An Unlikely Pollster Turned Most Valuable Pollster
Polling was probably the last thing on Mary Baker’s mind when she transferred to Marist College her Sophomore year. In fact, her interest in the The Marist Poll grew out of necessity. She needed an on-campus job. But, it was only a matter of time before Baker became hooked.
“Speaking with a lot of the respondents made me feel I was a part of the polling process. I felt a stronger connection…to politics in general,” says Baker.
However, the 21-year old Senior wasn’t satisfied with being an interviewer. She felt she could do more for The Marist Poll and pursued and received a promotion her Junior year.
“I had polled so many times prior to that I already felt I was a big part of the organization, and I felt I was knowledgeable enough to monitor other students,” she recalls.
Baker’s dedication doesn’t dwindle at the phone room door. A public relations major with a passion for travel and culture, Baker has acted as a student spokesperson for the poll, appearing on RNN, Cablevision’s “Meet the Leaders,” and WCBS Newsradio 880.
“Mary epitomizes what we look for in a student,” says Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho, “She’s bright, dedicated, eager to learn, and always goes the extra mile.”
The benefits, however, flow both ways. Baker is the first to tell you that her time at The Marist Poll has provided her with invaluable experience that she is confident will take her far in her professional endeavors.
“Working with the Marist Poll, you have to be professional as an interviewer.” Baker goes on to say, “It’s also important to have a good sense of humor and to have the type of personality where you can handle rejection. I think that’s something you find in the work force every day.”
The Marist Poll does present its own set of unique challenges and surprises. Baker notes she is often amused by the time people go to bed! She’s found some respondents often say they are asleep as early as seven o’clock while others are willing to schedule an interview after 10 P.M. And, of course, there are those who aren’t initially happy to be called at all.
Baker takes it all in stride. “After awhile, you come up with tactics to keep them on the phone. If that doesn’t work, you find a way to handle it and move on to the next interview.”
So, what’s next for this Marist Poll MVP? After graduation, Baker will cross the Atlantic and spend her summer in Galway, Ireland, where she will be working. Then, it’s back to the states in August when she’ll begin her job search in New York City.
But, no matter how far Mary Baker travels, one thing is for sure. She’ll always have fond memories of her time at The Marist Poll.
“To be completely honest,” Baker shares, “I think I will remember most the [MIPO] employees that I worked with and the friendships I formed.”
Watch Mary Baker on Cablevision’s “Meet the Leaders,” Hosted by Terence Michos: