Rebecca Coyne ’22

Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, Boston, MA

This summer, I interned remotely for the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (MWPC)—a non-profit and political action organization with the overarching goal to elect more women to public office, at all levels of Massachusetts government. In a normal year, MWPC would host a series of events recognizing female political leaders and get-togethers for young women seeking to become more politically engaged or run for office. This year, we successfully transitioned a few of these events to a virtual format; however, we prioritized the PAC endorsement process, given that many upstart campaigns were struggling to adapt to the pandemic and therefore needed our political backing, networking, and organizing power more than ever.

I helped compile research briefs on every candidate that applied for our endorsement, including biographical background, policy positions, district’s demographic information, and the like. We then organized online ‘interviews’ to learn more about each applicant—what they have done and will do to help advance women in Massachusetts—and to garner the inside scoop on campaign prospects (including questions about staff, volunteers, and finances). After we announced our ultimate decisions, we set out to assist about 50 campaigns in the crucial last few weeks of August before the September primaries through social media, phone-banking, and writing letters to the editors of local newspapers. It has been truly inspirational to see communities mobilize around these progressive women, even when modes of campaigning are so non-traditional.

I also had the opportunity to apply for grant funding, and secured $2,500 from the National Women’s Political Caucus to host a webinar series next summer for young women looking to embark on political careers. The project budget includes cost-offsetting stipends for participants who might need them, and payments for speakers in areas from campaign management and fundraising to constituency strategy and uplifting marginalized voices. I also applied for a grant/partnership from the Social Innovator’s Forum, which, if received, would help MWPC network with other non-profits and strengthen the organization.

This internship showed me new strategies of leveraging political power, from concerted pressure against the established “Old Boys Club” of Massachusetts politics to grassroots organizing for change-making and progressive campaigns. I also had the opportunity to work with the caucus as it transitioned to virtual operations and shifted its priorities to adapt to the pandemic. Working with MWPC opened up a whole host of potential careers for me in non-profit political work and gave me the basic skills and passion to pursue equal political representation both in my coursework at Williams and beyond.

I’d like to express my deep gratitude to the ’68 Center and to the Estate of George Mead for supporting me this summer! This internship experience was incredibly meaningful to me, especially the chance to continue engaging in politics at a moment when they matter so much.