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Berry Institute of Politics Kicks Off Running for Office Workshop Series

By Miah Reyes ‘25

The Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics is bringing back the Running for Office Workshop Series! This semester-long program will empower and equip undergraduate and graduate students with the skills and knowledge needed to run for office or to run a successful election campaign. This in-person program includes a total of four monthly workshops facilitated by political consultants from The Davis System, LLC who have experience working with local, statewide, and national political and advocacy campaigns. Errin Douglas, the Chief Operations Officer of The Davis System, LLC, is a 2018 graduate of Salem State University with a B.S in Business Administration as a Katzman’s Entrepreneurship Scholar.

After a rigorous application process, we accepted a cohort of 10 students to enroll in the workshop series. We are excited to introduce the following participants: 

Miesha Acevedo ‘25 (she/her) is an undergraduate political science major. Miesha has experience working on several campaigns and currently works as a Youth Coordinator for Partnership of Amesbury Community and Teens (PACT). “I can't wait to expand on my skills and knowledge so I can help run successful campaigns,” Miesha shared. “I know this program will be a big help to me in achieving my future goal of running for office.”

Shane Beckmann G‘25 (he/him) is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Social Work. Shane has done a lot of advocacy for the elderly and disabled communities, economic development for the formerly incarcerated and low-income, and case work with immigrants and refugees. He is currently a volunteer representative of the Massachusetts Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. “Politics are transformative in that they have the power to influence change at both the individual and community level,” Shane explained. “I'm grateful to have been selected for this program and the opportunity it brings to learn more about how to use this important tool for change.”

Cynthia Boyd ‘24 (she/her) is an undergraduate sociology major with a Spanish minor. Cynthia works as a Senior Resident Advisor for Marsh Hall and has worked for the Berry Institute of Politics as a Vikings Vote Ambassador and moderator for multiple political events. Cynthia shared, “I am super excited to participate in this program because I believe this will be a great learning opportunity for my future endeavors.”

Robert Huttig ‘25 (he/him) is an undergraduate chemistry major. Robert currently serves as a Senator for the Student Government Association (SGA) and Chairs their Civic Engagement and Sustainability Committee. Beyond Salem State, Robert serves on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education as the State University Student Advisor, the Executive Leadership Committee of the Massachusetts Student Advisory Council, and the Massachusetts Open Educational Resources Advisory Council. Robert said that he is excited for this program because it “is a great opportunity to get an up-close look at the kind of grassroots work that can drive meaningful change in our political system.”

Noble Ij McAnthony G‘24 (she/her) is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Social Work. She has a variety of experiences in advocacy and community building including volunteering with an organization that uses intervention and rehabilitation to assist people in overcoming problems like substance abuse, alcoholism, and social pressure. Noble Ij shared, “I am excited because this program will deepen my interest in running for office and will put me in a position to affect change at the macro level and provide insight into the social justice and interpersonal issues plaguing my neighborhood.”  

Damon Mitchem ‘26 (he/him) is an undergraduate political science major. Damon currently serves as a Senator for the Student Government Association (SGA) and sits on their Civic Engagement and Sustainability Committee. Damon shared he is excited for this program because “running for office has been a dream of mine and I’m glad this workshop will give me the skills I need to do so.”

Cassidy O’Connor ‘23 (she/her) is an undergraduate political science major with a writing minor. Cassidy interned with Congressman Richard E. Neal’s office during the summer of 2022 and is currently involved with a variety of campus programs including the First Year Experience office and the Public Higher Education Network Of Massachusetts (PHENOM). Cassidy shared, “I am excited to learn how to support candidates I care about in the future, as well as preparing to potentially hold an office myself.”  

Carlos Rijker G‘23 (he/him) is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in criminal justice. Carlos worked as a correctional officer which allowed him to grasp the diversity of society. He is also very passionate about cannabis education, research, and reform. Carlos is looking forward to this program because “there is value in knowing the process for running for office even if you don’t intend to do so yourself. This is especially true for understanding what the candidates in your community are trying to accomplish.”

Ahmir Steward ‘23 (he/him) is an undergraduate political science major. Ahmir is an active member of Pre-Law Society and serves as a Senator on the Student Government Association (SGA). Ahmir shared that he is excited for this program because it is an “opportunity to further establish myself as a political activist and leader seeking to one day represent my community on a grand scale, and show other homeless and unsupported groups that they too can be successful. I seek not to be the exception but to be the example.” 

Hope Thurston ‘24 (she/her) is an undergraduate political science major. Hope has worked as an intern with MASSPIRG where she led and participated in a variety of initiatives including food drives, toy drives, coat drives, and a lobby day in Boston. Hope shared, “I’m excited for this workshop because I am always looking for new ways to better myself for future opportunities!”

The Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics is excited to watch these students grow in their experience and knowledge throughout this semester long program. We are grateful to Errin Douglas ‘18, Anthony Davis, Jr., and Thanh Nguyen, the political consultants from The Davis System, LLC, for facilitating these workshops to prepare Salem State students to run for office.

Samantha Giffen
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