Madison Fulcher-Melendy ’22

U.S. Congressman Richard Neal Campaign, Springfield, MA

Over the course of summer, I had the pleasure of interning on Congressman Richard Neal’s re-election campaign. This extremely rewarding experience gave me valuable insight into the inner workings and functioning of political campaigns. As an intern, I was principally tasked with making direct contact with voters from across Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District during every stage of the campaign. This took the form of calling voters to gauge support for the Congressman and discuss issues at the forefront of voters’ minds. Given the pandemic, issues around racial justice, and the general state of politics in our country, these conversations were filled with a myriad of perspectives, making them both fascinating and enlightening.

The latter part of the campaign involved a major “get out the vote” effort. Due to public health concerns, this year’s push was unique in that we encouraged the use of vote by mail and early voting so people could avoid the polls altogether in an effort to de-densify polling sites come election day. Additionally, leading up to the election on September 1st, I had the opportunity to canvass throughout many towns in the district. Even with social distancing and masks in place, I was able to have real and meaningful conversations with voters from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. All of this direct voter contact was made possible through the use of a variety of campaign software programs which allowed for efficient and effective phone banking, texting and canvassing. My newfound dexterity in these multiple programs is a valuable asset for me going forward, as they are used by all serious and sizable political campaigns.

I am immensely appreciative of the opportunity I had to work on the campaign over the summer as it certainly confirmed my interest in politics and public service. The fast-paced, dynamic environment of campaigning, which was present even virtually, is something that draws me to the field and makes me excited about future opportunities. Being surrounded by interns, field organizers, and campaign directors who were equally passionate about electoral politics was an experience I will cherish. Another element of the internship which definitely bolstered my interest was the variety of guest speakers invited to talk with the campaign team, including members of Congress, mayors, and campaign managers. Hearing about their experiences and being able to ask them questions was always invigorating. Their words and the internship experience as a whole, make me excited not only for future career opportunities, but also to get back into my political sciences courses and bring this real-world experience with me.

I would like to take a moment to thank the Williams College ’68 Center for Career Exploration and especially Dawn Dellea for the continued help and guidance. Additionally, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Mead Family for supporting my endeavors and allowing students like me to explore the careers in government. Their generosity allowed me to gain invaluable experience and grow on a personal, as well as professional level.