When I applied to be a Fellows Ambassador at the Institute of Politics, I never imagined myself at lunch at Giordano’s with Beth Myers – senior strategist for Mitt Romney’s recent bid for the presidency – sharing her first Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. We talked about Karl Rove, the growing expense of campaigns, and why Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential bid. By the end of my time as a Fellows Ambassador, I gained a prominent figure as a mentor, and I even convinced her to try the unconventional combination of ingredients that I enjoy on pizza – mushrooms, pineapple, and bacon.
The new Institute of Politics (IOP) opened the opportunity to me to be a Fellows Ambassador to Beth Myers as a part of their new program, which brings political figures to campus to work and interact with students. As her ambassador, I took her around campus and the city, organized her schedule, and moderated the discussion groups that she led for students. I was basically her best friend for the week (or at least I like to think of it that way).
My co-ambassador first-year Katie Oliver and I met Myers after she arrived on campus, and we greeted her with big smiles and a giant UChicago binder filled with her itinerary for the week, our emails and phone numbers, and information on everything she could ever want to know about the University. That night we joined her for dinner at Piccolo Sogno with IOP Director David Axelrod, Executive Director Darren Reisburg, and Axelrod's other Fellows Ambassadors. There were plenty of Italian appetizers and interesting conversations to go around, and I was excited when David Axelrod even ordered the same meal as I did ("I'll also have the salmon, please.").
Later in the week I introduced Myers at two student discussion groups, where she talked with them on topics of her choosing, such as the role of religion in the 2012 presidential campaign. Then I attended the panel events that she participated in, including "Campaign Strategists Reflect" and "Inside the Debates," both hosted on the UChicago campus. Katie and I also had some fun, taking Myers and her consulting partner Peter Flaherty (senior strategist for the Romney campaign) to see a main-stage show at Second City. I greatly enjoyed watching the Second City comedians poke fun at our country's politics while sitting beside the brains of the Romney campaign. Those comedians had no idea that the people they were satirizing on stage were watching in the audience.