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A Passion for Politics: Tyler Cianciotti ’18

Aug 15, 2017


student in front of us capitolAn internship is an excellent way for students to gain hands-on experience in a professional setting and to lay the foundation for a career. Just ask Randolph-Macon College student Tyler Cianciotti '18. A political science and history major, Cianciotti recently participated in her third internship—this time for Congressman Rob Wittman, the U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 1st Congressional District.

Different Perspectives
In Wittman's Washington, D.C. office, Cianciotti's days as an intern were busy. She maintained correspondence with Wittman's constituents; answered phone calls; drafted form letters; attended briefings and committee hearings; and led constituents on tours of the Capitol.

"Hearing from constituents exposed me to different perspectives about various issues," says Cianciotti. "Experiencing the legislative process is something I found extremely enriching. Not everyone gets the opportunity to be at the forefront of the nation's policymaking. Having the privilege to be a part of Team Wittman this summer was something that I will be forever grateful for."

Networking + Professional Skills
Cianciotti, a member of R-MC's Delta Zeta sorority, College Republicans, and Political Science Student Association, interned in 2016 with Virginia Delegate Christopher Peace, the representative for Virginia's 97th District.

"Shortly after that internship ended, Delegate Peace's chief of staff connected me with U.S. Representative Tom Garrett's (VA-5) campaign, and I interned in his Washington, D.C. office during January Term (J-term) 2017," she explains.

Cianciotti recently began a fourth internship—this time for HSP Direct, a political direct-mail fundraising agency in Ashburn, Virginia. In HSP's Account Management department, Cianciotti drafts contracts for new clients, updates the 2017 company budget for 59 active clients, and works on numerous projects with the goal of cultivating a better agency experience for the company's clients and contacts.

Randolph-Macon's ideal location close to Richmond and Washington, D.C. make these types of internships and other opportunities possible. Cianciotti says that internships are key to helping students gain real-world perspectives on the world of work.

"In addition to helping students develop their networking and professional skills, internships help prepare you for life after college," she says. "My internships have been instrumental in helping me find the positions within my career path that I am most passionate about. After I graduate from Randolph-Macon, I hope to move to Washington, D.C. and work on Capitol Hill."

Faculty Mentorship
Cianciotti's internship with Congressman Wittman was facilitated by R-MC Political Science Professor Elliott Fullmer.

"Tyler needed very little assistance—she had developed her own political contacts in both Virginia and D.C., which continue to yield positive results," says Fullmer. "Her enthusiasm, humility, and eagerness to learn are among her many laudable qualities. She continues to earn internship opportunities because her employers always find her to be such an asset in their offices. She is a quick learner who communicates well, is willing to ask questions and has a top-notch work ethic. I have no doubt that she'll succeed in her goals!"

Fullmer meets regularly with Cianciotti to discuss courses, internships, and the job market.

"I try to stress the value of internships to all of my advisees and students, as I believe it is the best way to prepare for the job market," he says. "Internships help students identify their specific interests, develop contacts and gain experience."