James Van Lare
"Have goals and network. Networking is always one of the most important things you can do while in college, but networking with specific goals in mind will be the key to your success."
Home: Dallas, Texas
UT Dallas Degree: BA - Political Science, 2013
Profession: Political Finance Consultant, The McIntosh Company
Currently, I work as a political finance consultant at The McIntosh Company under one of the top Republican financial consultants in Texas, Alison McIntosh. TMC focuses on raising the necessary capital for Republican clients to run successful campaigns. Our clients include presidential candidates, as well as governors, U.S. senators, congressmen, state representatives, state senators and various other state-wide elected officials.
The Value of My Degree
Earning a political science degree from UT Dallas has allowed me to confidently read complex polling data and have a better understanding of the legislative process, election laws and other complex legal matters relevant to my current work. Studying under professors like Dr. Greg Thielemann challenged me in ways that have directly benefitted my ability to do my job. Dr. Thielemann required his students to work on state campaigns and interact with candidates and their staff. This allowed me to meet several legislators and campaign staff throughout the state, many of whom I now interact with on a daily basis.
My EPPS Success
I graduated Cum Laude and was listed on the Fall 2012 Dean's List. Additionally, I served as the executive director of Students on Service for more than four years. Students on Service is a community service program started by Judge John Payton in 1999 to provide at-risk students who were guilty of truancy or minor offenses the opportunity to overcome adversity while impacting their community in a positive manner. Rather than fining a student's parents, the Student on Service program required court fees and other offenses to be paid back through community service hours. My role included holding weekly meetings, planning a variety of service projects for each weekend, and ensuring that each of our students was making a positive impact on Collin County. This experience was not only rewarding for me personally, but has opened many doors such as the opportunity to serve on a state-wide board for Texas Challenge Academy.
Advice for EPPS Students
Have goals and network. Networking is always one of the most important things you can do while in college, but networking with specific goals in mind will be the key to your success. People like to help others who have a plan and at least a general idea of what they want for their future. Don't simply rely on your close friends and favorite professors, but branch out and expand your network. Talk to people about what it is you want to do and figure out a way to get there. I met my current boss two years ago at a finance meeting in downtown Dallas while working on Rick Perry's presidential campaign. She gave me her card and told me to call her when I graduated. Two years later, I did.
In my free time, I enjoy reading the Bible, traveling, working out and horseback riding, hiking in the mountains and spending time with friends and family.
Posted November 2013