This summer, Jim Mower ’12 (Harleysville, Pa.) and Katrina Ladd ’11 learned the ins and outs of political communication with Gerry Kavanaugh ’76, founder and chairman of DCS Online Communications in Washington, D.C.
An internet strategy company, DCS connects members of Congress, political candidates, and advocacy campaigns with their constituents through numerous services such as creating websites, sending e-newsletters, and organizing tele-town halls.
“I loved being engulfed in the everyday happenings on Capitol Hill and learning how Congressmen communicate with the people that they represent,” says Mower, a government and law major. “I especially enjoyed writing a weekly ‘Hot Topic’ email that was sent to clients as inspiration or a template for an email about a current issue in D.C.”
Kavanaugh, who has hosted numerous Lafayette students for internships and externships, knows the importance of students getting real world experience before they graduate.
“I saw the immense value of internships when I was working on Capitol Hill for Senator Ted Kennedy,” he says. “It was clear to me that students gained more hands-on knowledge about politics and government through an internship than they ever would be able to get in a classroom.”
As a guard on Lafayette’s Division I basketball team, Mower was also able to connect with Kavanaugh about his time on the team in the 1970s.
“Basketball was an extremely popular sport for both students and the local Easton community, and they supported us with a packed Kirby Field House for each and every game,” says Kavanaugh. “Both of my basketball coaches at Lafayette – Tom Davis and Gary Williams – taught me the value of discipline, preparation, and hard work in everything you do. Because of that, I have found myself very well prepared to excel at whatever I have chosen.”
Mower, who also served an internship with the Cornerstone Management talent agency in Bryn Mawr Pa., hopes to play basketball in Europe for a year while getting his master’s degree.
“I feel fortunate to go to a school like Lafayette that has dedicated alumni who provide internships that prepare students with work experience and help us achieve our goals after graduation,” Mower says. “My internship has helped me improve my writing skills and learn how to work in a group to solve problems with a consensus.”
“Since arriving in D.C. this past June, I’ve realized that it’s definitely the place I want to be,” she says. “I am especially grateful to Lafayette’s [Office of] Career Services and our dedicated alumni for giving me the opportunity to explore my career options and gain in-depth real-world experience.”