A Great Outlook on Life: Video Transcript

Steve Pinkos (BS Political Science, Miami, 1992) [lobbyist with the American Continental Group]: I was interested in politics in a general way when I was in high school. It was the late '80s, I had grown up with Ronald Reagan, and everything that was encompassed by that. We were coming to the end of the Cold War, and to the extent that politics seemed kind of cool, I was interested in politics, and so when I was looking at a major, I knew I didn't like math, and I didn't want to do the accounting classes, and my interests again were in politics, and I'd followed things through the newspapers and on TV, so I figured that maybe that's what I should try, and I started taking some of the classes, and they were great.

At Miami we studied the American political system, comparative politics, and it certainly continued to get my interests going in politics. I was advised that law school might be a good option by my professor and advisor here, and I chose that option, but that's not exclusive of working in politics. Many people that work in politics and serve as politicians have their law degrees, so it was always in the back of mind. I went to Washington, and it was the perfect combination of both my law degree and my political science degree from Miami.

My experiences at Miami have provided a great outlook on life in general, and my profession. The studies that I pursued with political science and even in sociology, I just learned a tremendous amount about the American political system, about what makes our society tick, and of course you can apply those very well to any current political situation.

I can remember my freshman year was the middle of the presidential race between President Bush and Michael Dukakis, and he had a rally right outside Harrison Hall, which my recollection is it was one of the biggest rallies of his campaign, and it was the night after he had debated Mr. Dukakis. It was also the year that the Cincinnati Bengals went to the Super Bowl, and a couple of the players were on the stage. It was an amazingly exciting time for a freshman in college.

I think for people who major in political science, an obvious career path, because I have experienced that, is to get involved with public policy making, whether it's at the local level, the state level, the federal level. There are opportunities to work with elected officials in helping them to devise the policies that can help their constituents. It really provides some infrastructure and opportunity to get involved in campaigns in various levels and to meet candidates. Those are some of the things that you can do at the beginning levels to get involved in Washington once you graduate.

During college, during your time here at Miami, try to get involved with some activities on campus, or particularly in the summer time, where you can experience, whether it's a summer internship in Washington, DC or Columbus or Tallahassee, whatever it may be, where you can experience public administration or politics firsthand. Volunteer on a campaign. That’s very much a knocking on doors, working on digital projects type of field. And they very much rely on folks that are younger. So trying to get some of that practical experience to go along with the great book and classroom experience you have at Miami will really help you as you strive to get your first job and even your second and third job.

The relationships you make matter, and how you treat people will matter for the long term. Especially when you get involved in the business community or the political community, people have long memories, so I think it's important to show the sort of type of values that you can take from Miami. It's a great community, with good people, good professors, and to live by those going forward. People will always be impressed by work ethic, by treating others the right way. Those sort of bedrock principles will always serve somebody well, and I would just carry those sorts of things with you when you leave Miami.

[October 2015]