Aaron Groen '04

Major

Communications

 

Favorite

Course

 

American Military History with Dr. Travis Ricketts

 

Favorite Professor

 

Mr. Michael Palmer


   

Aaron Groen's post-college life began with a job in public relations that required a migration from Bryan Hill to Capitol Hill. A year and a half later, Aaron married his wife Alyssa. They decided they would quit their jobs and go on a six-month road trip from Vancouver to the Florida Keys. "We were young and restless," he said. "We packed up our Honda Civic and went on the road!"

When they returned to DC, Aaron was hired by The Washington Times as an editorial assistant covering the Metro mass transit system, a position he was prepared for with his experience on The Triangle staff at Bryan. Aaron explained that the distinctive aspect of his Bryan education was having the "one-on-one connection with professors who identify skills rather than just pushing you through a performance mill. They get to know you deep enough to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a student and a person. My professors, especially Mr. Palmer, Dr. Petitte, and Dr. Ricketts, really helped me develop professionally."
 

Aaron starting up Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park
At The Washington Times, Aaron worked 3-11 p.m., which wasn't very convenient with a wife who worked 9-5. But that gave him the opportunity to write stories which were noticed by the staff of U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx, and he was offered a position as communications director. "I didn't get my Capitol Hill job the way most people do," Aaron explained. "I didn't start out as an intern and I didn't have any of the Capitol Hill or political connections that you almost always need. But I did have extensive writing experience because of my working in public relations and newspapers. The emphasis on people at Bryan was a real asset when interviewing for jobs. Developing community translates into a job skill because you are equipped to be a team player."

As communications director, Aaron is in charge of planning and implementing Rep. Foxx's communications strategy which includes writing speeches, press releases, and web site copy, conducting daily media outreach, and producing web video.

He also spends three to four weeks a year in Rep. Foxx's district in North Carolina connecting with constituents. "It helps to establish credibility because I don't want to just become a disembodied voice from DC," Aaron said.

Aaron described the highlight of his job as "being able to get a firsthand civics education in public service. Democracy is messy but the American political system, for all its flaws, is a gift to see...especially the human side day in and day out."