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Something Catie will never forget

Catie has a lot on her plate these days—a full course load at Dickinson College, a spot in the senior women’s honor society and a women’s leadership society, and the post-graduation job search. But that didn't stop her from going all in with the OFA Spring Fellowship program, helping organize student volunteers to get the word out about the Affordable Care Act in her community. She might be busy, but Catie knows the importance of organizing.

A key element in leadership is the example you set. Catie recently made 131 phone calls in two consecutive weekday evenings—a personal best. Last week, she paused for a moment between her morning classes to talk about her experience as an OFA fellow.

Q: How would you describe your time with OFA?

What an experience! I joined the fellows program at a really exciting time. It is so fulfilling to realize that myself and the whole OFA team here on campus played such a critical role in the final weeks of the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. We spoke with so many folks who were so grateful when we told them of the resources available to help them enroll. We heard the most amazing stories from people who are now able to obtain quality, affordable care. We really made a difference. It’s something I’ll never forget.

Q: What have you learned as an OFA fellow?

I’ve learned that, when we reach out to folks over the phone or face-to-face, it’s so important to approach them with a positive conversational tone and to articulate where OFA stands on the issues before asking them to participate in an event. People get information on the issues we care about from many different sources, so we should take the opportunity to clear up any confusion by clearly articulating where we stand. I’ve also learned that it’s important to stay on task with the issue at hand, and not to assume that folks agree with us on all the issues. One other thing—this experience has caused me to really hone my time management skills and maintain that all-important balance with my personal life.

Q: What issue are you most passionate about?

Immigration reform. Last year, I studied abroad in Argentina and I did some work in Ecuador. I’m an International Studies major, as well as a Spanish Language major, and when I got back home, immigration reform sparked my interest in domestic politics. I’m currently taking an International Political Economy course which has made me even more interested. I’ve seen the effects of our current immigration system in the immigrant community. I see how it prevents folks from integrating into their larger community and how, out of fear, they isolate themselves. Our system’s political and financial barriers are overwhelming to so many. The path to citizenship provided in the pending legislation is so important.

Q: What are your plans for next year and beyond?

After I graduate, I want to continue organizing support for progressive issues. With my appreciation of U.S. domestic politics right now, I’m drawn to political advocacy work, so I’m looking for opportunities in that area. In the longer term, I want to land a position in an international relations research organization. I’d love to specialize in U.S.-Latin American relations. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of publications on foreign policy analysis and international relations analysis, and, given our rapidly changing world, I’d love to dedicate myself to that field.

Catie is turning her passion into action.
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