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Jason Smith (BA ‘09)


Position: Vice Chancellor/Vice President for Governmental Relations

Employer: University of Houston

Current City: Houston, TX

What does your job entail?

I serve as the primary contact  with elected officials, their staff, and administrators, whether they work in federal, state or local offices on behalf of the University of Houston, the University of Houston System, and its other component universities (UH Clear Lake, UH Victoria, and UH Downtown).  It is my job to provide these elected officials the information they need to positively impact the future of the University of Houston System. 

How did your political science degree influence your career path?

I absolutely would not be in my position if I had not taken the opportunity to participate in The Hobby Center for Public Policy’s Civic Houston Internship Program (CHIP). It provided me with my first opportunity to work for an elected official, which resulted in bigger and better opportunities as a result. My political science classes at UH provided me the knowledge I needed to excel in politics, but my internship gave me my first opportunity to put that knowledge into action within government.

Do you have any advice for students who aspire to hold a job like yours?

Take advantage of the great internship programs provided to UH students through the Hobby Center for Public Policy. Renee Cross does a great job of finding internship opportunities at all levels of government. I wouldn’t hire a new graduate  if they haven’t already worked on a political campaign, for an elected official, or in another capacity related to government. Employers, especially in government, want to see that you are passionate enough to find these opportunities prior to your graduation, not after graduation.