Young Alum of the Month: Amanda Taylor

Amanda Taylor
Title and Company: 
Agricultural Counsel at U.S. Senator Charles E. Grassley
Holy Cross, IA
Major and Graduation Date: 
Agricultural Business, Minor in Agronomy, May 2002
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

Senator Grassley is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and I handle all issues in the committee's jurisdiction for him. This includes researching, drafting, and negotiating agricultural legislative priorities including the 2008 Farm Bill and conference. I advise the Senator on issues including: agricultural competition, biotechnology, farm commodity programs, food safety, climate change, futures and derivatives, appropriations, conservation programs, crop insurance, disaster programs, Farm Credit, international food aid and USDA trade programs, nutrition, and environmental issues.

Conducting oversight of the federal agencies is one of the most interesting pieces of my job. It gives me an opportunity to learn more about federal programs, and every once and while, uncover taxpayer money being spent inappropriately.

The job also involves a lot of writing: speeches, background for press releases, memoranda for the Senator, and statements and questions for Committee hearings. Finally, I get the privilege to represent the Senator and his interests before industry, the executive branch, foreign governments, and Congressional staff.

What you like most about your job/position: 

One of the best parts about my job is that each and every day is different. Whether I'm helping an Iowan, lobbying another member's office on a position, or asking a federal agency tough questions about implementation of a program, the work and conversations are never the same. While a lot of people have a negative view of Congress, there is a real satisfaction in realizing that you were able to help someone struggling. But by far the best part of my job is the day to day interaction with Senator Grassley. He is a leader, a bi-partisan negotiator, and a true statesman. It's an honor to both learn from and work with him.

What advice would you give to current students: 

I would tell students to take every opportunity to pursue internships during the summer months, or even during the school term. By working in the industry, if even for a short time, I was able to identify things I was interested in and things I wasn't. When it was time to figure out what type of career I wanted to enter, I had both practical experience I could put to use and a better idea of what I was good at. Also, I'd tell students to stay up on current events in agriculture. By reading trade journals or staying active in farm organizations, you will have a better understanding of issues that your potential employers might be involved with.


Favorite ISU Class:
Econ 451, Ag Law with Dr. Neil Harl