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TFAS Opens Doors To Careers

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The beginning of any career is tough. Many young professionals struggle with finding their niche while others have a hard time excelling in the work place that is already filled with seasoned professionals.

However, the following alumni used their connections to guide them down the right career path. It also didn’t hurt to have a few familiar faces at their new places of business, too!

These alumni turned to old classmates and previous intern sponsors, thus taking advantage of the TFAS alumni network.

At age 22, James Kotecki (E 05) was fresh out of Georgetown University and eager to remain active in politics via his video blog.

What began as a dorm room video show about politics has now turned into a full-fledged occupation as he produces, writes and hosts the daily show KoteckiTV on www.Politico.com.

Within three months of beginning KoteckiTV, James had the opportunity to host Congressman Ron Paul in the first-ever dorm room interview with a Presidential candidate. He went on to interview a total of six Presidential candidates including Senator John Edwards, Senator Chris Dodd and Governor Mike Huckabee.

While Kotecki began making YouTube videos as recently as January of 2007 with a focus on how presidential candidates should be using YouTube to communicate to voters, his interest in politics has been long-standing.

Prior to his work at Politico, Kotecki was an intern at the Republican National Committee during his time in ICPES in 2005. Of his time with The Fund Kotecki says, “The best thing about ICPES was, of course, the people I met.”

The connections he made at TFAS still play a part in his daily life, as he works with fellow alumna Sara D’Angelo (J 04) who is a media coordinator at Politico. He also had the chance to catch up with former ICPES Program Advisor and former staff member Lauren Crawford (E 04) while they were both on the campaign trail in Iowa.

(r.) Loren Streit (B 05), seen here with (from left) Chairman Randy Teague and donors Frank and Kathleen Lauinger, used her TFAS internship connections to start her career in D.C.
(r.) Loren Streit (B 05), seen here with (from left) Chairman Randy Teague and donors Frank and Kathleen Lauinger, used her TFAS internship connections to start her career in D.C.

Fellow 2005 alum Loren Streit (B 05) was also influenced by the political world of D.C. while at TFAS and used the connections from her internship to help her get back into the nation’s capital.

After graduating from IBGA in the summer of 2005, Streit began working for a notable public relations firm in her hometown of Dallas, Texas – however she knew she wanted more and knew she wanted to be back in D.C.

Hoping to gain advice from an accomplished Washingtonian, she contacted the man she interned for while attending her TFAS program, former Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.).

Nickles suggested that Streit move to D.C. to begin her job hunt and helped to point her in the right direction.

Now, Streit has a unique opportunity to witness the inner workings of the Republican Party from her position in the Senate Republican Cloakroom. Through her position, Streit advises members and staff on parliamentary procedure, helps to facilitate the Republican Leader’s strategy on the floor and keeps members updated on floor actions.

“I think I was in the right place at the right time,” Streit said about her time with TFAS and her internship at The Nickles Group. “I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. As Senator Nickles put it, ‘I caught the D.C. fever.’”

Another alumnus who believes that he was “in the right place at the right time” is Will Tomlinson (J 97).

As a producer for a number of different shows at ESPNews, Tomlinson is responsible for organizing and presenting stories and highlights from the world of sports to a broad audience.

He attributes his organizational skills and ability to find an interesting story to his time with the Institute on Political Journalism when he interned at the American Spectator.

Tomlinson says that it was at the American Spectator where he learned how to report “in such a manner as to go beneath the surface to dig up why the topic is important.”

In addition, he has said that his time with IPJ gave him a broader view of Washington in a way that he had not seen before, while it also gave him better insight into how life ‘Inside the Beltway’ works.

“I worked with talented professionals who are close friends to this day – Steve Hayes (A 94), who has gone on to be an important journalist with The Weekly Standard and classmate Carrie Connor Hayes (J 97, A 98), who as a CNN producer helped me immensely to adapt to life at the network.” [Tomlinson previously worked at CNN].

Tomlinson, who is also a member of the Alumni Council, says that he has remained involved with TFAS because of the relationships he was able to form and because of his “belief in the importance of IPJ and The Fund on young people and the future of our country.”

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