By Shayna Freisleben
Two summers ago, Rebecca Neubauer â07 had the U.S. Capitol building as her playground. As a senatorial page, Neubauer would scurry through Washington D.C., encountering various senators when delivering messages, answering phones, or opening doors.
Yet of all the senators she met, Neubauer particularly remembers one U.S. senatorâs uncommon sincerity, promising herself that if the junior senator, democrat Barack Obama of Illinois, ever ran for president, she would get involved.
This past summer, Neubauer interned in the Century City offices of Obama for America.
Neubauer is one of many students who opted to work in politically oriented jobs, demonstrating an interest in activism in teenagers who hope to play a role in the 2008 election.
Whether to increase awareness or for personal gain, these students all have a common goal of national unity and improvement, either through campaign work such as Neubauer, or as congressional and senatorial pages.
Both Andrew Ressler â09 and Tessa Wick â09 worked in Washington for four weeks as pages and discovered the importance of the democratic process through their work.
After working as a page, Neubauer aspired to continue her political involvement.
âAn acquaintance (Alex Mitchell â98) was working on the campaign in New York, and I really wanted to find a way to participate,â Neubauer said. âI knew it would be a great way to spend my summer.â
Neubauer said there were significant differences between working as a page and directly on a campaign.Â
Neubauer spoke with Obama when he visited Los Angeles in August.Â Besides her clerical responsibilities at the Los Angeles headquarters, Neubauer assisted at two Obama fundraisers.
She checked in guests, accepted donations and personally watched Obama speak in a more intimate setting.
Neubauer, turned 18 this summer and is now eligible to vote. She will register in Ohio, where she is a freshman at Kenyon College.
â[Politicians] are the people that make the decisions that directly affect us, and itâs so important for teenagers to be aware and involved,â Neubauer said.
For others, working in politics this summer was a way to become more knowledgeable for the 2008 election.
Ressler worked as a senatorial page in Washington D.C. for four weeks in hopes of learning more about the government.
âI really wasnât that knowledgeable about the Senate, and I wanted to learn how it worked and about the senators,â Ressler said.
Ressler, who was sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut and a 2008 presidential candidate, spent four weeks observing the Senate.Â He learned how to analyze a candidate when he is able to vote.
WickÂ also worked as a page, serving in Congress while being sponsored by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.Â Wick said she is âpolitically aware and a staunch Democrat.â
Wick, a junior class prefect, personally identifies with the cause of stem cell research. She has juvenile diabetes and has been a long-time activist in the quest for federal funding for stem cell research.
âMore than anything, you see elected officials there to represent a district and you hear constituents calling, and just how much people really care,â Wick said.Â âI take pride in my vote. Itâs the most important privilege we have, and I definitely realized that while in Washington.â