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UMass Lowell Students to Attend Presidential Inauguration

Front-Row Seat to History Awaits Political Science and English Majors

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Five UMass Lowell students will attend the presidential inauguration while spending two weeks in the nation's capital through the university's partnership with The Washington Center.

01/09/2017

Media contacts:  Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu                   

LOWELL, Mass. – An aspiring civil rights lawyer, a journalist-in-training who is the first person in her family to go to college and a diehard Hillary Clinton supporter who wants to pursue a career in politics will be among the UMass Lowell students to attend the inauguration when Donald Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president. 

The Jan. 20 event at the U.S. Capitol will be witnessed by multitudes across the globe. Five UMass Lowell students will be there in person, thanks to the university’s partnership with The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, an organization that prepares young people for leadership roles in public service, private industry and the nonprofit sector. The center’s “Can We Elevate Political Discourse?” program will engage students in classroom and networking sessions with elected leaders, policy experts and media professionals that will introduce them to the inner-workings of the nation’s capital. With the inauguration as its finale, the program runs from Jan. 8 through Jan. 21.

“The nonprofit Washington Center offers this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for college students to completely immerse in the transition of power, which is a hallmark of American democracy,” said Frank Talty, UMass Lowell liaison to the center who is the assistant dean of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and co-directs UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion. “Regardless of individuals’ political leanings and party identification, the peaceful transition of power – particularly when one party passes it off to another – is an exceptional story and one that these UMass Lowell students will experience up close and personal.”

Through the center, Talty, a faculty member in UMass Lowell’s Political Science Department, has taught classes and supervised UMass Lowell student interns who have worked at national Republican and Democratic conventions in 2008, 2012 and this past summer, when Clinton and Trump were nominated as their party’s candidate for president.

Two UMass Lowell students who participated in Washington Center internships during the Democratic National Convention in July will be among those who will have a front-row seat to history on Inauguration Day.

“At the convention, I got an inside look at the role of the media in politics, the way democracy plays out in an election and how vocal people are about issues they are passionate about,” said Adeja Crearer, an English major who gained invaluable experience toward her goal of becoming a broadcast journalist when she interned during the event with Agence France-Presse, the third largest news agency in the world.

“I am sure people at the inauguration will be just as vocal. This is a huge stage for me so early in my career and I cannot wait to apply this experience to my work after I graduate,” she said. 

Along with Crearer, who is from Piscataway, N.J., UMass Lowell students participating in the program are:

  • Amie Bonsaint, a political science major from Peabody planning a career in family law who is eager to learn about Trump’s administration and policy positions; 
  • Jessica Kergo, a Woburn resident who is double majoring in political science and English who completed an internship this summer with the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and campaigned for Republican state Senate candidate Susan LaPlante of Lawrence; 
  • Pamela Martinez, a political science major from Miami, Fla., who is a member of UMass Lowell’s award-winning Mock Trial Team and aspires to become a civil-rights lawyer; 
  • David Todisco, a political science major from Medford who this summer worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign, interned for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and completed an internship with NBC News at the Democratic National Convention. 

Along with attending the inauguration and visiting Washington, D.C. landmarks, the students will learn about national policy issues from lawmakers, scholars and journalists and participate in a simulation exercise about the federal budget led by the Concord Coalition. The organization advocates for fiscal responsibility and was founded by the late Sens. Paul Tsongas of Lowell and Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, along with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson.

UMass Lowell’s partnership with The Washington Center spans more than two decades and has provided hundreds of students with internships in the capital that afford them academic credit and experiential education. In 2015, UMass Lowell received the center’s Public Institution of the Year Award in recognition of its commitment to the program. Students attending this month’s events were selected based on academic qualifications and recommendations and received scholarships to participate from the UMass Lowell College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,500 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu