By Anthony Proia
As a student-athlete at Marist College, Danisha Craig ‘18 was a standout. She studied Political Science and minored in Women’s Studies while also earning a Paralegal certificate. She also happened to be one of the best sprinters in Marist’s history, holding a remarkable eight school records.
Since her graduation from Marist four years ago, the Bristol, Connecticut native has dedicated her career to public service. Earlier this summer, Craig was sworn-in to join the Biden-Harris Administration at the U.S. Department of Energy, in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs as a Senate Legislative Affairs Advisor. This comes after serving as U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal’s Legislative Assistant working on energy, environment, banking and economic policy.
“I am so excited for this opportunity and very honored to become a political appointee within the Department of Energy,” said Craig. “I look forward to applying my knowledge and experience as a Senate staffer to work as a Senate Legislative Affairs Advisor on behalf of the current Administration.”
While she has an exciting road ahead, Craig looks back on her time at Marist with fondness. She cites Dr. Martin Shaffer, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, as both her faculty advisor and his “Congress Today” class and mentions it as her first introduction in learning the intricacies of Congress and was critical in leading her to later become a congressional staffer. She also cites Dr. Kristin Bayer’s work as a mentor and women’s studies advisor. Dr. Bayer is Chair of the History Department and Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.
“I am very grateful to have had the preparation of going through the classroom experiences from Dr. Shaffer and Dr. Bayer,” said Craig. “Both have had a huge impact on my academic career.”
“Danisha’s success in her public service career is gratifying to see, but certainly not surprising,” said Dr. Shaffer. “Danisha grew personally and professionally during her time at Marist and she studied a combination of academic fields while competing at a high level on our track and field team. She has generously participated in career events for our students including our annual D.C. Public Service career trip, and she joins a growing number of Marist alumni who are successfully pursuing careers in Congress and executive branch agencies.”
As for her athletic career, her path to Marist was led through the track and field program. Her best season was in her junior year, where she broke her own indoor and outdoor 400-meter record at least two times each.
“I chose to go to Marist to continue a sport that I loved and am very proud to have used it as an outlet during my time as a student,” said Craig. “One of the best runners from my high school was Spencer Johnson who was recruited by Marist. He recommended that I take a tour and I was obviously won over by its beautiful campus! I have gained lifelong friends from the track and field program that I am very grateful for and couldn’t imagine my life without.”
“Danisha provided the perfect template of the true meaning of ‘student-athlete’ here at Marist,” said Pete Colaizzo, Director of Track/Cross Country, who is in his 32nd year of coaching at Marist. “She’s one of the greatest sprinters in school history, was a great leader for our team and obviously made the most of her opportunities on the academic side. We couldn’t be prouder of all she did while she was here, and all she is doing in the realm of public service in Washington.”
As for her career path, Craig says she hit the ground running in her senior year, thanks in part to the Center for Career Services.
“Desmond Murray helped me prepare for post-graduate life by assisting me with my resume for when I applied to jobs during my senior year. I landed the first job I applied to out of college, a staff assistant position in Senator Blumenthal’s office, with the resume that Desmond helped me with!”
“It was a pleasure to assist Danisha as an undergraduate student at Marist and then see her giving advice to students after graduation during our first D.C. Public Service Trip to Washington,” said Murray. “I’m very proud of her accomplishments.”
As for the road ahead, Craig has already experienced a lifetime of experience in four years, though she’s ready for this next challenge.
“During my four years as a staffer in the Senate, there have been plenty of historical moments. Numerous Supreme Court nominations, a government shutdown, insurrection, pandemic and a Presidential transition.”