Meet Megan Winters
By the time she graduated from Duquesne University in 2014, Megan Winters had amassed significant experience in the realm of politics. This included her internships with the Democratic Committee of Allegheny County and the American Civil Liberties Union chapter of Greater Pittsburgh. Along the way, she also made her way to Washington for Pi Sigma Alpha’s annual student research conference to discuss her work on improving voter turnout.
Today, we catch up with Megan and hear how her penchant for politics shapes her professional focus.
What are you up to these days? What it is it like to work for the Democratic Party out in Pittsburgh?
I’m currently the Data, Grassroots, and Western Pennsylvania Director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Working in Pittsburgh period is great, but working for the [Democrats] here is even better. Pittsburgh is being looked at by the world right now as a city that’s at the forefront of innovation and progressive politics, while also keeping its hometown identity. I absolutely love working here.
What inspired you to pursue a career in political work, and how did you wind up where you are now?
I knew I liked politics ever since I was pretty young. But it wasn’t until an internship in college with my local Democratic Party that [I decided] to actually pursue a career in the electoral side of politics. I started as an intern, and then right after graduating college became that organization’s Executive Director. Now, I’m at the State Democratic Party.
What advice would you give to a current college student who is considering working in state or local politics?
Volunteer for local races and political parties, snag an internship any semester or summer you can, and volunteer some more. Jobs come available often, and people like me are always looking at those who have been reliable volunteers in the past for those positions. Be someone who always comes to mind when looking for help, and you’ll be on their mind when they’re filling positions, too.
What impact has your experience with Pi Sigma Alpha, including its annual conference, played in your life since graduating from college?
Pi Sigma Alpha is a great national organization for meeting other people around the country pursuing a career in any political work – whether that be electoral or governmental. I’ve met many people in my profession who were involved in college, and who were even at the same conference I was at. It’s also a great conversation starter for talking to those across the aisle!
What research topic did you present on at the Pi Sigma Alpha conference? Have you continued to investigate this topic in the time since then?
The topic I covered during the Pi Sigma Alpha convention was voting methods that improve turnout. I took a look at early voting, same day registration, and open primaries as a few legislative ways to make voting easier. I haven’t investigated this topic in an academic sense since then, but as the Data Director I work with absentee ballots and voter registration on a daily basis. If I were to research the topic again, I would emphasize the importance of being able to register to vote online, because since we’ve implemented that in PA, registrations surged.