Josh Jorgensen

Josh Jorgensen

Legislative Aide, Senator Mike Rounds
Washington, D.C.
Political Science, Journalism, 2016

"My advice would be to get involved. Whether its Greek Life, the journalism department, debate or through the political science department, being involved in activities makes you more involved in your studies. It helped me figure out what it was I wanted to do for a living. "

Q&A with Josh:

Describe your current educational or professional pursuits.

I am working as a legislative aide in the Office of U.S. Senator Mike Rounds in Washington, D.C. Before coming to work for Senator Rounds, I was an external affairs assistant and then an associate at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). AEI is a highly thought of conservative think tank here in Washington, D.C. While there, I was able to work on the Leadership Network, a group of mid-aged professionals from around the country working in the business, non-profit and government arenas. This step in my career allowed me to meet new people and hone the leadership and political knowledge I learned at USD.

However, in November 2016, I was offered a position with Senator Mike Rounds and I was thrilled to accept it. Working for South Dakota has long been a desire of mine. I now assist Senator Rounds in health care, education, tribal and telecommunications policy. Spending the last two and a half years in the Senator's office has been the highlight of my professional experience and getting to work for the people of South Dakota is a true joy.

How did your USD experience influence your career path?

During my time at USD I was able to participate in several internships including one with the South Dakota State Legislature in the House Appropriations Committee, one with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. and one with Senator Mike Rounds' office in Washington, D.C.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the support from the journalism department at USD for their flexibility in pursuing my dream. I was able to complete my final semester remotely while working in Washington, D.C., so that I didn't have to bypass the opportunity to intern in Senator Rounds office – something I know paved the way for me to getting a job within the office.

Tell us about your proudest achievement.

Working for Senator Mike Rounds is an achievement in and of itself. Each day I get to work in the nation's capital and have the opportunity to try to make people's lives better. I can't tell you the excitement I had when I received my offer letter to work in the U.S. Senate. From the day I changed my major to political science, I knew I wanted to be a Senate staffer. Seeing that five-year dream payoff was remarkable.

What was your USD experience like? Were you involved in any campus organizations or activities?

Attending school at the University of South Dakota was great. When I initially came to campus my goal was to be a print journalist, but that quickly changed. My POLS 100 professor, Mary Pat Bierle, approached me and told me that I needed to change my political science minor to a second major. I wasn't about to disagree, so I went to the admissions office and made the change, which was probably the best decision I've made.

After I made that change to a double major, I was able to stay involved in activities related to both my majors. I served as a sports reporter for The Volante as well as the assistant sports editor my freshman and sophomore year at USD. In addition, I worked on Coyote News – with a few of my stories airing – and hosted a political talk show my junior and senior years of college called, "Politics Tonight." While continuing to stay involved with the journalism side of things at USD, I also served as vice president and then became president of the College Republicans at USD. The contacts and leadership qualities I gained in those programs were instrumental in getting me to where I am today.

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