Meet Abigail (Abby) Theobald ’22, Co-chair of the Ambassador Program’s Civic Engagement Committee

May 3, 2022

By Grace Trabucchi '23

Abigail (Abby) Theobald ‘22 is a senior double major in politics and sociology with a minor in environmental studies from Lyman, Maine. She serves as a Co-chair of the Civic Engagement Committee for the Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador Program.

As the Co-chair of the Civic Engagement Committee for the Kevin B. Harrington Ambassador Program, what kinds of events do you plan?

As Co-chair of the Civic Engagement Committee, I help plan events that pertain to voting and youth participation in democracy. The committee is responsible for Constitution Month, which is September. We help with the 9/11 memorial, Constitution Day, and National Voter Registration Day! Additionally, we have an event series called "Pizza and Politics" that involves a featured speaker and pizza. We invite a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds to speak at these events. Most recently, we had Matt Leahy from the Society for the Protection for NH Forests who came and chatted with students about climate policy.

You are currently presenting your senior thesis at both on and off-campus conferences. What conferences? Can you tell us what your thesis was about, and what drove you to study that topic?

My thesis is titled, "An Analysis of the Relationship Between Environmental Racism and Voter Turnout in Black Communities in the United States." The reason I chose this topic is because my research interests include civic engagement, causes of institutional racism, and the environment! It seemed like an interesting conversion of the three and focuses on the term "environmental racism" that has only gained popularity in the last couple of decades, thanks to Dr. Robert Bullard. I have presented my thesis at the Eastern Sociological Society and the Midwest Political Science Association conferences, and I will be presenting at the New England Political Science Association conference in two weekends!

What was the biggest takeaway you got from presenting at these conferences?

Presenting at these conferences has allowed me to build confidence in critical professional skills, such as public speaking and the presentation of information in a concise manner. Many individuals have also approached me to discuss certain aspects of my study and ask questions that highlight connections between concepts that I may have never thought of on my own. Gaining this insight into how to better improve my study moving forward has been a phenomenal experience!

You also just concluded a 10-week public affairs internship with Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. What were your main responsibilities with that job, and did it help you decide what you want to do with your future career?

My internship with the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund was largely focused on communications, advocacy, and building community relationships. The public affairs team taught me critical skills that will help me in moving forward to find a post-graduate position. I am hoping to work in the non-profit sector in a community engagement aspect.

What are you going to miss the most about Saint Anselm after graduating in May?

I will miss the people that I have met at Saint Anselm most after my graduation next month. My roommates, professors, friends, and campus staff have made my experience so worthwhile. I chose this college for the sense of community it provided, and I was not disappointed.