he word interview does not truly capture what I entered on that Monday, but rather a meeting of friends.

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, member of the United States House of Represe...

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English: Congressman Jim Saxton of New Jersey;...

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Chris Myers (New Jersey)

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English: US Congressman Jim Saxton (R - New Je...

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Elise's 1st Birthday

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Lotus Elise 111s Setup

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Portrait of a stranger - Elise Greenway
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It is hard to pick an occupation that I am certain that I would want to develop into once I graduate college.  Looking 2 years into the future, and seeing uncertainty in its place is petrifying.  By exploring different options through experience and networking, I am going to better make an educated decision once I am at that point in my life.  Using the informational interview as another tool in order to better make the decision once it arrives, I decided to interview Elise Aronson, Chief of Staff for Congressman Jim Saxton.  Elise and I worked together to plan an event for the Congressman at the home of my boss, John Milne in mid June.  Planning the event for three weeks, I became very close with Elise through e-mails and phone calls, but had never met her until the night of the event.  After working with her for three weeks, I knew that she took care of what she said she would, and was a hard worker.  Once I met her, I saw that not only did she posses’ hard-working skills, she also was a beautiful, confident, young accomplished woman.  She carried herself in a way that demanded a room’s attention, and automatically drew you in.  So while a Chief of Staff position may not be where you see Megan Moran after I graduate from Elon University, I do hope to acquire the sense of confidence that Elise Aronson comes across with.

After working with Elise, I asked a superior if it would be alright to ask Elise to perform my information interview with, and after receiving the word that it would a great idea, Elise agreed.  Since Elise works for Congressman Jim Saxton, we scheduled the interview for the week of break, so that she would have enough time to sit down and talk.  The word interview does not truly capture what I entered on that Monday, but rather a meeting of friends.  Elise asked me as many questions as I asked her, because she was just as interested in getting to know me, as I was in getting to know her.  The meeting lasted for about an hour, and I left feeling as if I had made a new friend.

Elise Aronson is 33 years old, and graduated from American University.  Growing up around Pittsburg, she wanted to stay close to family (2 younger brothers, just like me).  While attending American University, she both interned in Washington during the summer, and studied abroad to Brussels her senior year.  While interning in Washington one summer, she also carried two jobs on the side, one during evenings at a prominent law firm, and the other as a waitress on the weekend.  Having the experience of an internship in the United States under her belt, she took that experience and applied it abroad where she found herself interning at the American Embassy to the EU in Brussels working in the trade sector.

After graduation, Elise used her experience working in the law firm, and using her experience from Europe, Elise thought that she wanted to go into trade agreements and finance.  Getting advice from a friend, she was told that within Congress there are subcommittees, and there is one on Trade, so she should look into getting a job there, where she might be able to move up.  Following that advice, she went on to work as a legislative assistant to the Trade subcommittee.  After a few months there, she decided to look to work for an individual Representative or Senator.  She decided that she would look on both aisles, and find whatever open door she could.  She heard about an opening with Buck McKeon (R-CA), who worked with National Security and Healthcare.  And while she had no interest in either one of these fields, Elise decided to go through the open door, and grab it while she could. Working with Congressman McKeon on the National Security and Healthcare platform, Elise focused on the Healthcare side of things.  While she was not from California, she enjoyed working for Congressman McKeon, because of his great energy and determined work ethic.  Deciding that this was not where she wanted to stay forever, Elise sent out hundreds of resumes and went on tens of interviews a week, which continued for a few months.  Whether it was not the right fit, or she didn’t get the job, Elise kept an open mind and kept going.  Finally when a job opened up in the office of Congressman Jim Saxton, the representative of her home state, and who also had a strong platform on Healthcare and could use her expertise, Elise and Congressman Jim Saxton started working together, and Elise started out as a Legislative Director, and moved up to be where she is today, as the Congressman’s Chief of Staff, and has been his reigning Chief of Staff for the past 7 years.  Elise also married close to 3 years ago, and holds a happy marriage’s residence right outside Washington, in Arlington Virginia.

I learned a lot from Elise, and the career path that she chose.  I learned to always keep an open mind, and just because we may want to set in motion a plan, life does not always follow that plan, and we should always go with what seems to be the best decision for us at the time.  Also, a large amount of time was put into discussing the possibility of a graduate degree, due to the fact that Elise does not have one.  Elise said that she would love to have one, but does not know when she would have had time to complete her masters.  She is thinking about going on to complete her masters later on, as when her time is up, or if Congressman Saxton retires, with his career in politics, goes Elise’s.  And while this decision is not final, because as she taught me, it is always important to keep an open mind, she did say she plans to go back to school.  She also gave me some interesting advice regarding graduate school, because she said that she thought it would be important to take a year off and work and realize why it is that you are going to school, and to go back to school and have experience under your belt that you can apply to the different things that you are learning while in school.  This is advice that means a lot, and makes a lot of sense, but whether or not I follow it, will be all up to the future.  Elise also said that to work with people that you believe in, is a large must when you are working.  If you are not working for someone who you think is doing a great job, you are not going to do the best job that you are able to do.

I am glad that I had the chance to talk to Elise, and meet with such an accomplished young woman, a real role model.  I hope that one day, I am able to influence someone as much as Elise has mentored and influence many of the decisions that I will go on to make in the future.

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