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Tyler Lester, Class of 2015
What is your post-Radford job?
- I am currently the legislative aide to Delegate Todd Pillion, who represents the fourth district in the Virginia House of Delegates.
I am currently the legislative aide to Delegate Todd Pillion, who represents the fourth district in the Virginia House of Delegates. How did you get it?
- I was working as a field representative for Congressman Morgan Griffith when the opportunity became available.
What do you find yourself having to work on?
- Legislative research, constituent inquires, scheduling, drafting correspondence, press clips, and anything else the Delegate needs.
What do you like most about your job?
- Just being able to play a supportive role in the policy and decision-making process of the western hemisphere's oldest legislative body is a tremendous honor. While I am just now gearing up for my first legislative session, I can only imagine the awe-inspiring feeling of stepping into Thomas Jefferson's Capitol and remembering all of the great Virginians who have forged the path for us in the Commonwealth and for the nation. Aside from that, constituents know they can call on us when they need help or if they want to express an opinion. While the answer in the end may not be perfect, being able to help them resolve an issue is extremely rewarding.
What does it take to succeed in your position?
- Attention to detail; planning, yet an ability to be flexible; organization; and a sense of humor.
What knowledge, skills, and abilities gained at Radford are helping you most in the work world?
- My political science professors always emphasized teamwork. While I usually got that sinking feeling when the words "group assignment" appeared, collaboration is an imperative skill in the real world. For example, in the Virginia General Assembly, the Southwest Virginia delegation is a tight-knit group that works closely on a variety of issues. As a result, I work closely with the other members' staff and we usually talk at least once per day to coordinate on a variety of matters. As a student, I never understood the practicability of doing a group paper, but now that I occasionally have to write joint press releases, I get it! (Thanks, Dr. Hrezo and Dr. Shareef!)
What organizations were you a part of at Radford?
- I was the Legislative Action Coordinator for SGA (fall, 2014) before accepting a staff position with Congressman Griffith the following semester.
Did those organizations help you succeed in securing a postgrad job?
- Though my tenure in SGA was brief, I was fortunate to work alongside a very talented and dedicated group of student leaders. My responsibilities included legislative research and working with the University administration to coordinate "Advocacy Day" activities in Richmond. I look forward to seeing those infamous RU turtlenecks in the General Assembly Building when Advocacy Day rolls around next year.
Any advice for current and future political science students on how to succeed?
- Do an internship! While the thought of doing work for free may not seem like a worthwhile investment at the time, it is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience, develop a resume, and build your professional network. During my first semester at Radford, I took advantage of an internship opportunity in Congressman Griffith's Christiansburg office. About a year later, a paid staff position became available and the office called to see if I was interested in being considered for the position. I worked part time during the spring semester while I finished my degree, then went full time after graduation. Had it not been for that internship, I would not be where I am today.