I’m Amber Herrle and I was a part of the Running Start Summer program in 2012. When I came into Running Start, my goal was to learn how I was going to save the world. Although I have much to learn, Running Start gave me a very good idea of how I could take on my world-saving through public service at the local, national and international level. At the end of the week-long program, we each wrote down three different goals we had for ourselves-- among mine were to intern for a US Senator, work on a presidential campaign and later run for elected office.
The good news? I’ve done two of the three in just the two years since the program. In the Fall of 2012, I interned for US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida in his Tallahassee office. There, I answered a whole lot of phone calls and learned about the political world first-hand. Through my internship at the Senator’s office I was privileged with countless networking and just plain cool opportunities including watching the electoral college be cast from the senate chamber in the state Capitol, meeting the French ambassador, and getting (great) tickets to President Obama’s inauguration.
What Running Start taught me was to take each opportunity that came my way by the horns and run with it. So that’s what I did. When offered the opportunity to intern for the Organizing for America campaign (the reelection campaign for President Obama) I could not turn the offer down. There, I worked on the field arm of the campaign, working to register voters, make contact with voters and set up a fully functional field team that would help the President get elected through canvassing, phone banking and countless voter registration forms. My work on the campaign was seemingly endless; a fifteen hour a week internship quickly turned into a twenty-five hours a week internship while coffee and a bag of chips quickly became my breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Through both internships I gained a better understanding of what role I wanted to play in politics. In the Spring of 2013, I was thrilled to get the opportunity at the Florida State Capitol, working in Senator Latvala’s office during session. Like the other internships, this gave me a first hand look at what the political world looked like, but this time on a state level. I feel privileged to have interned for all three of these offices, each teaching me a different aspect of politics while building my resume up both professionally and personally.
My senior year of high school I was awarded a U.S Department of State scholarship through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange initiative to study abroad in Germany for a year. Through the program, I lived in a small farming village in northern Bavaria where I lived with a German family and attended a German school. Pretty cool, right? Because of the political association the initiative has, I watched the 65th anniversary of the German constitution live from what is essentially the German Senate Chamber, met the Bundespraesident and Ambassador John B. Emmerson, the US Ambassador to Germany who directed Bill Clinton’s campaign in California.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have had all of these opportunities in just the last two years, it is a little unbelievable to me that I’ve done so much in the short time since Running Start. I know that if it weren’t for Susannah's push to get me started, I may not have done any of these things. I still have “run for elected office” on the list, but for now I’m going to continue learning about the political process and the world as I start my Freshman year of college at The George Washington University in Washington DC.