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From the Berkshire Hills to Capitol Hill

05/20/15

Chloe McGrath ’13 took a step closer this month to her dream of becoming a Congressional policy analyst when she began an internship with Franklin Partnership, as part of their research team.

It’s the third internship she’s served in Washington, D.C., since she arrived there last spring for graduate school.

Previous positions include working with public affairs firm Hamilton Place Strategies, where McGrath was part of their news cycle management team. There, she monitored news and legislation for clients, which evolved into analysis reports.

C:\fakepath\Chloe McGrath2 crop.jpgMcGrath next worked for Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA), a non-profit alliance of 24 members who implement economic growth projects around the world, where she served as a communications/business development intern.

“If it weren't for MCLA I wouldn’t be here in D.C. doing all of this,” McGrath said. “This was a dream for a long time, and it feels so incredible that it’s now a reality. From seeing the White House daily or listening in on renowned speakers, there is so much here.”

Just as she took advantage of opportunities available to her at MCLA, McGrath is seizing the moment in D.C. “MCLA prepared me for this in many ways: inside and outside of the classroom.”

At Franklin Partnership, McGrath conducts legislative research for clients. This includes tracking Congressional hearings, committee markups and votes, and more. Their clients vary, as do the topics, which include energy, appropriations, taxes, health care and defense.

“I like the unpredictable nature of the job. Things can change quickly on the Hill and we have to respond to that,” McGrath said. “I really love fast-paced environments, so it’s a good fit.”   

At MCLA, McGrath majored in political science and public policy, and minored in history. In Washington, D.C., she’s pursuing her Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree at American University.

Location was important to McGrath when she looked for a graduate program. She wanted to be in the hub of public policy, so that meant Washington, D.C.

“Being here in the thick of it, so to speak, allowed for a huge amount of internship possibilities that wouldn’t be available elsewhere,” she said. “The MPP program aligns perfectly on the track of becoming a policy analyst when I graduate.”

Although McGrath didn’t think of herself as a “numbers” person before coming to MCLA, she gained confidence in that area through the classes she took in macroeconomics, microeconomics and statistics.  At American University, she’s concentrating in public financial management, and will receive a separate certificate for those studies when she graduates next May.

“I just conducted a group cost-benefit analysis last semester, and it’s just great because I never thought I would be capable of doing something like that,” McGrath said.

She is glad she chose MCLA for her undergraduate education.

In addition to working as an intern for State Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, McGrath participated in an academic seminar at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and went to Toronto, Canada, to take part in the North American Model United Nations Conference. She also traveled to Ireland as part of a history travel course.

“I cannot say enough good things about MCLA’s Political Science and History Department,” McGrath said. “They set the bar high and offered a wide variety of classes. My professors really challenged me, and through that, prepared me. I continually pushed myself to improve in any way I could, and it paid off.”