Student works on Hillary For America campaign


Beatrice Cahill-Camden, a junior international relations major, shakes Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s hand. Cahill works on Clinton’s campaign as a Correspondence Intern, where her main duties involve connecting with voters.

Erin Zaranec

Most students move to New York to experience the glitz and glam of The Big Apple, to search for celebrities in the Upper East Side or to window shopping in stores most can’t afford.

For Beatrice Cahill-Camden, a junior international relations major, it meant gaining experience working on the nation’s most controversial election to date.

Not only is it the first election Cahill-Camden can vote in, but she took her civic duties a step further by interning with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s Hillary for America campaign as a correspondence intern. Stationed in Brooklyn, New York, she has been working at Clinton’s national campaign headquarters since summer 2016.

“When Hillary Clinton announced that she was running for president, I was ecstatic and immediately joined the Grassroots efforts in downtown Cleveland,” Cahill-Camden said. “That was over a year ago, which seems so crazy looking back at everything that has happened since.”

After learning about internships with the Clinton campaign, Cahill-Camden began applying for student internship positions across the country. She never thought she would end up working in the heart of it all, with teams of other college students from various concentrations who all have the same goal in mind: getting the first female president in the White House.

“I love working at the headquarters because I get to see all of the other departments at work,” Cahill-Camden said. “(There are) teams who provide the amazing commercials (seen on television), and fashion designers who work on the merchandise.”

In her third year at Kent State, Cahill-Camden has opted out of academic courses for the fall 2016 semester. Instead, she’s earning her required internship credits during the time with the campaign — a trend that is common among the other students she works with.

“I’m learning a massive amount during this internship at such a rapid pace, just as much as I would be learning if I was taking regular classes at school,” Cahill-Camden said. “Also, because this campaign always keeps everyone on their toes, I really need to stay caught up with all the current events, which requires constant reading and watching of the news – I’ve never felt so informed with today’s world.”

During her first two years at Kent State, Cahill-Camden served as the senator of the Honors College on Undergraduate Student Government, and was a founding member of the Student Diversity Action Council. While taking courses in the Honors College, Cahill-Camden met Valentino Zullo, an English graduate student who was working as a teaching assistant in one of her courses.

When it came time to apply to work on the Clinton campaign, Zullo was not only a source of support for Cahill-Camden, but wrote her recommendation to join the Hillary For America team.

“She already understands that knowledge of political science is elevated by the deep critical thought cultivated in the humanities,” Zullo said. “Her understanding of the skills granted by the navigation between the two fields is evident in her work in the classroom, which I believe helped her stand out when she applied as an intern … perhaps what is most striking, though, is not just her knowledge, but that Beatrice has demonstrated a deep empathy and conviction for social justice in her work in art and politics.”

As a correspondence intern, Cahill-Camden has the unique opportunity to connect with voters from all parties. While the majority of her work is confidential, general tasks include reaching out to voters who are undecided and registered with parties and hearing the stories of constituents.

Each letter sent into the campaign is vetted by the correspondence team — giving Cahill-Camden an inside look into the lives of immigrant families, children and college students who write to Clinton.

She is also responsible for reading and processing letters from Clinton’s youngest fans.

“I think that this campaign experience has taught me a lot about (the) American experience; I get the opportunity to connect with a lot of different types of voters and their families. I can’t think of another time that I will have this opportunity,” Cahill-Camden said.

A priority of Clinton’s is to travel to as many cities as possible, according to Cahill-Camden.

Because of this, she said, the campaign team spends every day “connecting with people who deserve to have their letter or email read.”

“Reading these stories will forever change my perspective, and this insight will influence the rest of my life,” Cahill Camden said.

While this election season has been unpredictable and has had controversy at every turn, Cahill-Camden said she has seen firsthand how supportive and loving a campaign team can be. Even when the election cycle is rough, she said her work environment is never anything but positive.

“It’s rewarding every day to work with people who are equally passionate about our country. This election is the first election I’ve been able to vote in, and I think it’s the most important election of my time,” she said. “The stakes are so high, and it is fantastic to work with people who realize this and will work tireless to beat the opposition and to elect the first woman president.”

For most students, the spring semester is a busy time. But for Cahill-Camden, a return to Kent State and life as a student may mean her schedule will slow down. Her internship schedule is unpredictable, and a day’s work isn’t necessarily done when the clock hits 5 p.m., leading to lots of late nights in the office.

“I believe that Beatrice’s experience will enhance her education because the HFA internship, so early in her career, allows her to recognize her own strengths, but also helps her to recognize what she still needs to learn,” Zullo said. “She can now spend the final years of her academic career exploring new ideas and refining her skills. It is important that she has had this experience, and I hope she can take pride in assisting a presidential candidate in the most important election of our lives.”

After graduating from Kent State, Cahill-Camden said she hopes to go to law school, but is open to the thought of working on another campaign.

“I think to work on a national political campaign, there are attributes needed in the people who work on it. I think first and foremost, you need to realize that the work is never done at the end of the day until your goal is accomplished,” Cahill-Camden said. “It’s like being a student, you could always study more and read more and go to office hours more. I learned at Kent State, in order to stand out, you really need to go above and beyond.”

Erin Zaranec is the entertainment editor, contact her at [email protected].