‘Road to the White House’ Leads Students to New Hampshire

The 2016 Road to the White House class with Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan.

The 2016 Road to the White House class with Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan (fifth person from the right).

On Jan. 31, students at USF St. Petersburg will head north as part of the Road to the White House class. During the quadrennial class, which has been offered every four years since 2004, they will visit New Hampshire and participate in the presidential campaigns for seven Democratic and Republication candidates.

Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan will hit the road with a class of 23 students. As part of the 10-day trip, the students will serve as interns for the campaigns of Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders, as well Republican candidates Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump, leading up to the first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 9. The course allows students to learn about the history and politics of U.S. presidential campaigns and the election process through an intensive internship and seminar.

USFSP student Richard Marini

USFSP student Richard Marini

“We want them to be enthusiastic about their candidate and to try to have every campaign covered,” said McLauchlan, who allows students to select the candidates’ campaigns for which they want to work by only steering them within their conservative or democratic political preferences.

“It’s not just an internship,” said McLauchlan, who describes the class as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a presidential political campaign up close. In addition to their internships, students will have daily class meetings and seminars with guest speakers, and will go on area field trips. Each student also will write blog entries about their experiences while in New Hampshire, and the general course blog also will feature a photo gallery.

A photo of USFSP student Miranda Latimer

USFSP student Miranda Latimer

Each student has his or her own goals and reasons for enrolling in the class and choosing to represent a specific candidate.

Mass Communication sophomore Richard “Richie” Marini, 20, who has volunteered to work for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign, said he was excited about the course and knew he would regret it if he didn’t take the class.

“This election has a lot of wild cards,” Marini said about the presidential candidates in both major parties. “I like Sen. Sanders’ social and domestic viewpoints, as they may help him identify with more Americans.”

A photo of USFSP student Victor Sims

USFSP student Victor Sims

Mass Communications major Miranda Latimer, 18, whose interest is in Advertising, said she hopes to learn about how candidates sell themselves to the public during the campaign process.  She hopes to work as an intern for Marco Rubio’s campaign during the class.

Psychology major Victor Sims, 20, said he was a fan of Hillary Clinton until the attack on Benghazi occurred. Sims said he has elected to work for her campaign for this class because he wants to give her a second chance.

“Her being a family woman is a good value,” he said about Clinton, who added that she has been pushing for foster care system reform for many years. Having grown up in the Florida foster care system, Sims said he thinks she can make a difference for future kids whose experiences are similar to his as a child growing up in the system.