Dylan Giambatista will be the first to tell you that high school was not his thing.
“School was never easy for me. As a young person coming of age in Vermont, I struggled,” he explains. “It wasn’t that I didn’t see the value in education. I just wanted to do other things.”
Dylan had a natural knack for music. When not dodging school, he was teaching himself to play guitar and drums. At age 16, he dropped out of school to try his luck in the music industry — and got lucky. He won a national songwriting contest and performed in major markets throughout North America with several several big-name punk bands. Somewhere along the way, however, his love of the stage gave way to the lore of politics.
It began with a gift from his mother: a biography of Abraham Lincoln. Soon a stack of history books piled up next to his guitars and drums, and he was spending more time in the library than with his music. Machiavellian theory replaced microphones. “Gibson” was no longer the name on his guitar but a one-time Vermont political dynasty. He stayed in the music scene off and on for the next couple of years, playing guitar with the punk-rock band Rough Francis, then gave it up, realizing it was time to head back to school.
Dylan came to Johnson State after earning his associate’s degree in liberal arts in 2010 from the Community College of Vermont, a member of the Vermont State College system like JSC. He transferred to Johnson with one goal in mind: to study Vermont history with Professor Bill Doyle, Vermont’s senior state senator.
“Why Bill Doyle?” he asks rhetorically. “I love history and politics. When I’m not working, I read. When I read, it’s all politics.” Who better than Bill Doyle to nurture that passion and set him on his career path?
Dylan not only studied with Professor Doyle, by the end of his first semester he decided his major would be political science. He became active and engaged on campus and off, paving the way to several leadership positions. In his second semester, he became an Ellsworth scholar and interned with the Vermont State Employees Association. On campus, he served in student government and was a teaching assistant in Professor Doyle’s “American Politics and Government” course.
The internship he completed that first year at JSC led to several opportunities in Vermont politics and government. He first landed a job working with Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan, followed by a gig on the successful re-election campaign for State Treasurer Beth Pearce. After graduating, Dylan was brought on as Pearce’s executive assistant in the State Treasurer’s Office. And that position got him to where he landed in fall 2014: chief of staff for Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith.
Dylan credits his success to his unconventional life story — and to his experience at JSC. “It sharpened my commitment to public service,” he says. “I gained entrance into a world I had only read about. Now I get to help shape history every day.”