During her junior year at UConn, Meghan Forgione ’09 (CLAS) signed up for a daylong excursion to Hartford organized by the UConn Law Society. The trip—which included a tour of the Connecticut State Capitol and a meeting with then State Representative Denise Merrill—proved to be pivotal in Forgione’s career trajectory.
“When we were leaving the capitol building, I said to myself, ‘I want to come back here,’” recalls Forgione, who graduated with a major in English and minor in political science. “I called Denise Merrill’s office and asked if they had any internships, and that summer I campaigned for her when she was running to become the majority leader of the house.”
This formative internship experience inspired Forgione to pursue a career in political strategy and outreach—one that has led to her current position as Executive Assistant for Scheduling and Outreach at the Hartford office of U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. Now she hopes to encourage current UConn students find their own professional development opportunities as an alumni volunteer with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“It is so valuable for students to have alumni come back and talk about what they did with their degree,” she says.
During her time at UConn, Forgione was passionate about her English major but unsure about her career prospects. Now with several years of work experience under her belt, she wants to build students’ confidence in the value of their liberal arts education in the workplace.
“An English degree provides structure for writing effectively, solving problems, thinking critically, and being able to write in other people’s voices and reflect points of view outside of your own,” she says. “People’s words can be so easily twisted in my line of work, so being able to communicate clearly is very important.”
Since 2012, Forgione has shared these insights with UConn students as a speaker and participant in networking events, career panels, and professional development seminars offered through CLAS and the Center for Career Development. She has also provided one-on-one career advice to students interested in working on political campaigns.
“An English degree provides structure for writing effectively, solving problems, thinking critically, and being able to write in other people’s voices and reflect points of view outside of your own.” – Meghan Forgione ’09 (CLAS)
Forgione was initially inspired to volunteer at UConn by an article she read about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s relationship with his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.
“He said something like, “When I first started out, I didn’t have money, but I had time.’ That really resonated with me,” she says. “Getting involved as a young alumna is helpful because you can show students that their career goals are possible. You can also help them realize that they’re probably not going to land their dream job right after graduation, and that is okay because they have to acquire job skills.”
After interning for the summer with State Representative Merrill, Forgione landed another yearlong internship in the offices of then U.S. Representative Chris Murphy. That led to a permanent staff position with Murphy, who in 2012 was elected to the United States Senate.
Six years and several promotions later, Forgione now manages Senator Murphy’s state travel schedule. In 2014, she also managed the campaign of Connecticut State Senator Mae Flexer ’02 (CLAS), who is currently the youngest woman serving in the state Senate.
“That job required me to be a jack of all trades—managing budgets, coordinating volunteers, and developing literature and mailings,” she says. “It required a real attention to detail, which I feel like I got from my English degree.”
Despite her busy schedule during the 2014 campaign season, Forgione made time to deliver a keynote address at the UConn Center for Career Development’s Professional Development Conference. She also served as a resource for students who were interested in campaigning during the election cycle, and put several individuals in contact with internship opportunities.
“One of those students is actually interning in our office right now,” she says. “I’m just happy to be able to help alleviate fear in future generations and, if I can, help people get to wherever they want to go.”
By: Bri Diaz, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences