By Taylor McGuire, NYU Florence student
How many students can tell you that they shook hands with Bob Shrum and Paul Begala before sitting down to a small friendly breakfast to discuss politics? About fifteen students total, including myself, would supply the answer “Yes.” When I was helping research the biographies of a few political figures, I had no idea I would get to meet and talk to them. The discussion over breakfast was intriguing and informational about the upcoming election. Unfortunately I had to leave for class, but the next day I attended half of the conference that took place throughout the day. Multiple people in the audience engaged in the dialogue and a few times the panels ran over their scheduled time. There was so much to talk about! I got to meet: Marylouise Oates, Steve McMahon, Bruce Haynes, and Steve Schmidt. Marylouise Oates is officially my new role model! There was a dinner held after the conference that a few students and I had the honor to attend. I snuck in early and stole the seat next to “Oatesy” as she asked me to call her. Throughout the entire dinner, we discussed politics, women’s’ rights, her career as an activist, the classes she teaches, how her and “Shrummy” (as she calls her husband) met, what I can do to handle my college work load, and she gave me a great idea for the La Pietra Dialogues project that I am working on. The girl that was sitting next to me and I also got a chance to chat with Steve Schmidt, who was on the other side of Oatesy, about how to get involved in politics. What really warmed my heart was towards the end of the dinner when Bob Shrum, Paul Begala, Oatesy, and Bruce Haynes all said that it was a pleasure getting to talk with the students since that was the biggest reason why they were present. The food was great and the wine was quite divine. The night ended at a decent time and I almost wish it wouldn’t have.