John Cronin

BA in Political Science, University of Mary Washington

Springfield, VA

Career Interests/skills:
Election Policy/Administration, Civic Engagement, Project Management

Agency Rotations:
Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM)
Department of Elections (ELECT)
Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS)

What is your educational background and what made you pursue those majors, degrees, etc.?
Growing up in Northern Virginia, I didn’t realize how unique my experience was living so close to Washington, D.C. and where government is conducted. It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered my passion for public administration and the science behind why government works the way it does. The wonderful professors at UMW were extremely engaging and helpful in explaining their expertise, which got me hooked on these subjects going forward.

To compliment my political science degree, I minored in business. I find the intersection between the public and private sectors very interesting, as each performs important roles in our society, and often can improve by incorporating some things from the other sector.

Why did you pursue this opportunity? Why are you drawn to public service?
The Virginia Management Fellows program was appealing to me because it provides a diverse experience across several state agencies. Through this opportunity, I have been able to meet incredibly dedicated employees that all have their unique ways in which they contribute to the Commonwealth. Seeing their knowledge and dedication only motivates me further, and makes me want to represent the younger generation well (and get more young people involved) so that the Commonwealth’s agencies can more accurately represent and help the populations which they serve.

If you could offer a piece of advice to students pursuing a career in public service what would it be?
My first piece of advice would be to give it a chance! Yes, some bureaucratic work can seem boring at times, but once you are involved you quickly see how impactful this work is and how many individuals are helped on a daily basis.

My second recommendation is don’t be afraid if you don’t know something. I was intimidated when I first started the fellowship (some definite imposter syndrome, feeling like I didn’t belong), but I immediately realized that a lot of work groups at these state agencies are going to have your back and are willing to mentor young people. No matter your expertise, there is going to be an opportunity for you to succeed in the Commonwealth and improve how government functions.

“Before the Fellowship” is part of an ongoing series on the VMF blog where current Virginia Management Fellows answer questions related to their educational and career experiences prior to starting the fellowship.


John Cronin is a Virginia Management Fellow currently working at the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS).