For Jeff Mascott, GVPT ’96, creating a student experience scholarship fund for undergraduates—with preference given to those interested in interning on Capitol Hill—is both personally and professionally fulfilling.
As a student, Mascott spent a summer interning on Capitol Hill, and went on to work in Congress for about six years after graduation. He and his wife, Jenn, who graduated in 1997 with B.S. degrees in MATH and GVPT, met in a government and politics class and then both worked as congressional staffers.
“For students who are interested in working in politics and policy, starting out by interning on Capitol Hill can be an incredibly rewarding learning experience because so much of the policymaking process happens in Congress,” said Mascott, who is now CEO of Adfero, a full-service public relations and advertising firm. “Congressional offices can provide a small stipend to interns, but it’s not enough to allow someone without means to afford to intern in a congressional office. The student experience fund will help students cover costs associated with travel, housing, food or professional clothing so that students without resources won’t have to turn down a Capitol Hill internship.”
By way of the Mascott Family Endowed Student Support Fund, which Mascott established with a generous gift, he hopes financial worries won’t be a barrier to students hoping to pursue a similar career path—though Mascott did take a bit of a nontraditional turn, co-creating out of his House of Representatives communications strategist experience a constituent relationship management (CRM) company, Fireside21, in 2002. He then became CEO of Adfero a few years later, remaining a Fireside21 owner until selling the company to FiscalNote last year.
Mascott also hopes that the fund will play a part in increasing diversity in the public affairs profession, something he’s come to increasingly value as a member of the PR Council and the Public Affairs Council’s Board of Directors.
“One way to increase diversity in the public affairs profession is to increase the diversity of the staff who are working in Congress; it’s usually congressional staffers who end up being involved in one form or fashion in the public affairs profession,” he said. “I started thinking about how I could help, and I kept coming back to the fact that UMD is one of the largest suppliers of congressional interns and staffers because it’s a large university with a big Government and Politics department, and its proximity to Capitol Hill.”
Mascott and his family still visit UMD often, being years-old basketball season ticket holders, and traveling to College Park from their Chevy Chase-area home for some of their children’s swim meets at the RecWell pool. Though he doesn’t competitively swim—he was on the UMD club soccer team and today runs marathons—Mascott enjoys serving as the head volunteer of the neighborhood’s summer swim team.
“I hope the school uses the fund to recruit students who want to intern on Capitol Hill and have a future in government and politics,” said Mascott. “I'm hoping it will also allow for a more diverse group of interns to work on Capitol Hill, and ultimately lead to more diversity in the public affairs profession.”
The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences thanks Jeff Mascott for his generous support. To learn more or support the Mascott Family Endowed Student Support Fund, visit go.umd.edu/mascottfund.