How successful have you been since receiving your master's degree in political science at UConn? Would you say you've been (a) very successful, (b) somewhat successful, or (c) not particularly successful?
For Lydia Saad '97 M.A., senior editor at the Gallup Organization in Princeton, N.J.--one of the world's oldest and most widely recognized public opinion surveys firms--the answer is an unqualified (a).
Saad has produced, written and interpreted hundreds of opinion polls, and has written dozens of essays on polling, public opinion and politics.
Her introduction to Gallup was through a temporary assignment working on 1992 presidential election surveys where she "learned the ropes." Quickly establishing her credentials as a skilled research analyst, Saad was offered a permanent post at Gallup and, by 1995, had been promoted to managing editor, one of three editors responsible for producing the Gallup Poll and a host of other surveys.
After returning from maternity leave in 2000, Saad assumed the position of senior editor where she is now responsible for producing the Gallup Poll Social Series--a trend-based survey "on subjects we cover in depth, such as what people think of the economy, health care, or foreign policy."
Prior to working at Gallup, Saad worked as a research assistant at the State Capitol in Hartford, Conn., and for John Rowland's first campaign for governor. During that time, she also pursued a master's degree in political science at UConn.
Saad had searched for a "practical program" that could promote her career, explaining that UConn's political science department--and its connection to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research--offered exactly the program she desired.
"I learned a great deal at UConn," she notes. "How to draft objective surveys, select a random sample, and analyze and interpret results. I had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Everett Ladd, who was then head of the Roper Center. His idealism was contagious. He believed that polling is a vital part of the democratic process. That very same philosophy is shared by the people at Gallup.
"Today, there are many schools that focus on public opinion studies, but the University of Connecticut," she adds, "is considered one of the best in the field."
-- John Surowiecki of UConn Magazine