ASU senior Jared Goecker, the son of a U.S. Air Force chaplain, set his sights early on a public service career.
His family was stationed in Japan on March 11, 2011, when a magnitude-9 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck the island nation. More than 15,000 people were killed and more than 272,000 people lost their homes. His parents took a lead role in the recovery, helping the beleaguered Japanese.
“That made an impression on me, the idea of serving others,” Goecker said. “That became the theme of my time at Angelo State, asking myself how I can serve the university.”
“From a very young age, I also was exposed to politics,” he added. “In 2004, I was told if our candidate won, I’d get ice cream. And whatever you think about Barak Obama or his politics, his 2008 presidential campaign really sparked a lot of interest in politics. I knew then what I wanted to do.”
Home-schooled in Japan, Goecker followed two older brothers to San Angelo.
“I chose Angelo State because of the stellar political science program,” he said. “Also, I had been on campus a few times with my brother, who was starting his degree, and I absolutely fell in love with the campus and just couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else.”
Goecker dove right into campus politics, getting elected a Student Government Association (SGA) senator his freshman year.
“Student government gave me a chance to utilize what I was learning in class to real life,” he said. “I also knew I wanted an internship, and I knew I wanted a résumé that would get me an internship.”
“I chose Angelo State because of the stellar political science program. Also … I absolutely fell in love with the campus and just couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else.”
Elected SGA president for his junior year, Goecker helped organize the successful effort to launch Ram Tram, a free weekend city bus route for ASU students.
“It took a lot of the right people in the right places,” he said. “ASU President Brian May moved mountains to get this done. It took a united SGA Senate. They looked at the issues and said we really need this. They voted unanimously to the support the plan.”
“As SGA president, I wanted to lead a culture change from ‘we can’t’ to ‘why not?’,” he added.
This fall, Goecker is adding that desired internship to his résumé, spending the semester as the fourth participant in the ASU Political Science and Philosophy Department’s Government and Public Service Internship Program in Washington, D.C.
He will serve his internship in the office of U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway, working with 2013 ASU intern Chase Sauvage, who now works as a staff assistant to the congressman. Goecker will live at the Texas Tech House with other interns from Texas Tech University and receive a stipend to help defray the costs of living in Washington, D.C. He will also earn six credit hours in political science.
“I talked with Chase and others about what to do to set yourself apart from the thousands of other interns in that city,” Goecker said. “I’m really hoping to come out with a job in my pocket before I graduate. Chase is my inspiration. I’m really hoping to do what Chase did.”
And like Sauvage, Goecker credits ASU for putting him on the path to his public service goal.
“There is such an awesome student-centered culture here,” he said. “Everybody cares about how you’re doing in your classes and in your personal life. It’s such a great support system.”