A former UA student and coordinated campaign director for the Kerry presidential campaign spoke to about 50 UA students and staff yesterday about how her political experience at the UA helped jumpstart her political career.
Ana Ma, a former Associated Students at the University of Arizona elections commissioner, discussed the benefits and drawbacks of a career in politics and also encouraged students to vote on Nov. 2.
Ma graduated from the UA in 1991 with a degree in political science and is now Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.
Ma said her work in the political science department as well as her experiences in ASUA prompted her to seek work in the political arena.
She encouraged students interested in a possible political career to take advantage of opportunities to make a difference on campus, calling her time at the UA a "terrific experience."
Ma, who spoke as part of the Faculty Fellows Speaker Series organized by the Dean of Students Office, answered questions about her career both locally and in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as inquiries about the Democratic Party.
Political science freshman Grace Clark asked Ma what she might do to become more politically involved on campus, and Ma told her to remain focused on future goals and to become active in campus organizations.
Magan Alfred, program coordinator for education and outreach for the Dean of Students Office, said she was glad Ma could share her unique experience as an alumna with students.
Alfred said Ma was chosen to speak because she represented the ideal student who is able to take skills learned at the university level and apply them in the real world.
"Ana was perfect (to speak) with both her experience at the UA and ASUA," Alfred said. "She's taken that experience and was able to seamlessly move into the outside world."
Ma's most important point, she said, was making sure students would vote in the upcoming election.
While she made no secret of her loyalty to the Kerry/Edwards campaign, Ma said voter turnout for students is important regardless of the candidate they choose.
"Get out to vote," Ma said. "I don't really care which party. But don't show apathy anymore."