SMU junior Zach Miller’s interest in politics played out like it does for many college students his first couple years at SMU – he volunteered for political campaigns and pursued internships.
But then, in the months following Donald Trump’s presidential victory, Miller decided he wanted to kick his involvement up a notch and earn some compensation at the same time. As the 2018 election season gains momentum, Miller is working as finance director for a Texas Senate hopeful and has launched his own political consulting firm: Atlas Strategies LLC.
Miller, an economics major, is benefitting from a unique immersion experience in public policymaking for SMU undergraduates: Ten students like Miller are chosen every year as Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars, awarding them access to a specialized curriculum and a minor in public policy and international affairs. The scholars learn from global and national leaders and policy makers, take advantage of specialized study abroad opportunities and senior-year internships.
“One of the biggest reasons I launched my firm last year was the network SMU provides,” says Miller. “I felt, being here now, I could benefit from the networking connections while I have direct access to people who can help me out. When I graduate, I’ll have access to the alumni networking, which is incredible, but it doesn’t compare to a dean being willing to help.”