Student to join politics after graduating Rutgers
For one Rutgers graduate, a step out of New Brunswick means a step onto Capitol Hill.
Graduating senior Brianna Battle will move to Washington, D.C. as part of the Star Fellowship Program offered by Running Start, a non-profit organization that seeks to bring young women into politics.
The Star Fellow will serve with a U.S. senator or congresswoman of her choice, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a Rutgers alumna herself, has made it onto Battle’s shortlist.
“She has never been a recipient of a Star Fellow, but I am trying to get in touch with her office to see if she would like to have me as an intern for this upcoming fall semester,” Battle said with a small laugh.
The School of Arts and Sciences senior is also looking into the office of Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).
Battle did not always want to get involved in politics, but her role as vice president of the Rutgers University Student Assembly — and the platform it offered her — got her hooked.
“In my sophomore year, I was introduced to RUSA, and from then on, my passion for politics and passion for community service and passion to serve people on a variety of issues — differing from pay equity things in the state legislature to things right here in the rutgers community — has been booming,” she said.
But her road to the student assembly did not face total support.
“I was told by an older member of RUSA that I shouldn't run for a senate position the year that I did,” Battle said. “If I did not run for that position — regardless of what he said — I would not be here, today, about to move to Washington.”
This summer, Battle will work as a staffer for the Mandela Fellowship spearheaded by President Barack Obama while simultaneously drafting a report on diversity and inclusion at Rutgers for University President Robert L. Barchi.
What comes after the fall for Battle is still undecided. She sees three paths in before her: law school, a fulltime position in Washington or a run for public office.
To those wanting to get involved with state affairs, Battle said naysayers ought to be ignored.
“If you have a gut feeling, or if you know that you're capable of doing something do not let external forces — or even yourself sometimes — hold you back from what you know you can do,” she said.
Nikita Biryukov is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. He is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @nikitabiryukov_ for more.