At 21 years old, Brandon Pratt has firmly launched himself into the world of politics. He's interned for Chris Christie's presidential campaign, and expanded his network all the way to the state houses of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Oh, and led his own two-time winning campaign for the Student Government Association, all before the start of his senior year.
Brandon grew up in the state capitol of Concord, N.H. Studying at New Hampshire's "home for politics," he was determined to develop his communication skills and put himself out there in front of voters and even in front of the high-profile figures he hopes someday to represent.
His research into international terrorism with politics professor Dr. Erik Cleven and discussion-based, liberal arts courses have given Brandon knowledge, experience, and self-assurance. He uses it to "walk the walk, and talk the talk" at events for local and national candidates in his role as an ambassador at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP).
"I have the confidence to interact with high profile, VIP figures," says Brandon, "because the networking I have done here at the NHIOP has put me in a position to know a lot of people working for campaigns, I have a step-up over others."
Before Governor Chris Christie announced his bid for the presidency, Brandon jumped at the opportunity to work with him as an intern and later as a chairman for college students in the Granite State. He worked with likely voters, recruiting New Hampshire college students like himself and increasing their participation in the campaign.
"I really began to realize that effectively communicating a message to the voters is arguably the most important aspect of connecting the candidate to a mass audience. You can have the most effective, well thought out policy plans in the world, but that only matters if you can get the people to take notice," explains Brandon.
He applied this lesson in political messaging to his student body vice president election and re-election campaigns. To better communicate promises to the students of Saint Anselm College, Brandon designed a highly-accessible re-election website, highlighting the team's accomplishments, equipped students with "Respect the Nest" gear to keep the campus green and clean, and created a consistent and inviting dialogue with his fellow Anselmians through social media.
With his new balance of skills, Brandon was an asset to Governor Chris Sununu's office the summer before his senior year, working as a policy and communications intern. And whether it was flying a drone around the state house or creating graphics for the governor's Twitter account, Brandon has not had a dull day building Sununu's "brand image" back home in Concord, N.H.
"My internship with Governor Sununu has been my greatest professional experience yet," says Brandon. "This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to work for an elected official, rather than a campaign. It's been both exciting and rewarding to see the Governor and his team take what started as promises made to the voters of New Hampshire, and turn those ideas into law."
This fall, Brandon returns to the Hilltop for his final year with more than he left with in May. Apart from preparing for his senior thesis, fulfilling his own campaign promises, and enjoying his final months at the college, he plans to apply to law school.