February 2016 Alumni Spotlight
February Alumni Spotlight with Samantha Slater, MPA ’11
MPA graduate, Samantha Slater is now a key member of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. New committees like this one have the unique challenge of ensuring they gain visibility and influence in order to effect significant change. Samantha discusses her role in this endeavor, her thoughts on the humble statistics class, and more.
Can you tell us what you do in the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee? How are its initiatives implemented?
The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is the main messaging arm of House Democrats, housed under the office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and led by Congressman Steve Israel of New York. The committee was just started a year ago, and we are tasked with developing a Caucus-wide message that forcefully communicates where House Democrats stand, resonates with hardworking Americans, and presents a sharp contrast to House Republicans’ agenda.
As the minority party, we have to be creative to ensure that our voice is heard. We work closely with our Senate counterpart to present a unified voice on the various issues that come to the House and Senate floor, and we use both tactical and strategic approaches.
I work on a daily basis with national media to convey where our House Democrats stand on various issues. It’s fast-paced and no day is ever the same.
What classes were most beneficial to you while at Baruch?
I never thought I’d say this as someone who was ambivalent from a young age about math, but my two statistics classes have been extremely helpful in my professional life. I read a lot of polls and meet with pollsters often, and the fact that I am able to understand their language puts me at an advantage. I also loved my class with Ed Sermier. Using the case study method to work through management issues has helped guide me as I learn to manage in real-life situations.
How has your MPA impacted your professional life?
When I started my MPA, I had been in a professional environment for quite some time, and I was nervous to return to school. However, I underestimated how much I would learn from the diverse student body at Baruch and the many different opinions that this brought to the classroom. Being surrounded by people with such different life and professional experiences prompted me to question conventional wisdom, which is something I continue to do in my professional life. I was also inspired by the dedication that both professors and students showed toward public service. It is this value that makes me so proud to serve.