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Students intern at National Conventions

October 6, 2016 Tags: Academics , Arts and Humanities , University News

Two students, two different majors, two different passions, two different goals, and the same experience of a lifetime: interning at the National Conventions. Meet Amanda Schiavo and Harry Olafsen and see how they experienced the National Conventions, gaining knowledge that will shape their futures.

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History & Political Science at SFU

Interning at the Republican National Convention

Amanda Schiavo, a senior majoring in communications and minoring in pre-law, spent two weeks in Cleveland, Ohio completing an internship perfect for her studies: an intern for Fox News at the Republican National Convention (RNC).

With a passion for writing, history and politics, Amanda jumped on the opportunity to apply for an internship with the Washington Center. Through a competitive process, Amanda was chosen to intern at the RNC.

Traveling to Cleveland a week before the convention began, Amanda participated in academic seminars and familiarized herself with the city. When it was time to begin her fieldwork placement, the coordinator spoke of the opportunity to intern with Fox News, CNN or MSNBC. Amanda eagerly requested Fox News “because it is ‘their’ convention.”

National Conventions_Amanda_InTextDay one of the convention and her fieldwork placement came quickly, and the change it brought to the city was obvious. Security was heightened with police officers multiplied throughout the city and military snipers hidden on the top corners of almost every building. Amanda arrived and passed through the Secret Service checkpoint, where she was escorted to the Fox News location. Arriving at the Fox News location, she quickly recognized the organized chaos as the “media row” and the floor was set up. Watching, helping, and engaging in the set-up for the convention, Amanda was thrilled, but her day did not end there. She was invited to a media and delegate only welcome party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“My night concluded with a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and watching the fireworks on the top floor balcony,” shared Amanda. “I found myself throughout the day thanking God for the experience I was given at this incredible, historic event.”

The days went on and Amanda gained a variety of experiences and knowledge through her internship. Interning at different times of the day depending on the convention; attending parties and gaining the experience and insight of people’s reactions to discovering she was working for the media—while it made some want to talk to her, it turned others away for fear she would report something—meeting Fox News, CNN and MSNBC employees; greeting show guests; and even collecting sound bites which were used in a report for “America’s Talking,” featured on a weekend show in New York, Amanda’s experience was extraordinary.

Describing her internship, Amanda shared the following:

“Overall, I barely ate… I walked…ran… about 15,000 steps and loved every single moment.

I cannot express enough gratitude for this experience and to the FOX News Radio team for treating me as one of their own. I have made many connections, and even received an offer for an internship with FOX in the spring of 2017.

I have this feeling that I am right where I am supposed to be. I was made for this.”

Read more about Amanda’s day-to-day internship experiences

Read more about Amanda and her time at Saint Francis

Interning at the Democratic National Convention

Harry Olafsen, a junior English and history double major, spent two weeks in Philadelphia in July interning with Emerge America at the Democratic National Convention. With a strong passion for progressive causes and social movements, such as women’s equality and Black Lives Matter, Harry excelled in his placement with the interest group.

Emerge America is the world’s largest organization that trains and supports Democratic women running for public office. It provides a seven-month, 70-hour program for aspiring female leaders who want to elevate themselves in the political system.

“I was really happy to get to work with a women’s rights organization because that is something that I hold very close to me,” Harry said. “It was really cool because [my mom and sister] basically raised me because my dad was always working, so I want to give back to them. I want to help them. There is this disadvantage for women in society that is evident in politics, and I want to use what privilege I have to help them.”

National Conventions_Harry_InTextTraveling to Philadelphia a week before the convention began, Harry attended academic seminars with different speakers from all around the country. He also had the opportunity to attend and assist with Political Fest, a fun and informational event designed to educate the general public on the ins and outs of the political system in America.

When the DNC finally began, Harry was assigned to work at an Emerge America information booth at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where he reached out to delegates and community members who were stopping by. In addition, he was also assigned to pass out information about Emerge America at several caucus events including the Women’s Caucus, the Black Caucus, the LGBTQ Caucus, and the Youth Council, where he met politicians and activists such as Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker, Eva Longoria, and Donna Brazile.

During his time away from the booth, Harry, who is a self-proclaimed liberal Democrat, set out to participate in several protests that were taking place around the city. He marched down the street with Black Lives Matter, a protest that he says was completely peaceful and very successful. He also found himself being pulled into the “World’s Largest Hug” by actress Shailene Woodley as he made his way past City Hall one day.

“Honestly, my time at the DNC was one of the best experiences I have ever had. If I could do it again, I would go back in a heartbeat,” Harry said. “There were a lot of cool events and a lot of things that I got to do that I wouldn’t get to do here or experience other places, so I’m very thankful for my time there.”

Read more about Harry and his time at Saint Francis 

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