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History Major Attends Historic DNC

8/3/16

While much of the country watched the Democratic National Convention (DNC) from their living rooms, Amber Coombe ’17 of Mystic, Conn., was in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. She joined students from across the country through The Washington Center’s Academic Seminar to learn more about the political process and help ensure that the event ran smoothly.

The experience, according to the history major, was “truly transformative.” She was selected to participate last fall by MCLA’s history and political science professors, who gave her the option of selecting either the Republican National Convention (RNC) or the DNC.

“Spending two weeks with like-minded individuals who care about politics and understand the historic importance of this election enabled me to discuss various aspects of this election I had not considered before,” she said. “Not only did I learn more about the major issues facing each party – like immigration, foreign policy and health care – I learned more about myself as a leader and the role we all play in the political system.”

As part of the Access Control Team, Coombe worked with the DNC Committee and other students stationed throughout the convention center to ensure that those in attendance understood their credentials and what areas of the building they were allowed to access.

The opportunity provided one of the greatest learning experiences of her life, Coombe said, as she discussed major issues and the complexities of politics, and learned alongside her peers.

“Furthermore,” she added, “the chance to be a part of this historic convention was beyond surreal.”  

Coombe, who aspires to the United States Senate, said attending the DNC, as well as women’s caucus meetings, reinforced her desire to go into politics.

“After listening to amazingly successful women like Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and many others, this ambition has only grown. Not only have these incredible women inspired me to pursue a career in politics, they showed me repeatedly that it is possible and it is necessary for women to get involved and get elected,” she said.

The best part of the convention, Coombe said, was when Hillary Clinton stepped on the stage to become the first woman from a major political party to accept the nomination for President of the United States.

“When she said, ‘The sky’s the limit when there are no ceilings,’ I realized how important it is for women in this country to see the glass ceiling shattered.”

Coombe, whose campus activities include serving as MCLA’s chapter president for the National Society of Leadership and Success – as well as a peer advisor, orientation leader and Admissions ambassador – said her experiences at the Academic Seminar and the DNC contributed greatly to her overall experiential learning outside of the classroom.

Despite her firsthand experience of the event, Coombes said that, in many ways, her thinking with regard to politics remains the same.         

“I think it is imperative that citizens express their right to vote and educate themselves about the major issues facing our nation,” she said. “It is important for people to understand their role in the political system by first understanding the system itself. What this experience has done, however, is to enhance my understanding of the major issues. It encouraged me to help others participate in politics.”