My Flyer Story: At home in the statehouse
Last October as my wife, Elaine Laux Dollenmayer ’16, and I stepped off the bus at our wedding reception, we were greeted by a former governor with all the joy and familiarity of a close friend.
My college career was always focused on political science, and the summer before my senior year I participated in UD’s Statehouse Civic Scholars program. Run by former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and Eileen Crotty Austria ’81, the program sends a small group of Flyers to Columbus, Ohio, and places them in internships throughout state government. I interacted with UD alumni in and around the capital and was exposed to a broad range of career choices in government. Eileen taught us to give our personal “elevator speeches” on command. Gov. Taft provided unshaking support and mentoring.
Having interned in Washington, D.C., after my sophomore year, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the smaller scale of state government. In Columbus, I met people committed to their work. State government is intricately connected with its constituents, and the public servants I met often had the chance to see the tangible fruits of their labors. UD had instilled within me commitment to mission-driven work and advancement of the common good, and by the end of the program, I knew I wanted to be in Columbus when I graduated.
I knew I wanted to be in Columbus when I graduated.
My senior year I was asked to help with a state senate campaign. I was directly involved in the decisions of the campaign, and my work was trusted implicitly, which astonished me. It shouldn’t have. A good network and the word of a Flyer goes a long way. It reinforced just how strong of a foundation UD was giving me.
After the campaign victory, Sen. Bob Hackett offered me a position in his office. In May 2016, I accepted my diploma in UD Arena, attended Dayton2Daytona and then started my work at the statehouse. The Columbus alumni chapter became my new community, and the network UD created gave me a leg up in the relationship-driven world of state politics.
I’m currently the legislative liaison for the Ohio Department of Taxation. Without UD, I’m not sure I would have advanced so quickly. The interpersonal skills, network of friends and dedication to mission that UD taught me are used every day in my current role.
Now every summer I help host the newest crop of Statehouse Civic Scholars. UD encourages us to give back, so I try to offer the same chances that so many Flyers graciously offered to me. In addition to my work, I am currently pursuing a law degree in the evenings at Capital University Law School.
UD encourages us to give back, so I try to offer the same chances that so many Flyers graciously offered to me.
UD has given me so much to be thankful for — a strong, ethical foundation, a treasured mentor and friend, a rewarding career, and most importantly, the love of my life, Elaine.