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Student to join politics after graduating Rutgers

<p>Brianna Battle hopes to work with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D.-Ma.) after graduating from Rutgers.</p>

Brianna Battle hopes to work with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D.-Ma.) after graduating from 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.

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