News and Events

Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Ward

October 16, 2017

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Jonathan Ward, Political Science ’10, is off to an impressive professional start as the Confidential Assistant & Executive Aide to Virginia’s Attorney General, Mark Herring. But a career in politics was not always what Jon envisioned.

Jon began his undergraduate career at VCU as a pre-nursing student. During his first semester on campus, however, his longstanding interest in politics—an interest that started at age 14 while volunteering on local campaigns and the Danville Democratic Committee—was reignited by the 2006 elections. Jon followed this passion by declaring Political Science as his major and becoming involved with the Young Democrats for the 2008 and 2009 election cycles. In his junior year, Jon was selected as a Capital Semester student, taking two graduate courses and serving as a legislative intern with the office of Virginia State Senator Janet D. Howell as part of that program. Jon recalls that the professors and opportunities offered through the Political Science Department continually fed and inspired his growing interest in politics. “Every professor was instrumental in my enthusiasm in the program. Professors Aughenbaugh, Condit, Saladino, Graham all helped me find relevance in my degree.”

Following graduation, Jon accepted a commission in the Army to fulfill a lifelong goal of serving in the military. He was stationed out of Ft. Stewart in Georgia after attending Officer Candidate School and the United States Army Field Artillery School and was later deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan for nine months. Jon returned to Virginia after his term of service to refocus his career on public service, though he continues his military service as a member of the Virginia Army National Guard. Upon his return, Jon took a position as a subcommittee clerk for the Virginia Senate, working with subcommittee chairs to implement meeting schedules as well as track and develop reports on legislation. An opening in Mark Herring’s office has since provided Jon with a front row seat to historic changes in Virginia’s legislation—most recently the decision not to defend the Commonwealth’s ban on same-sex marriage.

As the Attorney General’s aide, Jon says that his Political Science degree has given him “valuable tools to assess the situation and environment at hand and then analyze the existing conditions and factors that influence it.” His ability to adapt those skills has proven essential to his various posts, both abroad and at home. Not yet five years since his graduation from VCU, Jon has capitalized on his experiences and launched what will undoubtedly be an impactful career.

Written by Caitlin Hanbury, VCU News; Original Article