Student ambassadors standing in front of ABC's logo on campus

This January, I had the incredible experience of serving as a production runner for ABC News as part of our school’s tradition of hosting the New Hampshire Primary Debate. Unfortunately, this election cycle marked an end to this historic 36-year-long streak. In spite of the cancellation of the Republican primary debate, I am so grateful for the abundance of meaningful connections and learning opportunities that ABC News, Saint Anselm College, and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics have given me over this primary season.

Serving as a Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador over the past four years allowed me the privilege of attending various events with high profile politicians and potential candidates leading up to the New Hampshire primary. This was my ultimate dream in attending a school with such close ties to the political cycle, and was the reason why I chose Saint Anselm College for my high-er education in the first place.

Tim Scott speaking at the NHIOP

Since the spring of 2022, as more notable figures visited the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) and held town halls, I have been able to get an insider’s peek at the current presidential race as it occurred in real time. Over the course of these two years, I was able to meet: former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, former Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Senator Tim Scott, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis. I also sat in on CNN’s Town Hall with former President Donald Trump after working with the news organization in May of 2023.

One memory that I look back on with pride is an interview I conducted with former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, prior to him announcing his candidacy for president. What appeared so daunting in theory was an incredible opportunity and experience with an individual eager to hear the questions and concerns of my generation. I discussed the current state of the Republican party, as well as Christie’s previous campaign cycle in 2016 and his past visits to the Institute. I am so grateful to my peers and mentors in the Ambassador program and at the NHIOP for encouraging me to take this opportunity and guiding me along the way. Christie even gave me a shoutout at the beginning of his Town Hall, after we had concluded our interview!

Jillian Dorazio '24 sitting on the set for the 2024 debate

This experience has, no doubt, ended differently than I would have hoped; it has also been so important for carving out my future plans. As Commencement looms in the near future for myself, I rest assured knowing my experiences as an ambassador, including serving as a production runner for NewsNation, CNN, and ABC News, have presented an immense amount of opportunities and connections.

The people that I have met along the way have also given me so much hope for my future in media production, public relations, communication, or live news reporting, especially as a young woman. I am especially grateful to Calla McLaughlin, a Production Manager and Operations Producer of ABC News Live, for showing me and my peers the incredible amount of work that goes into a single event; working in the spin room also gave me the opportunity to meet and discuss career ambitions with ABC executives on the Communications team, which is the area I am most interest-ed in pursuing post-graduation. I will forever look up to these people who guided me throughout this incredible process, which was handled with grace, friendliness, and professionalism even in the most disappointing of circumstances.

While the sadness of what could have been is certainly palpable, so is the inspiration of these individuals to whom I owe my extreme gratitude. This past primary season was certainly unpredicta-ble, but it was so incredibly exciting and rewarding having a front row seat to the significant process.