From as close as downtown Lynchburg to as far as Vietnam, Randolph students are applying the skills they learned behind the Red Brick Wall in exciting internships across the world this summer.
For this post, we asked global studies and sociology major Katie Godwin ’19 a few questions about her internship with the Matt Haggman for Congress political campaign in Miami, Florida.
What is your title or role in this internship and what kinds of things have you been doing?
For two months, I have been a communications and field fellow with the Matt Haggman for Congress Campaign in Miami, Florida. When I first arrived, I focused mostly on field work such as community outreach and educating voters in the district about Matt and why he is running for Congress. As time has gone by, I have taken on more communications roles such as social media posts and event planning. I also created a campaign calendar and have been put in charge of scheduling and choosing some of Matt’s public events. While staffing these events, much of our focus is placed on volunteer recruitment. After volunteers commit to coming into the office, the other fellows and I teach them to canvass and to contact potential voters and volunteers by phone.
How did you find out about this internship and why were you interested in it?
As a global studies major, it is important for me to stay informed about local and national politics, so I heard about Matt Haggman’s Congressional campaign through a news article. As I read more about him, I learned that he used to be a journalist with the Miami Herald and that he was the program director at the Knight Foundation, where he used to run programs for local entrepreneurs. As someone who has always been interested in journalism, I began reading some of Matt’s work and realized that he was definitely someone I wanted to work to put in Congress. As I needed another internship for my sociology major, I thought working with the Haggman Campaign would be a perfect opportunity for me to build my resume and complete my sociology project.
In what ways did Randolph prepare you? What new skills or information have you learned?
Being at Randolph has allowed me to meet many people who have worked on multiple campaigns and who have experience with federal politics, so many of my relationships prepared me for the experience. Because I am completing the fellowship for my sociology major, I was also able to bring many of the things I have learned at Randolph to the campaign. For instance, I am studying the ways different groups of people react to different types of campaign ads and public relations strategies, which will allow me to use what I observed on the campaign back at Randolph as well. I have learned the ins and outs of running an effective congressional campaign and have been able to try different communications strategies that I will be able to use in the future.
What are some of your most memorable moments, and what are some of your biggest takeaways from this experience?
The biggest takeaways from my fellowship will be the relationships I have gained and the networks of people that I have built. I loved that the whole experience was brand new, since I had never been to Miami before, and I did not know anyone with the campaign before going. Some of the best moments have been out canvassing and knocking on doors around the community because many of the voters really open up and try to give us a better understanding of how the congressional seat has affected them personally in the past and what changes they want to see made.
What are your long-term goals/career plans and how does this internship factor in?
I hope to run for office one day, so I want to take any opportunity that comes along to learn more about what voters need and how to run a successful campaign. Getting to know Matt and learning about how he went from a journalist to a congressional candidate has inspired me to remind others that anyone can make a difference. After I graduate, I would like to start out doing public relations and eventually work as an international journalist.
Did you receive a Jolley Mini Grant or RISE Grant? If so, what kind of impact did that have on your ability to do this internship?
My internship experience was funded by both the RISE and Jolley Mini Grants and without them, I would not have even thought about living in Miami for two months. The grants allowed me to purchase housing with the University of Miami and facilitated all my travel to and from work.
What’s your favorite thing about Randolph?
Randolph is a unique college that allows its students to pursue many different goals. My favorite parts about Randolph have been getting to know my professors and learning from each of them on a more personal level than other colleges offer.