Michael Stinziano, ’02, never planned to pursue a career in public service.

“Then I did the Jepson at Cambridge study abroad program while I was at Richmond and all that changed,” he says. “A light bulb went off.”

He spent the summer working as an assistant for two members of the British Parliament during a national election. “An internship with the House of Commons in London convinced me that the political arena was the area I was most energized about,” he says. “It was an incredible experience and definitely set the path to what has followed.”

What has followed is a rewarding career as a public servant and a number of professional accolades. He is serving his first term as a state representative in Ohio and running for a second term. 

The Ohio Association of Election Officials named him Legislator of the Year for 2011, and he was recently named to an Ohio newspaper’s “Forty under 40” list for his service.  

He will have another award to add to the list in June: the Jepson School's Tenth Year Reunion Recognition Award, which he will receive at Reunion Rally. The award recognizes exemplary qualities of professional or scholarly achievement, or community or public service.

His leadership studies background helped him succeed, he says. “The Jepson School really prepared me to step into a leader role. It provided a broad overview for critically approaching people, groups and organizations.”

After graduating with a major in leadership studies and a minor in business administration, he went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University and a J.D. from Ohio State University.

He was director of the Franklin County Board of Elections in Ohio prior to running for office.

He also worked as a law clerk for the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, as an assistant to legal counsel in the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and at a think tank for national and international issues in Washington, D.C.

Stinziano makes it a priority to serve his community in other ways as well. He is on the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus as well as several additional nonprofit organizations.

Servant leadership is an idea that was introduced to him at Jepson, he says, adding that "there is no direct path to being a public servant."

“Serving in any capacity is an honor," he says. "I view myself as being a voice for 120,000 Ohioans, and that’s something that I take seriously. It’s great being able to give back to the community and the community where I grew up.”

Michael Stinziano lives in Columbus with his wife, Caroline McNamee Stinziano, ’02.

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