Alumni Involved with Beyond BYU: Blake Day

Tell us about yourself:
I am from Boise, Idaho, but also lived in Atlanta and Chicago growing up. I studied International┬áRelations at BYU and also met my wife at BYU. We got married New Year’s Eve 2011 in the Los Angeles Temple. I currently work in campaign fundraising for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but would like to work in foreign policy after this election cycle.

Why is it important for alumni to be involved with the BYUPAS DC Chapter?
The DC Chapter of BYUPAS is one of the easiest ways for BYU alumni from all different backgrounds to network and feel connected to their alma mater. It seems like DC is all about who you know, and the DC Chapter of BYUPAS is a great way to branch out, meet new people, and learn about new possibilities. It is also a great way to give back to students and recent graduates who might be struggling to get their footing in DC.

How did you get started in your career in DC?
I interned in Senator Hatch’s office in 2012 through BYU’s Washington Seminar program. Following that internship and graduation from BYU, I kept in contact with Senator Hatch’s chief of staff. When I was looking for a job out here in DC, I sent him my resume and he passed it along to the committee, eventually leading to this job. I’m a perfect example of the importance and making and keeping those connections!

Do you have a favorite DC spot?
After living in Atlanta I became a huge Braves fan and absolutely love baseball. Consequently, one of my favorite DC spots is Nationals Park; especially when the Braves are in town and beating up on the Nationals!

What’s your dream job?
I served a mission in the Philippines and have always been interested in diplomacy, so my dream job would be to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Philippines.

Alumni Involved with Beyond BYU: Dallin Merrill

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m originally from Highland Village, TX just north of Dallas. I received my B.A. in Humanities from BYU and a JD from Saint Louis University. My wife, Erin, and I have a son, Joseph, who just turned two this past December. In my free time I enjoy exercising, Fantasy baseball, and building trains with my son.

How did you get started in your career here in DC?
I came to Washington as a Presidential Management Fellow working at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. After I completed the Fellowship in 2012, I stayed on at FHFA, where I now work as a Congressional Liaison, dealing primarily with House-side issues related to housing finance.

Why should alumni be engaged with the BYUPAS DC Chapter?
I like being involved with BYUPAS because it’s a great way to extend my professional network outside of my default settings which (like many of us) is typically limited to my particular office and my ward. I’m constantly inspired by the men and women working with the same kinds of demands as I am, which can include family obligations, church and service-related responsibilities, as well as trying to forge a career. Seeing how they prioritize their responsibilities and achieve balance helps me to see beyond my current daily demands and envision possibilities that I didn’t even know existed.

What is your dream job?
My dream job would be one that challenges me professionally and enables me to gain new skills and meet new people, all while allowing me the time to pursue personal goals and activities outside of work. But if you’re going to ask me to be more specific, I’d go with in-game announcer for the Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban is a really cool guy, and I’d love to work for his organization. Since the pinnacle of my basketball career was making the Freshman ‘A’ team in high school, I’d probably have to go with something where I don’t have to touch a basketball.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I see myself still in the government relations industry in some capacity. I enjoy the work I’m doing now, and part of my enjoyment comes from seeing the various opportunities that exist in government, non-profit groups, and in private industry. I don’t know exactly where I’ll be, but I’m having a good time getting there.

Is there a political figure who inspires or interests you, and why?
Teddy Roosevelt. I read Path Between the Seas when I was in law school, and I was amazed how, through sheer force of will and political acumen, he helped create the modern nation of Panama and the Panama canal.