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Westchester College Students Gain Campaign Experience

Scarsdale, Yorktown, Rye Brook and Rye students did summer internships with a candidate for Westchester Family Court.

By Sally-Ann Coash.

Seven Westchester college students have been spending the summer interning for Patricia O'Callaghan, who is running for Westchester County Family Court Judge. The election is on November 2. These young men and women are getting an education in what it takes to run a political campaign.

Shea Tomlinson, from Bedford, is a sophomore at Syracuse University and is a Civil Engineer major. Shea explains that she struggled to find a job and has always been interested in politics. This seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about campaigning. "I've really learned a lot about the political process and am possibly considering a career in politics in the future." Shea's computer skills have been an asset to the campaign as she manages the master list of contacts.

Caroline Holleran, a Rye Brook resident and a senior at Fairfield University, is studying communications. She is working with campaign events and is happy to learn more about a field she knew nothing about. "This is great experience because one day I would like to work in event planning." Caroline has been the scheduler of events, in charge of getting directions, organizing the volunteers for the events and keeping the candidate's schedule.

Kyle Landy, raised in Rye, attends Manhattanville College in Purchase, as a senior Sociology major. He states that he has always had an interest in politics, as his grandfather was a judge in Westchester. "This job seemed like a great summer opportunity with flexible hours, and there is really so much to be learned working with new media, like Twitter and Facebook."

Madeline Burbank, a recent graduate from Greenwich Academy from Bedford, will be attending Richmond University in the fall. She is uncertain what to study; because of her involvement in this campaign she may now chose to study Political Science.

In addition to the campaign Madeline will be traveling to China to volunteer at an orphanage. "Tricia's hard work has been an inspiration to me."

Ritanch Hans, a sophomore at American University from Scarsdale, has worked on Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign when he was just a junior in high school. He is able to be more involved in various activities in this campaign because of its size. "I now know how much work it takes to run a campaign."

Maura Reilly of Mt. Vernon is a recent graduate of George Washington University and received a degree in International Affairs. Maura thinks, "Although it seems that the skills learned from a campaign would not be directly applicable to a job, the opposite is true. Being able to work under pressure and being able to connect with people are two skills that campaign workers develop."

Callie Scambos of Katonah is a senior at Fairfield University. She met Tricia while doing a summer internship for Westchester County and became interested in the race. Callie has decided to work as a paralegal after the election while she goes through the law school admissions process. Callie manages the office, organizing mailings and campaign materials. Callie has always been drawn to legal issues and this campaign is helping her decide if law is a career path she wants to take.

These college students filled out numerous applications for summer employment. The available jobs were not there until they found this assignment. All of Tricia's interns have worked very hard this summer. They have come away with a new respect for what it takes for a candidate to run for office and this kind of team effort is a great experience for everyone involved.

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