Student spotlight: Marie Divine (class of '19)
August 7, 2019
Don’t be surprised if you see Marie Divine (class of '19) appear on your ballot someday.
Like many of our political science majors, Divine has ambitions to run for political office. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that she’s just going to sit idly by waiting for opportunities to come to her.
Over the past 12 months alone, she has participated in three training programs aimed toward empowering young women (and women-identified folx) to get involved in politics:
- The Public Leadership Education Network’s Women and Public Policy Conference
- IGNITE’s Young Women Run Conference
- Platform’s Convention
To say that participation in these programs was life-changing is an understatement. Divine recounts, "To be in a room with the amount of astuteness, brilliance and avidity every woman and speaker possessed, was one of the most inspiring spaces to be a part of.“ Those women included political leaders like Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) and Sharice Davids (KS-3), as well as policy-oriented lobbyists and nonprofit advocates, and representatives from recruitment groups like Emily’s List and Emerge America.
Participants like Divine were tasked with considering a number of policy-related issues, like maternal healthcare in black communities, LGBTQ+ protections and STEM education, and to envision how the issues might fit into their own hypothetical candidacy. The impact of these workshops were captured in the last line of her own campaign speech exercise: “We have immense power. All we need is the mere courage to take that power and utilize it to transform our country for the better...[but] Congress is designed to be intimidating at prima facie.” Courage, she admits, is not always easy; so it is that Marie credits these programs with boosting confidence in herself, allowing her the courage to dream big and be her authentic self.
“I was surrounded by young women who were already city council members at age 19, devoted to changing the world,” she recounts, and as she reflects back on her experiences so far, her ask of all young women is clear:
"It is time for young women to own their power and not wait to be asked to use it. You do not have the luxury to wait. The world needs your voice and your experiences to be represented. Do not bring a chair to a table that was not built with you in mind. Join me in building a new table of women who are empowered, capable and committed to running."