By Libby Schauer
It was through a 360-mile trip and casual conversations that I found solace and hope that my time here at UW- Eau Claire will not have been in vain. Job shadowing Bob Meyer in Madison at the capital was an experience I will never forget. I saw right before my eyes the tangible proof that a college degree of political science with public relations as a minor can find work and provide success.
Bob Meyer is a legislative staff member for Wisconsin Representative Dana Wachs. For those who may not know, Wachs represents the 91st assembly district, which is our very own Eau Claire district. When I walked into the office, I was immediately impressed with the amount of artwork and memorabilia showcasing Eau Claire. Pictures of the bridge behind Davies Center on our campus and coffee mugs with “Eau Claire” written on them were just a few of the shout-outs to the city Wachs (and Meyer) work for.
Meyer and I sat down at his desk, and after some brief chat about our mornings, began the interviewing process of the job shadow. He told me he grew up in the Eau Claire area, attending Regis for high school and later graduating from UW- La Crosse with the same exact undergraduate degree that I am pursuing. The path that took him to where we were that day in Madison was not all cut and dried, however.
The fall semester of his sophomore year of college (2000) he interned with Ron Kind. From that stemmed a job offer with the Kind campaign for the governor’s race after Meyer’s graduation in May of 2002. After that, he worked as a delivery driver. After that, he worked as a Democratic Party field organizer. After that he lobbied for the American Cancer Society. After that he worked on the Scott Walker recall election. And after that he got out of politics completely and found a job working in IT, but that wasn’t enough. The 2012 presidential race proved a powerful enough lure to bring Meyers back into the political sphere, and in 2013 he began working for Wachs in Madison.
He told me he spent the majority of his time after graduation hitting the streets, helping out other campaigns, going door-to-door, making phone calls, setting up events and researching. That is the spirit of 20-something-year olds, isn’t it?
His advice to me was to always ask questions, be informed, and get involved through campaigns. Networking is key, and so is knowing the right people, which is how I was introduced to Meyer in the first place—thank you to Dr. Geoff Peterson for helping facilitate this!
This job shadow provided me with the courage to proudly tell those who ask that I am a political science major and I want to try and change the world for the better.