Academics

Paterno Fellow, political science major takes active role in election

As part of her internship, Madison Lapetina created a newsletter to promote the Centre County Democratic Committee’s “Day of Action” on Aug. 30, 2020. Credit: Provided by Madison LapetinaAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Political science major Madison Lapetina has spent the last six months preparing for the presidential election. The Paterno Fellow, who is minoring in French and business and the liberal arts, interned with the Centre County Democratic Committee (CCDC) where she led a social and digital media task team of more than 30 volunteers.

During the first half of her internship, the Collegeville, Pennsylvania, native completed voter and donor research, wrote call scripts, worked phone banks, created newsletters and designed mailers. Halfway through the summer, she was given the opportunity to lead a task team in running the CCDC’s social media accounts, which included researching issues, creating digital content, developing strategies to spread the organization’s message and creating and following a social media schedule.

Lapetina has always wanted a career in politics but was never quite sure what facet of politics she wanted to pursue.

“This experience impacted my career goals immensely, and it showed me that I might want to pursue a career in campaigning,” she said. “I really enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the job, and I loved getting to work with volunteers, voters and candidates alike.”

Throughout the internship, Lapetina said, she was able to take what she has learned in her liberal arts classes and apply it to a real-life election. She used what she knew about game theory and campaigning from her classes to develop strategies to promote the endorsed candidates. She also used communication skills that she learned in her ethics classes to create calls to action. “This experience showed me how the concepts I learned in classes can be applied in real-life scenarios,” Lapetina said.

The Paterno Fellows Program also gave her the knowledge and coursework to really excel in this internship. “If it weren't for my honors and ethics coursework, I don't think my work with their social media would have been as effective.”

Last year, Lapetina was matched with an alumni mentor through the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program. Her mentor encouraged her to go for the internship opportunity, provided her with tips for her application, and helped her edit her résumé.

“This internship gave me the opportunity to advocate for what I believe in and influence others, which is extremely important to me. After I graduate, I would love to continue working in campaigning and social and digital media management and content creation.”

Throughout the internship, Lapetina was able to take what she’s learned in her liberal arts classes and apply them to a real-life election. Credit: Provided by Madison LapetinaAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated November 06, 2020

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