Interns score backstage credentials at DNC

The following story was featured here on the Queens University of Charlotte website, September 12, 2012:

Raulston Boger and Anna Kirwan had no idea what to expect when they received their DNC internship assignment from the Knight School of Communication. They were appointed to the DNC Host Committee, responsible for planning and executing the entire convention. Friday before the convention Anna said, “We have a training tomorrow and hopefully I’ll know more then. I have no idea what my schedule will be.” Little did they know they would soon have a front row view of the entire convention – an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.

“This convention is going to be the most open and accessible in history,” said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. That’s exactly what it turned out to be for Raulston and Anna. Just a few days into their internship, they were neck-deep in the convention buzz. Working from 8:30 a.m. until late at night, they escorted delegates and dignitaries from the security perimeter to Time Warner Cable Arena and the Charlotte Convention Center. They were in charge of getting the various guests to news sets or other meetings. “We escorted Stephanie Cutter, President Barack Obama’s deputy campaign manager, to each of the news agencies for briefings of the day’s events,” said Anna. The long hours certainly yielded perks.

Raulston and Anna found themselves with floor seats and backstage credentials to the featured DNC evening events at the arena, including the speeches given by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Former President Bill Clinton. Raulston says, “I was sitting behind the speech writers, watching them follow along. After Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker gave his address, his speech writer asked me for my opinion!”

Raulston and Anna were among more than one hundred Queens students assigned to various internships during the DNC. “We wanted our students to be connected to our city and to experience it at a unique point in its history,” said Dr. John McArthur, assistant professor and director of undergraduate programs for Queens’ Knight School of Communication. “We wanted to let the city serve as an urban laboratory during the convention.”

The Knight School cancelled classes for a week in order to allow its students this once-in-a-lifetime experiential learning opportunity. Dr. McArthur says, “The faculty of the Knight School voted unanimously to bring down the walls of our school during DNC 2012 to allow our students to learn together about the communicative power of events.” Raulston and Anna learned lessons ranging from the power of communication to personal growth.

Raulston says, “This was a once in a lifetime experience and I learned how to share it with others by tweeting. It just has a more powerful effect than talking about it after the fact.” Anna says, “It was a lot of work, but I didn’t even realize it because I wanted to do it. I learned that when you give things your all, you get the most out of it. “

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