Where Are They Now?
Melissa Calderone '10
Political Science with a minor in Fine Arts
Melissa went with Honors College to New Hampshire to follow the campaigns prior to the January 2008 presidential primaries in January 2008. She also was one of four students chosen for a two-week Campaign 2008 seminar sponsored by the Washington Center in which she was sent to work and study at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Since graduation, she has worked on several local campaigns, including as a staging and regional field director for Long Island Congressman Tim Bishop’s 2010 re-election. In May 2012, she joined the New York Civil Liberties Union, as executive assistant to the executive director.
Describe how your experiences at Hofstra influenced your work on campaigns after graduation.
I think the biggest thing that I took from Debate ’08 and Educate ’08 that I brought into campaigns is that sense that politics and democracy is based on community. It doesn’t run without you. My experiences in 2008 really showed me this whole big thing that seemed so far away – campaigns and politics and elections and elected officials – it really isn’t far away at all. That campaign work is really just grassroots work. It completely solidified my interest in politics and my wanting to be involved in public service and local government and advocacy work.
What do you remember about Debate Day 2008?
It seemed like the longest day ever – just bouncing around all over campus. Hofstra turned into a political science major’s dream amusement park. The whole campus was a playground for politics. It’s a embarrassing to think of now, but at the time I had an incredible, ridiculous crush on (MSNBC correspondent) Luke Russert … and I actually got interviewed by him about the ACORN controversy. It was fantastic. Later, he was with all of us while we watched the debate in the Student Center. With all of Educate ’08, I had never been as involved as I was that year. It was such a formative year – building the community of students who had similar interests with me, getting close to professors and staff at all these events. It really changed the rest of my time at Hofstra.
What would you tell students who are on campus now?
Be around everything. See everything. Talk to everyone. Everything is networking. It’s all about the connections you make and the people you meet. Going back to the convention in 2008 – I’m still close with so many people I met there. Take advantage of the spectacle and the draw that Hofstra becomes that day. It’s such a unique, unique experience that you will not be able to replicate.