Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Summer 2017

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Himmel is currently a congressional liaison in the Office of Legislative Affairs for the Transportation Security Administration. Her responsibility is to facilitate communications between Congress and her agency, including communicating the status of TSA policies and programs and making sure members of Congress understand TSA's objectives. For example, when the TSA banned passengers from certain flights from carrying onboard electronic devices larger than a cellphone in March of this year, Himmel's office did some pre-announcement legwork, notifying the oversight committees that the policy was coming, and subsequently held a briefing with congressional members. "It's a lot of relationship building," said Himmel. Himmel's interest in national security, foreign policy and intelligence, and her willingness to work for the government are directly tied to her campaign volunteering. "Obama excited people, and he was from Chicago. It got students like me enthusiastic about public service." Himmel thinks that Latin's rigorous academics prepared her well for college and eventually graduate school, where she earned a master's in national security policy studies at Georgetown University in 2015. "I feel like I was more prepared, especially when it came to writing and analytical thinking," she said. When Himmel reviewed her peers' papers her freshman year of college, she could see that her work stood out among her classmates'. Himmel also notes that Latin faculty and staff made it clear they valued diversity. "Some of my peers in college did not have the same exposure. I found it very helpful to have already met [in high school] people from different countries, who spoke different languages and practiced different religions," she said. Himmel is confident that this contact with diverse outlooks prepared her for life in Washington. Alexis Williams '04 Alexis Williams didn't know when she started her first job out of undergrad as an event planner where it would lead. e 2008 University of Chicago graduate is now the vice president of Politico Live, the live-content arm of the political journalism company Politico. Williams and her team of 19 are responsible for all live programming and content. Politico Live hosts more than 100 programs a year across the country, all of which are live-streamed and open to the press and later curated for their website. Williams' position provides her access to Washington movers and shakers like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who led a morning breakfast briefing on trade policy and the U.S. economy, as well as celebrities like John Legend, who spoke on a panel discussion on the criminal justice system and mass incarceration. Williams' day-to-day responsibilities include managing to the top line of the business as well as long-term strategic planning. Williams' interest in politics started when she took American history in middle school and won the history prize in eighth grade. However, the somber and disturbing events of 9/11, when Williams was a sophomore, may have been more influential. Faculty put a projector screen in the library, and students watched as events unfolded. Williams recognizes now that Latin faculty had a remarkable ability to take current events and put them in a context so that students could understand the big picture. "We had conversations in class about what [the attacks] meant and how we could move forward as a country," she said. "It shaped my outlook. I realized that the world is a bigger place than the corner of Clark and North Avenue." e Latin students who visited in March had the opportunity to tour Politico's offices and met with Williams and three of her colleagues for a panel discussion on career development and the news of the day. Politico staffers were impressed with the students' insightful questions. ey also had the opportunity to pick the students' brains on how they consume content, a definite win-win for both groups. "When the students visited Politico, I talked about the most important lesson I've learned: In your personal and professional life, it's important to keep the long game in mind," said Williams. "Be a good person, treat others well, and practice the golden rule. Win or lose, you'll always be proud of who you are and what you do." l "I realized that the world is a bigger place than the corner of Clark and North Avenue." – Alexis Williams '04 Latin Magazine » Summer 2017 35

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