February 05, 2016
Communications and Marketing
Sophomore Cody Aubin assists Governor Jeb Bush prior to an interview at the NHIOP; Aubin interns for Bush's presidential campaign.
Just days from the NH Primary, the 2016 election is in full swing and Saint Anselm College students have made the most of the opportunities available to them this primary season.
In addition to meeting, greeting, and getting to know candidates, many of them have taken skills they learned in the classroom or working at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics to volunteer or intern for presidential campaigns.
Sophomore Brandon Pratt, a politics major was interning with Governor Chris Christie's campaign before the campaign was even officially announced, and in September he was named chair of the NH Students for Chris Christie. In addition to meeting with high school and college students to get them involved in politics, he also works the phone bank and does data collection.
"Seeing the growth of the campaign from April to now, where we'll see upwards of 400 people at an event is so great," says Pratt.
His experience has particularly demonstrated the importance New Hampshire plays in presidential elections. As Pratt says, "In New Hampshire, you can offer a proposal but you also have to know the people."
Pratt believes the NHIOP's Kevin Harrington Student Ambassador Program helped him to develop necessary professional skills.
"Working town halls and interacting with voters was second nature when I started my internship thanks to the ambassador program," he says.
Pratt is only one of several students putting their education to good use; Rachel Morel '16 and Madison Magels '19 also work for New Jersey Governor Christie's campaign. In addition, Anna Boris '18 and Brian O'Connor '16 are working for Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.); Cody Aubin '18 works for Florida Governor Jeb Bush; and Sarah King '18, Emily Rice '18, and Ashley Motta '17 are Fellows for Hillary for New Hampshire on Hillary Clinton's campaign. (Rice (center) and Motta (left) are pictured here with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.)
Students also credit much of their success working with campaigns to academic courses offered at Saint Anselm.
"I took Campaigns and Elections with Professor Galdieri last fall, and it provided me with insight into the real-world strategies that campaigns use, what works for them, and how they can track and use data to help with their goals," says Motta.
King believes her American Government course provided her with greater perception as well.
"We specifically talked about the campaign strategies used in 2012 and the logic behind those strategies. Now, I can see the same logic being applied as campaign strategies are being rolled out," says King.
This is experiential learning at its best, as Professor Christopher Galdieri, who also teaches a course on the New Hampshire Primary, explains: "Their experiences as volunteers and interns helped them learn course material, and their course material helped them do a better job on their campaign."