First-hand education in presidential politics

UIC student Emily Kosa meets President Barack Obama

Political science student Emily Kosa meets President Barack Obama

Political science student Emily Kosa meets President Barack Obama as Obama returns to Hyde Park for early voting in the presidential election.

When President Barack Obama visited Chicago’s South Side last week to cast an early ballot, UIC political science student Emily Kosa was there, voting alongside the nation’s leader.

It was an emotional moment, she says, but there wasn’t much time to reflect. Kosa, one of the Obama campaign’s staging location directors in Chicago, hurried off to work at a Hyde Park phone bank.

For the past few months, Kosa has been trying to balance her studies with ever-increasing campaign responsibilities — a once-in-a-lifetime education in the political process.

“First, I was put in charge of creating and organizing a UIC student volunteer base and weekly scheduled phone banking sessions,” she explains.

“Then, obviously, I had to recruit individuals to commit to help out every week by making phone calls to re-elect the president.”

Since she was promoted to staging location director about a month ago, she has been responsible for organizing, recruiting and finding a location for get-out-the-vote efforts during the campaign’s final weekend.

“On top of finding students to make calls to get out the vote, I am trying to fill two 55-seater buses to bring students to Wisconsin to canvass,” says Kosa, a native of Michigan.

She got involved in the campaign with the help of Dick Simpson, professor of political science.

“He was kind enough to help me when he noticed passion and desperation for experience,” she says.

Kosa, who worked for Americorps and hopes for a career in Washington, D.C., will be a senior next semester. She plans to pursue internship opportunities after graduation.

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