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Auggie interns at the RNC — Part 4

rnc_interns_4The Republican National Convention begins next week, but already Augsburg’s campus is buzzing with student interns here for the Washington Center’s Presidential Academic Seminar.

The Washington Center staff traveled from Denver, site of the Democratic convention, to Minneapolis last weekend and began to prepare for the arrival of the interns. Monday the students spent the day getting acclimated to the campus, meeting their professors, and learning what the next two weeks would entail.

On Tuesday they heard from RNC Chairwoman Jo Ann Davidson in the morning and then took a bus tour of the Twin Cities metro area in the afternoon. The tour ended at the Minnesota State Fair for “dinner” on a stick.

Wednesday, the staff and interns were greeted by a quiet, dark Foss Center as several campus buildings were offline due to a power outage. Fortunately, the interns were still able to receive their fieldwork placement assignments and then leave for a tour of the RNC set-up at Xcel Center. Wednesday evening featured a networking for the students, the faculty, Augsburg staff, and some political guests at the Landmark Center.

This week we feature two more Auggie interns: sophomore and political science major Ben Krouse-Gagne (pictured left) as well as Leo Manuntag, a sophomore and secondary education major who came to Augsburg through the Augsburg Advantage at St. Kate’s (AASK) program. Go to Augsburg’s Get Political website for more student intern profiles and a schedule of events.

Ben Krouse-Gagne — Sophomore

Ben discovered his interest in politics two years ago when he visited the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. He is now a political science major who is very active in local politics. Last summer, Ben interned with an anti-war committee and worked with Jack Nelson Pallmeyer, who was running for U.S. Senate. He also attended the state convention with Pallmeyer and was amazed at how decisions were made.

At the RNC, Ben will be working with John McCain’s campaign group, and although he considers himself a Democrat, he is looking forward to seeing the different styles of campaigning. “Even if I don’t agree with them, I want to meet people. Some of the smartest people in politics will be there.”

Leo Manuntag — Sophomore

Leo is part of the AASK, the Augsburg Advantage at St. Kate’s, program and this is his first year at Augsburg College. He is a secondary education major and also has a minor in sociology. Even though Leo is not very active in the political race, he said that he and his family are aware of the different aspects in politics. “We share our ideas and beliefs when we are caught up hearing Obama, Hillary, or McCain on the television. I think at this point in time, my family, and more likely other families, are becoming politically active in a social manner.” The RNC will be a place where Leo can improve his resume and seek out a potential future career. His goal at the convention is to view politics through a non-conformist lens. “Today, we often hear about reform and optimism, which seemingly comes from the Democrats, and it would be interesting to see how conservatives tackle these situations.”

Want to Get Political?

Volunteers are still needed to assist staff and interns, particularly on September 2. Please contact Sara Schlipp-Riedel at 612-330-1323 or email to be added to the volunteer schedule.

Story by Amanda Symes, contributor

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