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The South Dakotan

Hannah Prentice and Kelsey Webb are nearly

mirror images of each other on paper.

Both women

enrolled at the University of South Dakota as bright-eyed

freshmen in 2006, studied political science and Spanish during

the four years they spent in Vermillion and graduated in the

spring of 2010.

Four years later, the two shared another common thread—

or rather, title: campaign manager for a South Dakota

gubernatorial candidate.

Prentice, 26, began to work for Democratic State Rep. Susan

Wismer nearly a year ago to kick off her gubernatorial run.

Webb, 27, had more than three years working as a staff member

for Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard before being asked to run

his re-election campaign.

They worked for opposing political parties, but the academic

roots to their political careers began in the same class—

instructor Mary Pat Bierle’s POLS 100, American Government.

Prentice and Webb both decided on USD after attending

South Dakota Girls State in Vermillion. They came to campus

with the intention to become lawyers, but they credit the

political science department, especially POLS 100, for arousing

an interest in political campaigning.

“I was so intimidated by Mary Pat as a freshman that I did

all the reading and work to stay on her good side. But I realized,

after all she did and does as a mentor, that she was opening a lot

of doors for us,” Webb said.

Prentice credits the political science faculty with providing

her with a work ethic that can stand its own with 18-hour days

on a campaign trail. Both women said when faced with difficult

decisions during the election season, they were able to turn

to mentors from the political science department for advice

and assurance.

“I may have left USD, but I know I can always ask for help

from the people who mentored me as a student. I don’t know if a

lot of people can say that about their department,” Prentice said.

A Tale of Two

Campaign Managers:

2010 political science

graduates direct

gubernatorial race

By Megan Card, Class of 2014