The saying goes that, no matter where a Centre alum ends up after graduation, it’s likely that another Centre alum isn’t too far away. This is particularly evident in Washington, D.C., where numerous Centre alums work in politics on Capitol Hill. This story is the second in a series about young alums who find themselves in the nation’s capital—sometimes even working together, in the case of Jay Eberle ’07 and Mary Jane Saunier ’07.
The two alums work for Wyoming Senator and Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee John Barrasso, M.D., Eberle as a legislative aide and Saunier as director of special projects. Both have long had an enthusiasm for working on Capitol Hill.
“I have been interested in public policy and politics for many years. Prior to my current position, I had the honor of working for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as a staff assistant and legislative correspondent, which helped me confirm my true passion for public service,” Saunier says. “When I found out about the opening of what is now my position, I was thrilled by the opportunity to attain more skills in the public policy arena.”
Eberle also made his start in D.C. with McConnell.
“I actually got my first internship in Washington with Senator McConnell through a Centre connection, and Kimberly Levernier ’02 hired me for my first job on the hill with Senator Jim Bunning,” Eberle says.
Saunier enjoys the many opportunities that present themselves through working in Washington, D.C.
“I would say the most exciting or rewarding aspect of my job is getting to assist in serving constituents, by way of working closely with—and learning from—such influential, intelligent individuals every single day,” Saunier says. “Capitol Hill is a fast-paced, exciting place to be and it’s a true honor to work here.”
Eberle and Saunier have found many Centre connections during their time at the capital.
“During my time in D.C., I have had the chance to interact with many Centre alumni who have been invaluable in helping my professional development,” Eberle says. “Who would have thought that two Centre grads would both be working for the same senator from Wyoming?”
“It is always nice to see fellow Colonels,” Saunier agrees. “Running into folks from Centre on the Hill is not rare at all. It’s a small, small Centre world!”
Along with the alumni network, Eberle and Saunier also appreciate how their time at Centre readied them for careers as public servants.
“There is no doubt that Centre’s academic rigor helped prepare me for my current position,” Eberle says. “The writing and critical thinking skills that I learned from professors such as Mike Hamm, Donna Plummer, Dan Stroup and Clarence Wyatt prepared me well for working on the Hill.”
Saunier has found what she learned at Centre, academically and otherwise, important to what she does.
“My experiences at Centre absolutely helped to prepare me for my current position,” she says. “Not only from what I learned in the classroom—I often think about Dr. Wyatt’s explanation of the importance of being a good writer in the ‘real world’; he was so right!—but also from what I learned outside the classroom. Specifically, my experiences with the Student Government Association and Resident Life Staff helped prepare me in a variety of ways to get where I am today.”