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Strategic Political Communication

Program Overview

You will gain the skills to communicate effectively within and through a complex media environment, enabling you to pursue a career in advocacy, political campaigns, government relations, and related fields.

You can be a spokesperson, speechwriter or staff member for a political candidate, government official, or work in communications for state, local, or national government. You can work for nonprofit associations; political parties and action committees; digital and print communication organizations; and political consultants. You can lay the groundwork for continuing your education in public administration, business, or law.

Strategic Political Communication Faculty

Assistant Professor Jennifer Glover Konfrst, APR, leads the Strategic Political Communication program. Prior to joining the SJMC faculty, Konfrst worked in public relations for 20 years, most recently at Iowa Public Television, where she led the network’s brand strategy, cross-platform promotion, media relations, and crisis communication. She started her professional career by working on a U.S. Senate re-election campaign.

Assistant Professor Matthew Thornton, Ph.D., brings professional experience in government relations and an interest in political communication to the classroom.

Kelly Bruhn, Ph.D., APR, associate professor, teaches courses in public relations copywriting, collateral materials and research. Bringing years of public relations agency experience into the classroom, Everling creates real-world situations that prepare her students for top internships and positions globally.

Interdisciplinary courses are taught by expert faculty in politics and rhetoric.

Strategic Political Communication Organizations

The award-winning campus chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is affiliated with the central Iowa professional chapter of PRSA.  There is a nationally recognized chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Students also can work on the award-winning campus publications: The Times-Delphic, Drake Magazine, The Annual, and Drake Broadcasting System radio and TV stations. SJMC students frequently do communications work for University Communications and Drake Athletics, and are active in student government and residence life.

Strategic Political Communication Internships

Drake is perfectly positioned to give you maximum experience and exposure to political communication in action. You can take advantage of myriad opportunities for on-the-ground learning provided by life in a capital city, the political climate of a consistent swing state in national elections, and the unique impact the Iowa Caucuses have on all races in Iowa.

Every four years, the eyes of the world are on Iowa as the presidential campaign kicks off here, and SJMC students have a front row seat as interns for political parties and candidates, media organizations, and documentary filmmakers.

We’ll also help you identify internships in the Des Moines market that can jump-start your career while you’re still a student. Drake SJMC students have interned with the governor’s office, the State of Iowa, state and local governments, Iowa Senate Republicans, the Iowa Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Dallas Court-Appointed Special Advocates, the Animal Rescue League, and numerous presidential and congressional campaigns.

With our own internship coordinator, we’ll help you find the right job.

Strategic Political Communications Notable Alums

SJMC graduates work or have worked on the staffs of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, and the communications director for the U.S. House of Representatives, for the National Journal and Washington Post, in public relations for the Omaha and Des Moines public schools and the Texas Medical Board, on the staffs of Iowa Gov. Chet Culver and first lady Michelle Obama, in government relations for Meredith Corporation, and for LinkStrategies political consultants, among others.