Alvernia Students Experience Political Conventions


Seven students and one faculty member from Alvernia University took part in 2016 national political conventions through The Washington Center this summer. The experience was part of two-week programs that connect college students to key organizations before and during the Republican and Democratic National conventions. Students work behind the scenes, hear from major guest lecturers, complete relevant coursework and fieldwork assignments.

Alvernia students at the Republican National Convention included junior forensic science major Kaitlin Griel, Leola, Pa., who worked with the convention committee to check credentials and coordinate accommodations for major convention participants. Senior criminal justice major Delaney Reynolds, Dickson City, Pa., worked with Reuters photographers and junior occupational therapy major Mikaela Mastromatto, Ambler, Pa., worked with Free Speech TV — a non-profit news outlet for which she interviewed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“I had the opportunity of working with the camera crew to interview people inside the perimeter,” said Mastromatto. “The interns would rotate in the various jobs including working the camera, asking questions, and finding people to interview.”

In addition Mastromatto took part in behind-the-scenes technical work, and wrote an interview article. From Media Row, she watched the state delegates vote, and witnessed speeches given by Mike Pence; Ivanka, Melania and Donald Trump; Rudy Giuliani and Ted Cruz.

“The highlight of my trip was being on the floor during Ted Cruz's speech and Donald Trump making a surprise appearance at the end,” said Mastromatto. “Overall, it was a life changing experience and amazing adventure.”

Photo: DNC and RNC convention 2016

Pictured: Mastromotto (left) during the Ted Cruz speech, DNC participants (upper right) and RNC participants (lower right).

During the Democratic Convention, Alvernia students Allison Antonini (Pottstown, Pa., master's candidate) and Carolyn Stabile (Baltimore, Md., occupational therapy) worked with CNN, while Marisa Schutz (Spring Grove, Pa., political science) was paired with Fox News, and Marisa Gittelman (Collegeville, Pa., psychology) worked with CBS.

Stationed with CNN, Antonini was able to work with many of the station’s crew and news commentators. “I learned a lot of about television production and how much goes into creating such a large event and making it look easy.”

Dr. Jodi Radosh, a member of the Alvernia communication faculty, also took part in the Democratic convention and taught a seminar through The Washington Center program.

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves hundreds of colleges and universities around the globe by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C., for academic credit. The largest program of its kind, The Washington Center has more than 50,000 alumni who have become leaders in numerous professions and nations around the world. Students interested in taking part in a Washington Center experience should contact Alvernia's O'Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service.

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