You can’t avoid it: the 2016 election cycle is in full swing. You’ve seen the debates, the news coverage and the canvassing efforts. But have you ever thought about the technology that goes into running a political campaign?
Ariel Gariepy has.
She’s a 2014 graduate of High Point University. She spends her days in the heart of Washington, D.C., working at Microsoft as the Program Coordinator for the Campaign Technology Services team. And somewhere between the hustle and bustle of Microsoft, she finds time to pursue her master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University.
It’s a busy life, but her time at HPU prepared her to excel.
Political hopefuls – whether at the local, state or national level – rely heavily on technology to make their campaigns successful. The trends toward mobile technology, social media, real-time feedback and cloud computing force candidates to look for solutions that can effectively reach their constituents anytime, anywhere.
That’s where Gariepy comes in.
“In my role, I develop and maintain project communications, manage client meetings, document action items and track closure,” says the Louisville, Kentucky, native. “It’s been a great opportunity to get to know the different groups that comprise Microsoft and really jump into the culture of the company.”
While she was at HPU, Gariepy double majored in international relations and vocal performance and minored in Spanish. She was also a University Ambassador, resident assistant and performed in numerous campus choirs.
She says her music professors taught her how to self-motivate; her international relations classes taught her how to write and think critically; and her mentors in the ambassador program taught her the importance of striving for excellence – even in the most mundane contexts.
Together, the holistic education Gariepy received at HPU empowered her to go the extra mile.
“As graduates, excellence comes as second nature because it became part of who we are as HPU students,” she says. “As a result, I come to work and give attention to every detail of my job without giving it a second thought and have already seen this pay off dividends.”
Gariepy is playing an important part in the future of political campaigns and says HPU helped her get there. She credits many professors and staff – including Dr. Melanie Crump, Dr. J.W. Turner, Dr. Claudia Femenias, Adam Winkel, Joe Cristy and Dr. Mark Setzler – for modeling values and going above and beyond to ensure that she graduated ready to tackle a world in constant motion.
“Most importantly, High Point taught me that in order to be excellent it is necessary to be humble,” Gariepy says. “This taught me to care about the individuals I work with, fostering important relationships, always knowing I can do better on a project, pushing me to strive for perfection, knowing that I can always give back, and teaching me that being willing to take on tasks outside of my job description can make me invaluable as an employee.”
That mindset serves her well as she works with clients at Microsoft.
“Being part of offering solutions to individuals who are resource strapped and trying to make a difference is pretty inspiring. I see people light up in meetings when we explain how we can help and build a partnership with them to empower them to do more. That never gets old!”