Rider political science major wins 'rising star' award from NJ business association

Senior Alexis Bailey is co-chair of the New Jersey College Republicans
Adam Grybowski

Alexis Bailey, a Rider University political science major, was selected to receive a Rising Star award by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.

She and three other students will receive the award, which recognizes those who have distinguished themselves at New Jersey universities through their academic work, leadership and community involvement, at the association's 5th Annual Women Business Leaders Forum on Sept. 20.

“I’m really proud to have received the award — the first professional award of my career,” says Bailey, a senior who will graduate in December.

As an undergraduate Bailey has interned with the Republican National Committee, in the U.S. House of Representatives and with the state gubernatorial campaign of Jack Ciattarelli. She was recently elected co-chair of the New Jersey College Republicans and, in the fall, will begin as the president of the organization’s Rider chapter.

"Everything I've been able to do up to this point has been made possible through the support I've received from Rider," Bailey says. "All my professors know my name and my career aspirations and probably what my latest internship was. That kind of support enables students to do as much as they want at Rider if they're willing to take advantage of it. Going into my final semester, I know I couldn't have asked for a better college experience and am really looking forward to what's going to come next."

Bailey is originally from Bayonne, N.J., where an issue she became aware of in high school sparked her interest in politics. She was part of the school's student government. During that time, she says her school district ranked either first or second as the most underfunded district in the state. “A lot of teachers started leaving,” Bailey says, “and I started asking myself why this was happening. I learned that it all begins with state government and that got me interested.”

When considering colleges, Rider was the first school she toured, and she was attracted to its intimate campus and the people she met. When she was offered a Trustee Scholarship, which provides full tuition for four years and is one of the most competitive scholarships offered by the University, she says her decision to attend Rider was a simple one.

To pursue her interest in politics, she began taking advantage of opportunities at Rider immediately. In the first semester of her freshman year, she secured an internship with the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. She’s now a Rebovich Fellow as well as a recipient of the Vainieri Huttle Intern Fellowship for Women in Politics, which benefits female students who take unpaid political and government internships.

“Through her hard work and intellectual curiosity, Alexis leaves a strong impression on every connection she makes,” says Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute. "She is such a great ambassador for Rider and for Rebovich and she deserves the recognition. I'm proud of her."

During her junior year, Bailey lived in Washington, D.C., while participating in the Washington Semester Program at American University, which is when she interned in the office of Rep. Elise Marie Stefanik, who serves New York’s 21st congressional district. During that time, the U.S. government was in the midst of its longest shutdown in history.

“It was very informative to see how they handled a crisis and worked together,” Bailey says. “Normally I would be back at home watching it on TV. It was really exciting to feel like I was even a small part of it all and learn firsthand at the center of government.”

At Rider, Bailey also benefited from participating in the University's Gail Bierenbaum Women’s Leadership Council, which matches female students with women (often Rider alumnae) who serve as mentors. Given her interest in politics, Bailey was matched with Sabeen Masih, the vice president of public affairs at Capital Impact Group.

“She’s doing exactly what I want to do, and that relationship has been invaluable to me,” says Bailey, whose long-term career goals include potentially running for office or working as a lobbyist.

In addition to her interests in politics, Bailey is active in Greek life at Rider. She is the vice president of member development for the Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Xi Delta. She is also a volunteer counselor for the New Jersey Association of Student Councils.

Bailey will attend the forum in September with her mother to receive her award from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, or NJBIA, which is the nation’s largest statewide employer association. Its members employ more than one million people.

“NJBIA’s Rising Star Awards honor students who have demonstrated a passion for their career path, academic success and a commitment to volunteering in their communities during their undergraduate careers,” says Michele Siekerka, the association's president and CEO. “This year, the application process was so competitive NJBIA decided to double the number of award winners because all four of these students are such standout leaders deserving recognition.”