U grad scores job scheduling for Michelle Obama

Andrea Mokros started her new position in late July.

by Ian Taylor

One University of Minnesota graduate has worked her way up the campaign ladder all the way  to a spot in the White House.

Andrea Mokros started her new position as director of scheduling and advance for first lady Michelle Obama in late July. As director, Mokros is in charge of putting events together for the first lady, handling all logistics and working directly with Mr. and Mrs. Obama.

During her years at the University, Mokros joined the College Democrats, where she served as the state chair for two years. As a junior in 1998, she also worked as a scheduler during the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign for Hubert Humphrey III, MinnesotaâÄôs attorney general at the time.

Mokros said the connections made from being involved are the best assets one can have.

âÄúThe more involved I got, the more opportunities followed,âÄù she said.

She graduated from the University in 1999 with degrees in journalism and political science.

ItâÄôs not the first time Mokros has worked with the first family. She did similar scheduling work for President Barack ObamaâÄôs 2008 presidential campaign as a volunteer.

Mokros credited her success to being involved while a student at the University and encouraged current students to do the same.

âÄúTake advantage of every opportunity you can, you never know how [it will] come in handy later,âÄù she said. âÄúThe [people] I interned with to this day are the people I work with and come across professionally.âÄù

Mokros said it wasnâÄôt hard to find a job after graduating because of the experience she earned as a student.

Earlier in her career, she worked as the deputy chief of staff for Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the Washington office, and then held the same position for Gov. Mark Dayton until getting the White House job.

Bob Hume took MokrosâÄô position as deputy chief of staff for Dayton after Mokros left for the White House position. She was HumeâÄôs co-worker during her service with the Dayton administration. Hume said he has worked with Mokros on various political campaigns since 2006.

âÄúShe has a knack for detail and a very strong sense of political judgment,âÄù Hume said. He said he also admired MokrosâÄô work ethic and said that she was âÄútireless.âÄù

âÄúThe fact that she was in so many campaigns is a testament to her ability,âÄù Hume said. âÄúShe is a world-class political operative.âÄù

In addition to the Humphrey and Obama campaigns, Mokros worked on Tarryl ClarkâÄôs unsuccessful bid for U.S. Congress and many other mayoral, gubernatorial and congressional campaigns.

Zach Rodvold, a University alumnus who was campaign manager for Tarryl ClarkâÄôs 2010 congressional campaign praised Mokros for her dedication.

âÄú[She puts] everything sheâÄôs got into whatever it is sheâÄôs doing,âÄù said Rodvold, who has worked with Mokros on various campaigns since 2006.

Rodvold said Mokros is âÄúperfectly cut out for the work sheâÄôs in now.âÄù

âÄúThere is no better person if you need to set up a large event. She is the person you get emails and texts from all hours of the night,âÄù he said.

One professor who stood out to Mokros during her time at the University was Steven Smith, a professor of political science and a McKnight Professor while Mokros was a student. Mokros said she liked Smith because he was âÄúnot just teaching from the textâÄù but included current events in his lessons.

âÄúI remember Andrea. She is a bright, articulate and charismatic person. I remember her as a highly motivated person with good writing skills. It is important to highlight people like Andrea who take a chance by pursuing unique career paths,âÄù Smith said in an email to the Minnesota Daily.

Raymond Duvall, the Chair of the Univerisity Political Science Department and professor of political science, said all political science majors at the University are equipped to analyze problems theoretically and face the challenges of a changing generation, but that âÄúexceptional careers take exceptional people.âÄù

Mokros suspended duties of her consulting company, Mokros Strategies LLC, until after she leaves her duties at the White House, which she said she does not plan on doing âÄúanytime soon.âÄù