Few things could be more exciting during an election year than working directly for someone on the presidential ticket. Kevin Seifert, a 2006 alumnus of the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES), is doing just that. As the congressional campaign manager and communications director for vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in the Janesville, Wisconsin office, Seifert is on the front line of the American political system during a pivotal campaign.
My time at The Fund for American Studies was instrumental in my deciding to go into public service,” said the Wisconsin native and Marquette University graduate. “I was able to hear so many great ideas, meet many insightful people, and have so many interesting experiences; it confirmed that working in Washington, D.C. was what I wanted to do when I graduated.”
Seifert did exactly that, getting his start on Capitol Hill as a caseworker and legislative assistant for Rep. Tom Petri, and later, serving as Ryan’s press secretary and staff assistant, aiding the congressman with speech and op-ed writing and preparing Ryan for interviews and public appearances.
“The Fund for American Studies helped shape my political philosophy by exposing me to new thinkers and theories,” said Seifert. “This desire to seek out knowledge and think critically is certainly something that has stuck with me as I’ve gone on to work in government and politics.”
According to Seifert, his best TFAS memories were of the camaraderie shared between all those who made the summer possible. “It may sound mundane given all the professional and academic experiences I had that summer, but the best part was talking with my roommates and peers about issues of the day and what we were all experiencing,” he said. “The people make the program – from the students to the internship sponsors, from Professor Viksnins to President Roger Ream.”
Despite Seifert’s busy workload with Ryan, he has found many ways to stay involved with TFAS. “I’ve been a TFAS mentor for two years, in 2009 and 2010, where I got to help a couple of really impressive students share in the experiences I enjoyed.”
In 2011 Seifert was chosen to take part in the TFAS Public Policy Fellows program. “Throughout the year I made friendships that will stay with me for decades. Five years after attending ICPES, to be able to rekindle a lot of those fond times and again explore political, philosophical and historical ideas with such a diverse group of people, was an opportunity I’ll always be thankful for.”
As a student Seifert double majored in political science and economics, but politics is far from his only interest. Seifert has logged more than 75 scuba dives and, true to his Wisconsin roots, is a diehard Green Bay Packers fan.
In the fall of 2015, Seifert continued his public service and was promoted to executive director on Team Ryan. In 2017, he, along with his coworkers, was selected for the number one spot in Politico’s Power Playbook for his work on the new administration.