Trinity College Students Getting Involved in National Political Campaigns

Legislative Internship Program Leads to Work with Presidential Candidate

Hartford, Connecticut, March 15, 2016 – In the busy 2016 election season, some Trinity College students are finding ways to contribute to national political campaigns.

​Trinity College students Elaine Kissel '16 (above) and Emily Mooney '16 (below) with Hillary Clinton. Courtesy photos

Elaine Kissel ’16 and Emily Mooney ’16 worked on the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, helping to plan events and assisting Clinton in getting the support of local officials. “It was inspiring to see [Clinton] on her toes answering the needs of real people,” Kissel said. “It was valuable to see this type of on-the-ground politics in action.”

Dylan Callahan ’16 worked for the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2015. “The communication skills I have learned in my time at Trinity were important because we were always responding to people, whether it was through e-mails or on the phone,” Callahan said.

Students may also choose to explore politics through Trinity’s Legislative Internship Program (LIP), which provides hands-on internships that allow students to engage legislators in Connecticut. Enrollment in such internship opportunities expands on classroom experience by connecting field work with a weekly seminar led by a Trinity faculty member. Students work with members of the Connecticut General Assembly, allowing them to prepare for careers in politics and government.

The LIP has been run by Diana Evans, professor of political science, since 1981. Evans teaches a weekly seminar consisting of readings, class discussion and debate, and analytical papers that directly correlate to the students’ legislative work. She believes that the LIP shows students how a cohesive team can work together to make public policy. “This is an increasingly important lesson in citizenship in an era of public alienation and cynicism, when at the national level, we see less and less of a functioning legislative process,” Evans said.

While the program is offered to all students, most participants are pursuing majors in political science. Though Kissel and Mooney did not obtain the internships with the Clinton campaign through the LIP, both students were referred to a Trinity alumnus involved with the campaign because of their work as interns for the program in past semesters. Evans contacted Kissel and Mooney, and they flew to Nevada to work with Luke McCarthy ’94 on Clinton’s campaign throughout the month of January.

The Legislative Internship Program is available in the spring semester for both full-time (40 hours) and part-time (20 hours) opportunities. Interested students can find more information here.

Written by Liz A. Boyhan ’18