McNair Alum Spotlight: Tracy Wimmer

I graduated from NMU in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. Currently, I’m the Interim Communications Director for the Michigan House Democrats–I started here four years ago as a writer and then worked my way up to Deputy Communications Director, then to my current position. While at NMU my intention was to go into foreign service in some capacity, and so I initially taught abroad for two years with the intention of returning home to get my MPA before taking the foreign service exam and being assigned somewhere. But then after two years away from my family I realized that while I loved to travel, I was passionate about change-making right here at home in Michigan, which is what eventually led me to apply for work within the state government. In my current position I develop strategic messaging and guide the communications process for the 52 Democratic members of the Michigan House of Representatives, and I love the work. People don’t always realize there is a distinction between politics and government–I don’t work in campaigns, my work happens after a campaign is won. Advocating for legislation that I know will help make life better for everyday Michiganders is a dream come true for me. I love what I do.

While I was a first-generation college student, from a young age my parents pushed (in a supportive, never demanding way) for me to go college, and worked extremely hard so I could achieve things they hadn’t been able to. I carried the gratitude for that sacrifice with me through my undergraduate experience, and it shaped a lot of my work ethic. Honestly, the most helpful thing about the McNair program was the opportunity to meet other students with the same background and experience and understanding, that drive to do as much as you could with the great privilege you’ve been given, because you recognize that it is indeed a privilege. It was extremely beneficial to meet others with that same mindset, and to be part of a program that recognized the unique challenges that came with that privilege, too. 

I’m not sure what the future holds for me right now. I’m hopeful that I’ll be named permanent director of the communications team soon, since as I said I love this work, and I’m very proud of the team I’ve helped lead. The best advice I can offer is pretty simple, but it’s my essential life philosophy: work hard and be nice to people. It is amazing how fulfilling both can be.

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