Braving Capitol HillPosted by Paula Paine on April 29, 2014 in "Your OU" Ottawa Brave Will Allison has taken his career to the "Home of the Brave” capitol, Washington D.C., and is actively making a difference in the decisions that affect millions of Americans every day. A 2009 graduate of The College, Allison serves as press secretary for House Budget Committee and Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Following graduation, Allison was initially interested in and planned to work in sports journalism; however, the great attention and the changes that came with the 2008 presidential election coupled with the courses Allison took at OU changed his interest towards working in politics. He actually sees several similarities between the two areas. “Both industries are very competitive and require a large amount of discipline and hard work in order to be successful,” says Allison. “It's a true honor to work on Capitol Hill.”
As a press secretary, Allison works closely with many senators and other politicians, setting up debates, advising them on issues related to the press and public image, serving as a spokesperson, and assisting as needed in the decision making process that pervades Capitol Hill. “My most important task is doing whatever I can to help Chairman Ryan achieve his goals,” says Allison.
While he enjoys his job and finds it very rewarding, Allison acknowledges that what he does also comes with a lot of responsibility and pressure that has increased over time. Like many people who work in politics, Allison paid his dues by taking unpaid internships during and after college. He explains that the work he had to do leading up to his current job was not always fun or easy, but by gaining experience and working with different people, he was gradually given more responsibilities that served as important career stepping stones.
The field of communications in which Allison works involves textbook and academic knowledge, as well as firsthand experience in a working communications environment. He says that Ottawa University provided him with expertise in both of these areas.
“A small school like Ottawa gives students the chance to participate in hands-on activities and gives them the working knowledge to easily transition to the professional world,” he says. For Allison, those activities included working on The Campus newspaper and the University’s radio station, KTJO, while a student at OU.
Allison says that his proudest accomplishment and memory of working on Capitol Hill to date is being involved in the negotiations that eventually ended the recent government shutdown in October of 2013. “In divided government, it's always a proud moment when you can find common ground with the other party,” Allison said. “ In this line of work, it is important to remember that there will always be someone smarter than you, but you have to continue to work hard and stay humble. The combination of hard work, patience, and a little bit of luck can bring a career of success and enjoyment to anyone.”
Recent Alumni Award
Will Allison is an example of the type of young alumnus that Ottawa University recognizes with its Recent Alumni Award during Homecoming’s Alumni Awards Banquet. Initiated in 2013, the inaugural award was presented to Nick Scott ‘05. To qualify for the award, alumni must be 10 years or fewer past graduation, have attained a significant level of achievement and potential for accomplishment, and exhibit one or more of the following criteria: meeting significant challenges; service to community, church and others; and/or significant alumni participation and support. If you would like to nominate someone for this award, you may download a nomination form here.