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Alumna Kirsten Kvalsten: Spotlight on Politics and Communication

UMD Alumna Kirsten Kvalsten  
On Capitol Hill, Kirsten Kvalsten draws upon lessons learned in theatre studies. Photo: Kami Capener  
There is a spirit of ingenuity and creative connectedness reflected in Kirsten Kvalsten's career. Most of the time, careers match the degree: An accounting major works in a finance department; an art major manages a museum; a math major teaches math.

But what about a communications major with a minor in theatre entering the political arena?

"All of the UMD theatre classes prepared me for Capitol Hill, especially stage direction," said alumna Kirsten Kvalsten, who, since graduation in May 2011, has worked for Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota in Washington, D.C., as his deputy scheduler.

The demand for excellent organization, setting goals with follow through, and pristine communication are constant requirements. Even though there were challenges along the way during her college career, Kvalsten remained true to her passion for theatre and communication.

"I love that I use the poise, organization, and vocal skills I learned as a theatre minor. One class I particularly enjoyed in college was my directing class. I feel that I can use the skills and lessons from that class on a daily basis, understanding how all the parts of the office work together to help the senator serve North Dakota. In directing, I learned how all the moving parts in a production work to create a final product, the performance. I use that mentality in D.C. as all the working parts of a congressional office work toward a particular goal. My studies unquestionably helped me to get to where I am."

UMD Those who can, Duluth

Written by Christiana Kapsner, March 2013


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