Political Science Students Get Front Row Seats as History Unfolds

Christopher Malone and Eugene Alpert

The Washington Center Executive Vice President Eugene Alpert presents the award for Faculty Leader of the Year to Associate Professor Christopher Malone.

Pace University students attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Pace University students attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention as part of an internship program through The Washington Center. From left to right: Alejandra Lopez, Carla Rivera, Christina Piechowski, and Brian Bonci.

The 2008 Presidential Election is one for the history books, and Political Science Associate Professor Christopher Malone made sure his students had front row seats.

With internships through The Washington Center that took students to the floor of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Debate Watch Parties on both campuses, enrolling in his “Road to the White House” CSPAN class, and internships at the Associated Press election centers on election night, Malone’s students have been a part of the political process.

“Pace has offered me the opportunity to travel, intern, analyze and see with my own eyes the power that education has to create positive changes for the betterment of our human society,” said Alejandra Lopez ,’10, who received a scholarship from Pace University to take part in The Washington Center’s programs and attend both the Democratic and Republican conventions. “Years from now, I will look back and remember that I sat on Invesco Field and listened to Obama give his acceptance speech.”

Brian Bonci, ’10, a Jeanette K. Watson Fellow, also participated in The Washington Center’s internship program. He was placed with the New York Delegation at the Democratic National Convention.

“My proximity to one of the highest profile states allowed me to meet my congressman, the senators from New York and California, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a personal hero, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, and several members of the New York delegation,” Bonci said.

Bonci took Malone's course in fall 2007 to prepare for the internship.

“I understood the political realities of Senator Obama's vice presidential pick and was able to predict some key events in the campaign,” Bonci explained. “Malone's course allowed me to use a more scrutinizing lens to view the presidential election, and to gain more from it as an academic experience.”

Several of the Pace student interns blogged from the conventions on the Dyson College Blog. Lopez was also interviewed for “New Voices Vote 2008,” an election project showcasing the thoughts of young voters across the country on The Takeaway, a national morning news program on NPR.

“I believe that the effects of this campaign have and will change the course of United States history,” said Lopez. “Living in the U.S., as a young woman, a Mexican-American, a taxpayer, a student in college, a person who strains to pay for insurance and healthcare, and so on, I, as a citizen with the power to vote, understand that it is in my interest to select a candidate who shares my concerns and ideals.” 

See the video interview with Lopez and read her article.

“I’ve never seen so much interest among young people in an election,” said Malone, who credited factors such as the historic candidacy of Barack Obama, interest in the Iraq war, environmental issues, and the economic downturn.

Hundreds of students showed up for the debate watch parties he hosted before each of the presidential debates and the vice presidential debate.

Students also got involved in his “Road to the White House” course which included special guest appearances by Pat Buchanan, a former presidential candidate, speechwriter for the Nixon and Reagan administrations, and an MSNBC political analyst; James Rosen, Washington Correspondent for Fox News Channel and author of Strong Man: John Mitchell & the Secrets of Watergate; Dee Dee Myers, White House Press Secretary for the Clinton Administration and author of Why Women Should Rule the World; Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals, No Ordinary Time:  Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt, The Home Front in World War II, Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream, The Fitzgerald’s and the Kennedy’s; and Benjamin Bradley, Vice President and Former Executive Editor of The Washington Post.