RIT/NTID student Trinity McFadden has eyes on politics
McFadden spent time interning for Colorado senator’s campaign
Trinity McFadden is a third-year RIT/NTID student from Norwalk, Conn. A criminal justice major, McFadden spent last summer and fall semester working as a campaign intern for newly elected Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper. Due to COVID-19, McFadden worked remotely for the Hickenlooper campaign. As the internship progressed, she was placed on a committee focusing on African American and veteran efforts in Colorado.
How did you learn about the internship?
The Hickenlooper campaign team reached out to Amy Stornello at the NTID Center on Employment in April. The description that hooked me was the chance to work in a different state. I applied within days of getting the application materials. I constantly looked at his campaign website to learn more about his goals for Colorado and the rest of America. I am so grateful that the opportunity presented itself, because I was not looking.
Have you always had an interest in politics?
I wasn’t always interested in politics. My first semester I took American Politics, taught by Professor Joseph Fornieri. To be honest, I studied extra hard for that class because history was never a strong suit of mine. All the hard work paid off, as I ended up with an “A” and a newfound interest in politics. Throughout my college career, I have found many ways where politics indirectly and directly affect the criminal justice system. From what police can arrest people for, to mandatory minimums for sentencing, and convicted felony rights, post-incarceration. But, the important thing is now I pay more attention to politics and I try to educate my family and friends.
What were some of your duties as intern for the campaign?
The best part about this internship was that we saw a direct reflection of our work throughout the campaign and in the media. It was really rewarding.
We did outreach throughout the state of Colorado including assisting in various projects, recruiting attendees to attend a slew of events, and conducting research into prominent figures, activist groups, legislators, and Democratic county parties in Colorado.
What were you looking to get out of the internship when you started?
I was just trying to enjoy the moment and find my potential career path. A criminal justice major is very broad. I chose politics because I constantly see how political actions play out in my everyday life and in the criminal justice system.
What have you learned from the internship?
I learned that I probably would like to intern for someone who already has a position in politics. The nature of campaigns is an unpredictable rollercoaster. Over the summer, there were many protests surrounding the killings of Black and Brown people by police. At the same time, thousands of Black and Brown individuals had disparate and negative outcomes when it came to contracting the COVID-19 virus. For these reasons, I really wanted to get an inside look at how people in power were treating this moment. While someone is in office, change is actually happening, and laws are being made.
A skill I developed was communication. I communicated with a lot of people and learned so much about the state of Colorado. I felt that I was able to become personable with the individuals I spoke to. Another aspect of communication that I improved on was communicating my feelings. Before this internship, I went through life not communicating my personal struggles and just persevering. However, I needed to be clear and communicate with my supervisors and peers what was happening in my mind.
What are your plans for the future?
My future career plans change every semester it seems like. I definitely would like to go to graduate school. I was recently accepted to the criminal justice BS/MS program and will be a master’s student in the Spring of 2022. I thought about running for a congressional seat, or maybe even more local, but it seems virtually impossible if you do not have the funds and/or incumbency. Hopefully, when my time comes, it will be easier to do so. I have explored other options such as law, research, and diplomacy. After working with the criminal justice department’s Center for Public Safety Initiatives (CPSI), I am leaning toward research and maybe obtaining a doctoral degree. By next summer, I want to have an internship in a law firm, in Congress, or with the U.S. Department of the State. If not, I might do some more research with CPSI or the McNair Scholars Program at RIT.