At a Glance

Year: '96
Major: Political Science

Political Science BA

As a political science major, you will gain the knowledge and skills to engage in the complex realm of national and international politics.

In March 2019, Keri Hobbs Sibley ’96 got a call from a friend who had worked for former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden. He asked, “What are you doing tomorrow?”

Hobbs Sibley, a former political science major who lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, with her husband and three children, said her only plan was to go to Target. 

“Can you pick Jill up tomorrow at the airport in Charlotte [North Carolina] and drive her to Asheville?” the friend asked. Hobbs Sibley was nonplussed. “Jill who?” she asked. “Jill Biden,” he said. Hobbs Sibley didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely!” she replied.

She spent the next day accompanying Biden, and on the way back to the airport, Biden said, “‘Keri, if my husband announces that he’s going to run [for president], will you join our team?’” Hobbs Sibley recalls. “I said, ‘Yes ma’am!’”

When Joe Biden announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination a couple of weeks later, Hobbs Sibley’s life was transformed. She served on the Biden 2020 advance team, ordering staging and lighting for campaign events, working with local partners and the media, and coordinating with the Secret Service. 

Hobbs Sibley credits her political science classes at UMass Lowell with teaching her how to speak up while respecting people with differing views. A native of Kingston, Massachusetts, she met lifelong friends—including her best friend—through UML student organizations.

As an undergraduate, Hobbs Sibley interned for Massachusetts Sen. Dan Lahey, and she worked for him after graduation. Next, she worked in human resources for Citibank, including in London, where she and her husband, Steven Sibley, met. 

The couple eventually moved to South Carolina, and Hobbs Sibley stayed home to raise their three children.

But, when she first met Jill Biden, those children were 9, 10 and 13, and Hobbs Sibley was ready to go back to work, using all her event planning, political and people skills. “I’ll keep doing this as long as I can,” she vows. “It is truly an honor.”

Since Biden’s inauguration, she’s worked as a member of the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance for the president and first lady, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentlemen Doug Emhoff. She travels both nationally and internationally—often on Air Force One—to destinations including Seoul, Tokyo, Bangkok, Brussels, Berlin and Ghana. 

Every event has been wonderful, she says. But those that involve visits to college campuses and the U.S. military are her favorites. 

“One of the events that really hit me: I did the 20th anniversary of 9/11 at the Flight 93 memorial” in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, “on a day when the first and second couples visited all three crash sites,” she says. “We’re meeting with the families of these murdered people, and … every one of us was crying.”