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Margaret G. Musgrave '11

August 16, 2011

100489Photo by Alika D. Seu '11

Margaret G. Musgrave '11 remembers standing outside an Evansville, Ind., polling place with her mother and father, the candidate and the campaign manager. She remembers shaking hands and asking people, "Please vote for my mommy." And she remembers the rain, too. It always rains on Election Day.

This was the Musgrave family routine every four years, beginning when she was six. Politics is invisible to most children, but not to her. Politics was all around her.

"It's difficult to ignore politics when your dining table is always covered with maps, and you're looking at how tax rates are fluctuating in each area," she says before interrupting herself. "I know too much about property taxes."

As Musgrave grew older, she began to campaign for candidates who didn't share her roof. Soon enough, she outgrew phone calls and canvassing and moved on to fundraising and organizing rallies. Musgrave even worked as a scheduler for Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock's 2006 campaign. She was a high school junior.

In some ways, college life didn't change much. By the time she got to DePauw, Musgrave had the experience and knowledge of a true political wonk. She joined the College Republicans and interned for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, where she created an online mapping system of each visit he made to every country diner or fire hall across the state.

But college opened new doors, too. Musgrave wrote a food column for the student newspaper. She was a deejay on WGRE, the campus radio station. She majored in classical studies and was named to Eta Sigma Phi, the national honorary classical fraternity. Musgrave argues that classical studies is political science, however. She says it's just not current.

"Plato, Aristotle – these are the founding beliefs of American government," she says. "I remember being in my freshman seminar and thinking, 'This is perfect.'"

As a classical studies major, Musgrave reveled in learning about the foundations of Western civilization with professors who brought the ancient world to life.

"During my sophomore year, [Associate Professor of Classical Studies] Pedar Foss wanted to teach us the brilliance behind Roman battle strategies, and what better way than to actually give us swords?" she says. "Our 'legion' marched onto the battlefield that was Bowman Park, where our 'legionnaire' gave us armor, shields, and swords. We spent the next hour learning how to properly hold a gladius and how to march in formation. Since that afternoon, I've never forgotten just how amazing the Roman army was."

Roman-like orderliness and efficiency is now Musgrave's foremost concern. This spring, she began work as an operations coordinator at Scale Computing in Indianapolis through the Governor Bob Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship. Musgrave is one of five members of the Class of 2011 – with Abigail K. Wilson, Alec C. Synnestvedt, Sally M. Reasoner and Breana A. Buchler – chosen for the fellowship, which places recent graduates in Indiana host companies.

Like other Orr hosts, Scale Computing is relatively young, having been founded in 2007, but growing quickly and keen to innovate.

"The atmosphere here is a hotbed for creative productivity," Musgrave says. "Nothing beats the feeling of waking up every morning and loving going in to work."

Of course, politics still plays an important role in her life. She was elected treasurer of the Indiana Federation of College Republicans in May, and she was recently named one of Indiana's Top 25 Under 25 in politics by HoosierAccess.com. But Musgrave is happy to work behind the scenes the same way she always has.

"By helping to keep the inner cogs working on campaigns, I meet and help so many people," she says. "That in itself is rewarding for me."

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