When Adam Fauerbach (Political Science, ’18) decided he wanted to do a sophomore year internship, he still hadn’t settled on a major.
“I have a long and winding path that led me to political science,” he said in a recent interview. “I’ve always had a nose for history…but I really thought I wanted to be doctor.”
But after a summer working as a research assistant at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, he decided he wanted to try something different. For his next internship, he looked at a number of consulting and lobbying firms in Washington, D.C.
The internship at KGlobal quickly clarified his career goals. “One thing I like to do in my daily life is read and analyze the news,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in the spread of information, and controlling and manipulating that spread, so it’s very cool to finally be doing that.”
It also introduced him to fellow UMass alum Charles “Chuck” Dolan (’74), a senior vice-president in public affairs at KGlobal with decades of experience in the intersecting worlds of politics and media. A former state department official and congressional aide, Chuck has worked on every Democratic presidential campaign since 1980.
In Chuck, Adam found an experienced and supportive mentor.
“Nobody knows politics like Chuck,” Adam says. “It was great being able to have that guidance from someone who was there, and still is there, writing the narratives of political candidates and telling me what sounds good on air.”
“They put Adam on the team with me and I was very impressed with his work,” Chuck says. “I knew that UMass political science was doing a good job because my daughter graduated from the program about six or seven years ago and she now heads up community relations for a hospital in Virginia. Adam didn’t take much mentoring because he just took the ball and ran with it.”
Chuck adds, “One of the things I said to him is, ‘Just remember you’re an intern – you’re really not going to make a mistake. Go ahead and take a risk and don’t be afraid to ask questions.’ And I think that’s a lot of what made his internship work so well here and why he wound up being hired full time.”
One of Adam’s first projects was working for the Center for Presidential Transition during the 2016 election. The CPT collected and analyzed data about what preparations needed to be made to ensure a smooth transition between the Obama Administration and whoever won the election. “We were creating infographics and taking those to the media,” Adam says. “The main focus of what I was doing for them was actually writing questions to be submitted to the CNN Presidential Debate on behalf of the CPT.”
More recently he’s worked with Dole Food Company, developing strategy and writing copy for their advertising campaigns and overseeing their social and digital media presence.
The internship opened many doors for Adam. Shortly before returning to campus for his commencement, Adam attended a reception overlooking the Mall in Washington, D.C., he found himself interacting with Massachusetts reps Joe Kennedy and Jim McGovern, as well as UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswammy and UMass President Martin Meehan, an experience he describes as “surreal.”
Jesse Rhodes, an associate professor of political science who oversees the undergraduate program, thinks internships are a great way for students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-life situations in a professional work environment.
“We advise students to become political science majors for two reasons: first, to prepare students for citizenship by giving them an understanding of the workings American and global politics. The kinds of knowledge and skills and experiences that students acquire by being political science majors” – including analytical writing and empirical research and stimulating internship experiences – “prepares them for a really wide range of careers.”
After graduation, Chuck and KGlobal hired Adam as a full-time account associate. The two sometimes reminisce about their time as UMass students in two different eras.
“We had a lot of fun comparing what UMass was like when I was there in the last century and what it’s like now,” Chuck says.
“Specifically with the Blue Wall and the Campus Center,” Adam says. “When Chuck was there, the Blue Wall was a bar with live music. And now there’s a greatly expanded selection of dining choices in the Campus Center.”
As for Adam’s future, that “long and winding path” is a lot more focused.
“I see myself doing what I’m doing now,” he says, “but with a broader mind and more expertise, and with the ability to better able to tell my clients’ stories and making a meaningful impact on society.”
Asked if he had any advice for current political science majors, Adam says, “You need to do an internship at this point if you want to be competitive in the job market. UMass is really making a great effort to build its network between current students and alumni, and so I would say take advantage of that network.”
- By Boomer Pinches
- Alumni News