This is part one of an upcoming series on TFAS alumni working on the 2016 election. If you are, or know of, an alumnus working, reporting on or volunteering with an 2016 campaign, please send your update to alumni@TFAS.org.
Whether it’s a nationally televised debate, or a friendly debate between acquaintances taking place on your Facebook news feed, it’s clear the 2016 primaries are right around the corner. America is in full swing election season, with less than one year from making a big decision on who will become our next president.
TFAS alumni are at the forefront of these decisions as influencers and researchers. From top reporters in the media, to research pollsters and even volunteers, TFAS alumni play a huge part in helping America decide its future.
One TFAS alumnus, Chris Wilson (ICPES 90), is leading the way in public opinion research and research-based strategic consulting for presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
With more than 20 years experience in polling and research, Wilson knows his work is making an impact on America’s future.
“When you’re trying to elect the next president of the United States, every part of it is rewarding, and it’s making a difference,” Wilson said. “It’s sounds cliché but it’s real, and what we’re doing here matters.”
Wilson serves as the director of research, analytics and digital strategy for Cruz for President. There, he oversees all polling, data analytics, modeling and digital strategy for the campaign.
Like many TFAS alumni, Wilson got his career start through his studies in economics and his time as a TFAS student.
Wilson attributes his economics professor at The University of Oklahoma, Dr. Carr, with introducing him to TFAS, where his love for the subject grew, and he learned he could make a career of it.
“When I was at TFAS with their professors teaching about economics, it really took everything to an entirely different level,” said Wilson.
As a TFAS student, Wilson interned with Morton Blackwell and his group called the Conservative Leadership PAC.
During his internship, Wilson worked with political campaigns across the country encouraging the hiring of youth coordinators and implementation of youth campaigns on college campuses. This experience allowed him to begin the process that led to his current career and role on the Cruz campaign: the utilization of math and the analysis of voter data files to win elections. Wilson’s opportunities at his internship continued through the fall when he was asked to stay on staff through the election season.
Wilson credits his time and ongoing relationship with TFAS as something that has significantly shaped his career.
“Everyone involved with the organization has been supportive as I’ve grown in what I do,” Wilson said. “But also being exposed to the teachers when I was at TFAS was a remarkable experience.”
Today, Wilson gives back to TFAS as a generous supporter, volunteer on the TFAS Board of Regents and as guest speaker. He spoke at the 2014 Leadership Conference in Naples, Florida about his findings from the 2014 elections and served as a member of the Alumni Council.
“I have no question that I would not be doing what I am today without having that opportunity,” said Wilson. “Which is why I feel it’s so important to give back.”
Are you an alumnus working, reporting or volunteering with a 2016 election campaign? Send your alumni updates to alumni@TFAS.org.