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Pelham High Grad to Work at DNC through UMass Program

Sarah Chapman, 22, a political science major from Pelham, is working at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Sarah Chapman, 22, a political science major from Pelham, is working at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week. The work is part of a partnership between her school, UMass Lowell, and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.

07/25/2016
Eagle-Tribune
By Ray Carbone

PELHAM — For Sarah Chapman, the path to political involvement started with political science classes she enjoyed at UMass Lowell. Then, the women's health organization Planned Parenthood lost funding in New Hampshire. 

"I don't know anyone in Planned Parenthood, or someone who works for them, but I think it's an important organization (that) provides health services around the country for women," she said.

“I just felt like that – well, at this point, there's not much I can do about that,” Chapman recalled. "But, in the future...”

With some zeal, the 22-year-old began working on issues that are commonly associated with the Democratic Party.

This week, she's in the heart of the action.

Thanks to a program that partners UMass Lowell students with the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, Chapman is in Philadelphia, working at the Democratic National Convention.

To prepare, she and the other 140 interns in the program have been at Temple University for more than a week, listening to lectures from political experts and participating in panel discussion about popular issues.

“There's been a broad range of speakers and subjects,” she said. "But we also got to explore the city, too. We got to see the Liberty Bell and all the historical Philadelphia stuff, as well.”

On Friday, Chapman visited the Wells Fargo Center, where the convention begins today, Monday, July 25.

But that's likely all she'll see of the venue. 

The Pelham High graduate is stationed at a hotel during the three-day convention, assigned to support delegates in any way she can.

 “I've been told that I have to be ready for whatever the delegation wants, to do whatever they want me to do,” she reported. “There's always something that might come up that they might need, so the advice is to go with the flow, be ready for anything.”

That could mean setting up for a group party or providing needed resources for a delegate.

“A great opportunity might come up,” said Chapman, who will be graduating from UMass in December. "I'm hoping, during my down-time or whatever, to be able to talk with the staffers, or even the delegates, to find out what they do, and how they got to do what they're doing. Maybe even find out about an internship or a job or something good about education."

Chapman and the other students are scheduled to head back home early Friday morning, just hours after the convention adjourns.

And she's coming back to New Hampshire with a renewed sense of purpose. 

“My goal is go to law school, and I hope I can change things,” she said.