Kent State Student Gains Political Experience Working on Presidential Campaign
For Kent State University international relations junior Beatrice Cahill-Camden, moving to New York meant more than just experiencing the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple —it meant gaining political experience at the national level.
During the 2016 election, Cahill-Camden worked as a correspondence intern on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Stationed in Brooklyn, New York, Cahill-Camden spent the fall semester of her junior year working at the campaign’s national headquarters.
Prior to her move to New York, Cahill-Camden joined the campaign during its early stages by getting involved at the local level.
“When Hillary Clinton announced that she was running for president, I was ecstatic and immediately joined the grassroots efforts in downtown Cleveland,” Cahill-Camden says. “That was over a year ago, which seems so crazy looking back at everything that has happened since.”
In the summer between her sophomore and junior year, Cahill-Camden applied for an internship with the Hillary For America team. Applying to locations across the country, Cahill-Camden says she would have never imagined she would end up at the national headquarters. After completing her summer role, Cahill-Camden was asked to stay on the campaign during her fall semester.
She was not enrolled in academic courses due to her heavy workload. Cahill-Camden completed her internship credit while working on the campaign.
“I learned a massive amount during this internship at such a rapid pace, just as much as I would have been learning if I was taking regular classes at school,” she says. “Also, because the campaign always kept everyone on their toes, I really needed to stay caught up with all the current events, which required constant reading and watching of the news — I’ve never felt so informed about today’s world.”
She worked with students from across the country, most of whom were taking time off academic courses to focus their efforts on the campaign. In Brooklyn, Cahill-Camden worked with everyone from fellow correspondence interns to fashion students who worked on Clinton’s merchandise.
For Cahill-Camden, the campaign functioned as a full-time job. On Election Day, Cahill-Camden worked almost a full 24-hour day. Starting her day at 5 a.m., she remained on the clock until leaving the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center around 3 a.m. the following day.
“I think to work on a national political campaign, people need certain attributes,” she says. “I think first and foremost, you need to realize that the work is never done at the end of the day, until your goal is accomplished. It’s like being a student; you could always study more and read more and go to office hours more. I learned at Kent State, in order to stand out, you really need to go above and beyond.”
In her role as a correspondence intern, Cahill-Camden was responsible for connecting with voters from both parties. She also read letters sent to the campaign, whether they were stories of immigrant families or stories from Clinton’s youngest fans.
During her first two years at Kent State, Cahill-Camden served as a representative on Kent State’s Undergraduate Student Government and served on the Student Diversity Action Council. She also was actively involved with Kent State’s Women’s Center and hopes to get involved with these organizations again upon her return to Kent State in the spring.
“Kent State is an amazing school,” she says. “I’m so proud of it, and I’m so proud to soon call it my alma mater. We have such a rich and important history, and it’s crucial to continue to be a politically active campus, and to stand up for what you believe in.”
Cahill-Camden will continue her political involvement by completing Kent State’s Washington Program in National Issues in spring 2017. She has secured an internship with World Central Kitchen, a charity founded by chef Jose Andres, who was a supporter of the Clinton campaign.
“At headquarters, I worked with some of the smartest, most caring people I have ever met, and this experience has changed my life forever,” Cahill-Camden says. “I will always be fighting for the causes that Hillary has been fighting for. She is my inspiration and role model, and I will continue to look up to her.”