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Sources: Robert Swift, robertdanielswift@gmail.com;
Wayne Stoskopf, stoskopf@gmail.com;
and Tyler York, t.j.york86@gmail.com
Photos available. Contact media@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Tyler Sharp, 785-532-2535, media@k-state.edu

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

FROM HOME ON THE RANGE TO LIFE ON CAPITOL HILL: THREE RECENT GRADS NOW CONGRESSIONAL STAFF MEMBERS

MANHATTAN -- Electing a congressional delegation with four new members wasn't the only thing Kansas voters did in the November 2010 elections. They also gave a career boost to three recent Kansas State University graduates.

Robert Swift, a May 2010 graduate in political science, formerly of Lindsborg, is a legislative correspondent and the intern coordinator for Rep. Kevin Yoder, the new congressman from the state's 3rd Congressional District. Swift manages constituent correspondence, the intern program and an assortment of other responsibilities. He appreciates the high-paced atmosphere of Capitol Hill.

"There's a great challenge in having to keep up to date with the legislative process and always be on top of what is happening throughout the government," he said. "I like coming into work every day knowing that there will be something new."

Swift met Yoder prior to the 2010 Kansas legislative session. Yoder, who was as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives and chair of its Appropriations Committee at the time, had announced his candidacy for the 3rd District seat. Swift began volunteering in Yoder's office during the legislative session, and when the session ended he transitioned into a member of Yoder's campaign team, managing grassroots operations.

Swift credits an internship with U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and political science course work at K-State as great preparation for his work with Yoder. His involvement with K-State’s Student Governing Association gave him additional insight on government.

"My experience in the Student Governing Association taught me a lot of skills I couldn’t learn in a classroom and has made me more effective in my work," he said.

Wayne Stoskopf, a May 2010 graduate in agribusiness, formerly of Hoisington, also took advantage of internships. Stoskopf served as an intern in summer 2009 for Jerry Moran, then the state's 1st District congressman. During Moran's campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Stoskopf was a field director in central Kansas. He has since transitioned into a new role as a staff assistant for Rep. Lynn Jenkins, who represents Kansas' 2nd District. In addition to constituent services, Stoskopf advises Jenkins on agricultural policy. This role is especially important given that Jenkins is a member of the House trade subcommittee.

"It allows her to be a strong advocate for Kansas agriculture," Stoskopf said. "I'm excited about continuing to assist her as she works to open more trade markets for agriculture producers. As a K-State College of Agriculture graduate, this is a perfect fit for me."

He also credits leadership experiences at K-State as good preparation for working in Washington, D.C. Stoskopf was active in the Student Governing Association, serving as student body vice president in 2009-2010. He also was a member of Blue Key, the senior leadership honorary, and other student organizations.

"My interactions with K-State administration and faculty developed my skill set and the knowledge base that I use constantly," he said.

Tyler York, a May 2010 graduate in horticulture, formerly of Ashland, was the field director in southwestern Kansas for Moran's senate campaign and now works for the senator as a staff assistant. While studying plant science at first doesn’t seem to overlap with politics, York believes K-State's horticulture program does well in preparing students for communicating with clients. Communicating with fellow Kansans is York's favorite part of his job.

"Although I'm halfway across the country from the place I call home, I'm surrounded by Kansas colleagues and visitors every day, so it still feels a lot like home," he said. "This is coming from a rural southwest Kansas farm boy."

York offers simple advice for those interested in working in Congress.

"Wear a smile and work hard," he said. "Find something in your life that will motivate you to work harder and smarter every single day in order to achieve your goal."