From Softball to Hardball
Oct. 27, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The thrill of competition isn't restricted to the softball diamond for Colonials pitcher Ali Pardo. She also finds excitement in the political arena. Pardo has been working in Florida on the senatorial campaign of Republican candidate Marco Rubio. She joined the campaign as the only intern in May of 2009 and eventually worked herself into a position of helping research and develop policy over the summer.
After sending a cover letter and her resume, Pardo found herself on the phone being asked when she could start on the campaign.
Back in class and back on the diamond to prepare for the 2011 season, she continues working for the campaign in a limited role.
Last fall, she worked for Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune on the Hill. Working around her studies and softball practice schedule she was able to get off campus to experience more of D.C. and that made her more passionate about politics.
Being an athlete and working in politics requires the same mindset skills, she says.
She's also passionate about her softball career. She started playing when she was six. She followed her older brothers who played baseball. She ended up in the pitching circle by chance. The team she played for was looking for a pitcher and she tried out for it.
"That's when I started doing really well and getting recruited [to play in college]."
While she got into the circle by chance, she gravitated towards politics by choice and that's where she stakes her future. She finds a comparison to playing softball and working in the political arena.
"You're accountable for your actions on the field. If you mess up on the field, if I throw a bad pitch, it's over the fence," said Pardo. "So you have to be accountable for your actions and that's something that's extremely important on the campaign. Being an athlete helps you understand that."
By getting out into the political realm while she is still a student, she sees how the education she is receiving has a practical application out in the real world.
"It's crazy. You can see the little things that you can apply everyday from the classroom into work."
It doesn't come as a shock to her when something has to be done fast or she has to work hard or work long hours. She says being a student-athlete helps her understand that.
Her hope is to be working for Marco Rubio in the Senate when she graduates at the end of this school year. She likes working in the area of policy and communications. Her plan is to go to law school with a policy-type approach in mind.
As a senior, she looks back at her arrival to the GW campus in her freshman year and finds it hard to imagine that she'd be involved in politics.
"Probably not like this," she says. "But being in D.C. seeing the 2008 presidential election and seeing people so politically involved, it breeds the environment for taking the next step and joining in the process."