningful networks.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

Mentors have played a very important role in my career. I sought out mentors when I was in college, and I continue to establish relationships with people who are able to mentor me as I enter the second year of my postgraduate career. My professors who served as mentors helped me figure out my academic passions and how to best balance those with my career goals. Likewise, my mentor in the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program helped me answer professional questions I had and prepared me for the business world that I was entering. Today, my mentors include people who I work with or work in similar fields. They have been able to help me grow as a thoughtful employee and young professional.

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Flashback to Madison as an Undergrad:

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