Graduating senior balances college life with campaign manager duties

On top of the typical responsibilities of being a college student, Myles Nelson is the campaign manager for a U.S. congressman.

Nelson, a senior political science major from Collinsville, Illinois, will be graduating this weekend, but he has already begun his work in politics. He said he started by volunteering for U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro, R-Ill.

“I started a few cycles back as a volunteer, knocking on doors for Congressman Bost [and] making phone calls … [I] was in charge of Madison County operations last cycle in 2018, and then this past year I was in charge of his petition drive to get him on the ballot,” Nelson said. “And then after my years of being with him, they asked me to be campaign manager.”

Nelson said it’s an honor to work for Bost, and that his experience at SIUE gave him the skills he needed to succeed.

“My experience taking classes with the department and other experience that I’ve gained at SIUE has certainly helped me to be in the position I am and to succeed at it,” Nelson said.

Balancing his duties as campaign manager with schoolwork requires organization and time management, Nelson said.

“You just have to be organized, that’s the biggest thing. Time management, you have to know what you’re doing, when you’re doing and you have to be on time doing it,” Nelson said. “And you have to make both of them an equal priority. You know, obviously my schoolwork is very important but so is my profession.”

Noah Poole, a senior political science major from Rochester, Illinois, is Nelson’s friend, and also works for him as an intern.

“With Myles, I think he’s always been a straightforward person, but always able to listen at the same time. He kind of makes the work for you easier, because if you’re having any issues, you always know you can go to him, and he’ll lead you in the right way,” Poole said.

According to Nelson, after graduating, his efforts will be focused on the campaign.

“I’m focused on ensuring that Congressman Bost wins his reelection. In politics, you have a good idea of where you want to end up, but as far as the road, the road getting there, it can twist and turn. I would love to stay with Congressman Bost, but of course I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t want to speculate on that,” Nelson said.

Ken Moffett, chair of the political science department and a political science professor, said Nelson is an analytical student, which has contributed to his success.

“[He’s] analytically focused, very passionate about politics, and uses his analytical skills in a way to help out some of his political ambitions in some of the different things that he has done away from campus,” Moffett said.

Nelson also served as the 2019 President of the College Republicans. In that time, the College Republicans sued the university regarding its free speech policy, which restricted protests to the area around the rock. According to Moffett, Nelson was a driving force behind the free speech lawsuit.

“The College Republicans, and Myles was one of the people involved with this, sued the university, stating basically that its free speech policy was unconstitutional. It was settled out of court and a new free speech policy was written, which was much more expensive and much broader than the old one,” Moffett said. “Myles had a big part in that. And in that respect, if you want to think about it this way, he expanded civil liberties for students on campus.”

Poole said apart from his academic or professional work, Nelson is a generous friend.

“He’s always been, ‘Hey, I can come pick you up,’ if we’re going somewhere, or I mean as a college student, I’m not always working, so a pretty good example was, ‘Hey, let’s go do this,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, no, I can’t,’ … and he’s like, ‘Hey, I’ll cover it,’” Poole said.

To learn more about the 2020 virtual commencement ceremony, visit their website or email commencement@siue.edu.

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