My Life in Presidential Terms with Katie Walpole, Clark County, NV

In this series, ELGL members reflect on how their life has changed from 2008 to 2016, and look forward to where they’ll be in 2024. ELGL members can sign up to share their experiences at My Life in Presidential Terms

By Katie Walpole (LinkedIn & Twitter), Clark County, Nevada

635812386264832954463430313_cuse fanIn 2008, I graduated from high school and started college at Syracuse University.  When I entered Syracuse in the fall of 2008, I knew I was going to be a political science major in order to prepare me for law school. I had my heart set on practicing either civil or real estate law. From there, I imagined entering the world of politics and government after several years.

In my freshman fall semester, I joined the Syracuse University Undergraduate Mock Trial team. My goal of joining was to explore my future career in law. I spent countless hours at practice with my teammates as well as countless hours speaking out loud to memorize opening and closing statements. I loved every moment of it.

I also signed up to go through sorority recruitment; something that I never thought I would do. (I ultimately joined my sorority in the spring of 2009, and I’ve loved it ever since.)

How My Life Has Changed Since 2008

Life has certainly changed since 2008.

William Coplin Portrait

William Coplin 

In my spring semester of freshman year, I took “Introduction to Public Policy Analysis,” and I fell in love with the class. I met my future advisor, mentor, and now, friend, Bill Coplin. The class truly resonated with me. I applied to become a teaching assistant for the fall 2009 class, and I planned my fall semester to include more public policy classes.  I knew deep down that things were changing.   I quit mock trial, stopped enrolling in classes that were “traditional” pre-law focus (e.g. criminal justice system), and started applying for internships where I could work on public policy issues.

Throughout the remainder of college, I completed more internships that focused on public policy, social media, and constituent services, at all levels of government. I studied abroad for a semester in London, and I discovered my passion for traveling. I signed up, studied, and took the LSAT. Twice.  Through all of this, my passion shifted from civil or real estate law to wanting to work in local government to eventually wanting to pursue a career in international affairs. Yet, despite the career goal change, law school was still on the radar for me despite knowing deep down that I did not want to attend.

It took me until the beginning of my senior year at Syracuse to admit that I did not want to go to law school. Instead, I applied to graduate schools in London to begin pursuing a graduate degree to prepare me to work in the field of international affairs.  During the application process and after I had been accepted to several graduate schools, I knew I had made the correct decision to not pursue law school.

After I graduated from Syracuse in 2012, I moved back to London to begin studying for my Master’s in Public Administration at the London School of Economics (LSE).  I was extremely passionate about international affairs- working for both a think tank and the U.S. State Department, remotely, at one point.  Yet, halfway through the program, I began to realize that my interest in international affairs was merely a hobby. I did not want to pursue a career in the area. I began to re-focus on wanting to work in local government.  At the end of my two years at LSE, I was only applying to work in local government, and I knew that was the correct path.

At the moment, I’m a management analyst for the Clark County Department of Administrative Services. I get to live in Las Vegas and essentially, deal with tourists at my Starbucks, daily. I draft policies and procedures, analyze performance measures, deal with code enforcement and animal control issues, and work on legislative matters.  It is something new each day.  And, I wouldn’t trade the job for anything else. I truly enjoy going to work each day.

Where Will You Be in 2024?

If you had asked me in 2008 if I would be living in Las Vegas, I would have said “good joke.” So, to answer the question of where I will be in the next eight years, I truly do not have an answer or where I will be. However, I know I will still be in the local government profession because I love it. Ideally, I will still be working for Clark County in a mid-manager level position that allows me to still make the community a better place. And, who knows, maybe I will be exploring Ph.D. programs by then.

Supplemental Reading

Finding Local Government with Katie Walpole, Clark County, NV

What I Am with Katie Walpole, Clark County, NV

I Love BBQ: Katie Walpole, Clark County, NV


My Life in Presidential Terms with Kristin Donald, Apex Park and Rec

My Life in Presidential Terms with Dylan Feik, City of Calistoga, CA

My Life in Presidential Terms with Katie Babits, City of Eugene, OR

My Life in Presidential Terms with Will Doerfer