Juniata Admissions Magazine
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Beyond Convention

By: Genna Welsh Kasun '06

Issue: Winter 2013

Photo: Courtesy: Carrington Jones '13

As Mitt Romney accepted the Republican Presidential nomination, Morgan Dux '13 stood on the floor of the Tampa Bay Time Forum stadium, balloons sinking toward her feet. A few hours before, Carrington Jones '13 posed for a picture with Newt Gingrich and another with Karl Rove. A week later, Evelyn Edwards '13 witnessed Michelle Obama's stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention.

In total, 10 Juniata students attended the national political conventions this fall and they didn't just observe. I did access—control field work, checking credentials, says Evelyn Edwards '13, who allowed Michelle Obama's brother to pass through security. I learned to get out of my shell and talk to people.

The trip was the final project for a course called Political Party Conventions, and, although students analyze politics, the kind of non-political learning that Edwards points out is a recurring theme.

Dux echoes Edwards: I had zero experience with public transportation, but I got used to that, and to passing through security eight times a day, Dux says. The 20-hour days made me ask myself, Is this something I can handle as a real job? and the answer is, Yes.

Dux's next step is the Washington Center— where many Juniata students study and intern in the nation’s capitol.

When looking for internships in Washington, I'll be able to say that I not only went to the convention, but worked at the convention and that I was one of the youngest students there, Dux adds.

And that isn't all. Dux and another Juniata student, Derrick Magnotta, had opinion essays published in regional newspapers in which they shared their convention experiences and revelations.

Dennis Plane, a Juniata professor of politics, sums up the trip: It's an intense experience for the students and an intense experience for me.

For more information on students' convention experiences, visit their blogs at JC GOP Convention or JC Democratic Convention