Student spotlight: Ashley Kirkpatrick, 2017 Press Intern for Senator Chuck Grassley

Ashley Kirkpatrick, junior in advertising, has had a diverse set of internship experience during her time as a Greenlee student. Kirkpatrick’s interest in politics helped her land a position as press intern for Senator Charles Grassley last summer. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a career in account management.

What were some of your key responsibilities as press intern for Senator Chuck Grassley?

I was Senator Grassley’s press intern, so my daily duties included attending every single interview with him, whether it was over the phone, for radio, television or a press conference. A lot of what we did were tasks for his assistant press secretary. We would send a media advisory daily, debriefing his entire staff and then his judiciary committee staff (he’s chairman of the judiciary committee) on every single television and newspaper clip he was in. We also sent out recaps of what he mentioned in his interviews and a lot of different things that weren’t published anywhere.

What was exciting about this internship?

I got to meet with a lot of very high-profile people. I saw Jared Kushner, I saw Mike Pence tie a vote in the senate and I went to a speech that Congressman Paul Ryan was giving. I met with a lot of other senators during meet-and-greets with constituents and the general public.

How did you gain an interest in politics?

Growing up, politics was always a hot topic in my family. My grandparents and parents are all very politically involved. It’s something that I always took interest in, and I always took the time to educate myself. When I got to Iowa State, I took Advertising 230 my first semester here with Jay Newell. He sent out an email to the whole class asking if anyone would want to work on a caucus advertising data project with him. So I was like, "Okay, I feel like I have to take this opportunity, I enjoy politics and I kind of wanted an in with the professor since I’m a freshman." So I worked on the project with him, and it got published in the Des Moines Register. It was a lot of data, but it also included a lot of advertising statistics.

What type of career do you hope to pursue after you graduate?

This summer, I’ll be moving to Austin, Texas, to intern for a tech company, where I will be a branding and account management intern. I’m very interested in account management. I think my best skill is building and maintaining relationships, so definitely something in that role would be great. My dream job would probably be a director of branding or account management for an airline.

Are you involved in any Greenlee clubs/organizations?

I was vice president of Cardinal and Gold last year.

What is the best part of being a Greenlee student?

Before coming to Greenlee, I was a business major, and I just felt it didn’t have the personability that I was looking for. I graduated with 48 kids in my class, so I’m used to a very tight-knit community of people around me. I made that instant connection with Jay, like I said, and I could name tons of other professors whom I’ve sought out for career advice or educational advice. I’m being very sincere when I say that they are all wonderful.

Interview by Molly Olson; edited for length and clarity.