Betsy Bradfield (AB ’17, ABJ ’17) is the Political Affairs Manager for the Georgia Association of REALTORS® where she applies what she learned at UGA to advocate for her association’s members. Betsy received degrees in International Affairs and Public Relations, because she had interests that overlapped.
“I always loved history, government, and politics. That’s why I initially majored in International Affairs.” After taking a class with Dr. Bullock, Betsy realized that she loved the communication aspect of politics and wanted to learn more about lobbying. Today, she works with Georgia’s REALTORS® to educate legislators on beneficial policies that protect private property rights and support the association’s members. “I would have never gotten to the capitol without professor Bullock.”
During her time at UGA, Betsy interned with Troutman Pepper, formerly known as Troutman Sanders, where she received her first experience working in the political arena. She was then hired to her first job, working with the Georgia Lottery for three years. Her experience during her internship provided her the opportunity to develop her network and build skills necessary for her first job out of college.
Some advice for graduating seniors, Betsy says, “Don’t compare your path to anyone else’s. I remember seeing my friends getting jobs a year prior to graduation, and I was terrified I would graduate and be jobless. It is totally normal to have a job lined up in advance, just as it is to not know what you want to do until after graduation. Stay focused on your path and what you want to do.”
Betsy encourages students to reach out and connect with the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) alumni, especially if you’re interested in politics. “You can really see SPIA’s influence on the capitol. I want to be the person that can help a SPIA student get a job or connection.”
Not sure what job you are looking for just yet? Lean on your mentors and continue to build your network; they will help guide you in the right direction. “I didn’t even know my first position existed until someone sent me the link to the application. You can’t apply for a job that you don’t know is out there. Unless you make those connections, you won’t know what is available that you could be a great match for.”
Even before graduation, Betsy always knew she wanted to return to SPIA to give back, and the Alumni Board of Directors was the perfect opportunity. “When I was at UGA, I worked with the SAC (Student Alumni Council) and got to see how important and integral alumni are in getting anything done.” When the opportunity became available, Betsy was ready to hit the ground running. “I understand how important it is to connect to alumni to get a career started.”Betsy is also an avid supporter of experiential learning opportunities and hopes to facilitate connecting students with resources to make that happen. “One of the best times of my life was studying abroad. Any time I can donate to that fund, I do.” She hopes to encourage students to take advantage of scholarships and alumni to contribute to student success by donating to these funds.
“I had the best time of my life at UGA, and I want that for everyone else.”
Want to fund experiential learning opportunities? Give to the SPIA Experiential Learning Fund which provides financial support to SPIA students participating in experiential learning opportunities, with preference given to opportunities targeting students who have overcome obstacles such as socioeconomic or educational disadvantages or other significant challenges.