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 fourth in a series about young alums who find themselves in the nation’s capital working in the government—sometimes even helping each other get settled in the city, as was the case with Kimberly Levernier ’02 and Erica Woodward ’02.
Levernier, an administrative director for Sen. Ron Johnson, and Woodward, an executive assistant and administrative director for Congressman Dennis Cardoza (CA-18), connected in D.C. when Levernier was still in the job-hunting phase.
“When I moved out to D.C., I lived on Erica’s couch for about two weeks until I found an apartment,” Levernier says. “She was one of the friends who encouraged me to move out here, so I don’t think that she minded too much. Erica and Lynn Langton Austell ’02 and I are still really close and frequently meet for dinners.”
Both Centre alums have long had an interest in politics and government, and came into their current positions serendipitously.
“I was already working on the Hill when I became aware of this position through colleagues. I knew it would be a great fit,” Woodward says. “By being in this office, I have been afforded the chance to meet a wide variety of people and have truly enjoyed the opportunity to engage with embassies, offices in the administration and the great constituency base in California.”
“I had always loved D.C., and after the prodding of several close friends, I moved out here,” Levernier says. “I worked for [former Kentucky] Sen. Jim Bunning for five and a half years total before he retired in 2010. I then accepted a position with Sen. Ron Johnson.”
Levernier has learned to expect the unexpected with her job—and appreciates the excitement of working in Washington, D.C.
“I manage the office budget, oversee personnel and basically make sure that the office is running like a finely tuned machine. I enjoy this job because every day is completely different,” she says. “Things change on the Hill in the blink of an eye, so rarely does my day ever turn out like I planned it.”
For Woodward, working on Capitol Hill has afforded many exciting opportunities.
“This role has broadened my knowledge of domestic and international politics and keeps me yearning to strive to learn more,” Woodward says. “Probably some of the most exciting memories have been the Democratic Convention in Denver and the most recent inauguration. Being able to take part in history will always be the most rewarding part of working on the Hill.”
Levernier and Woodward agree that Centre primed them for what they’re doing now.
“Centre definitely prepared me for my current job. I feel that I’m able to tackle any situation that arises and truly think on my feet,” Levernier says. “Having an international relations and Spanish major has given me the background to intelligently discuss and understand the issues that my offices deal with on a daily basis. My various positions in Kappa Alpha Theta not only helped me to understand people and how they think, but also to work with a diverse group to achieve a positive outcome for everyone.”
“Centre prepared me in a multitude of ways—the well-rounded education enabled me to be a fast thinker, a confident interviewer and ready for all situations,” Woodward says. “I can parallel my international relations, government and history classes to my everyday experiences. From Gov 110 to my senior thesis, Centre is relevant in my day-to day-duties. I am grateful for my Centre background and preparation.”
The two are also grateful for the Centre network in Washington, D.C.
“Centre grads are quite lucky: we have an impressive network for both professional and social outlets,” Woodward says. “I am fortunate to have some of my closest friends here that happen to be fellow alums.”
“Having a Centre community in Washington, D.C., has really been an amazing support and has definitely helped keep me close to the school,” Levernier echoes.