(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – From leading an Army platoon in Iraq at age 22 to serving as a press secretary, chief of staff and communications director for influential United States Congress and Senate members, Allison Jaslow’s professional experiences since her graduation have earned her special recognition from her alma mater. The University of Central Missouri is honoring Jaslow this spring with the presentation of the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.
The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award recognizes any alumnus whose endeavors in business, professional, civic, philanthropic organizations, performing arts, public service, volunteer, political or similar activities are worthy of recognition and have brought honor to the university. To be considered for the award an individual must have graduated from UCM within the last 10 years.
Jaslow will receive the award during the undergraduate commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11 in the Multipurpose Building. She will be recognized at the same event honoring new graduates of the College of Health, Science, and Technology and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Other colleges will participate in the morning undergraduate ceremony at 10 a.m. and graduate students will be honored during a ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10. All of these events are open to the public.
Jaslow grew up in northern Virginia and came to Missouri with a goal to prepare for a military career. After being recruited by Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington to participate in a 2+2 scholarship program, she went on to attend UCM, then known at Central Missouri State University, where she studied political science and got involved in the ROTC program. This led to an Army commission upon her graduation from the university with a bachelor’s degree in May 2004.
“My time at Wentworth was everything you might expect – tough, challenging and rewarding – and laid the ground work for my peers and me to become quality second lieutenants upon graduation from Central Missouri State University,” she said in an award statement. “This is especially important, because Sept. 11, 2001 marked the beginning of my sophomore year and the caliber of officer I became was now more important than ever.”
The same year she earned her UCM degree, Jaslow spent her Thanksgiving with the 980th Quartermaster Company in Taji, Iraq. After two tours of duty in that war-torn country, she left the military at the rank of captain to pursue a career in her major field of study. Her journey into politics and public service has taken her to the nation’s capital, where she currently serves as chief of staff for Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. She spent much of the last year in East Moline, Ill., helping Bustos to win a successful campaign against an incumbent. In 2011, she became press secretary in the office of Senator Jim Webb, D-Va. While working with Webb, Jaslow managed the Senator’s constituent-focused communications strategy, served as on-the-record spokesperson, and spearheaded press efforts around the Senator’s signature initiatives, which included the landmark Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
Prior to working with Senator Webb, Jaslow served in a number of other positions that allowed her to use her political science background and the leadership skills she gained while serving for four years in the U.S. Army. She served as communications director for Congressman Steve Kagen, D-Wis., in Washington, D.C and Appleton, Wis.; communications director for the Democratic Party of Virginia; and was a special assistant to the director of communications at The White House.
In the latter position, Jaslow assisted in executing communications strategy; helped coordinate with White House staff daily message events; organized meetings for over 100 Presidential events; and liaised with White House staff, cabinet agencies, and Congressional offices to help develop and communicate the President’s messages.
Jaslow attributes her strong appreciation for politics to faculty members at UCM who helped fuel her passion to learn more.
“The intimate classroom experience I got at Central, combined with the extraordinary mentorship of professors like Shari Garber Bax, fed my passion, and I knew exactly what I’d sink my teeth into if the Army didn’t pan out as planned,” she noted. “As I jump from one opportunity to the next in the world of public service, I often reflect on how I got to where I am today. My path could not have been easily predicted, but when this young city kid took a leap and headed to Missouri she set off on a journey that changed her life.”