Where is your co-op?
I came to Northeastern to study theatre, but I’ve learned through a multitude of experiences at NU that a theatre education is a huge advantage in any number of careers. I’m currently working as the Staff Assistant and Internship Coordinator for U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton’s office in Salem, MA. Congressman Moulton was elected to Congress in 2014 on a platform of bipartisan leadership. In his first term, he has been focused on economic growth for families and improving veterans’ health care. He’s a former marine and participated in the Congressional “sit-in” demanding a change to gun laws.
What kind of work are you doing?
I manage the Congressman’s district office intern program and handle all scheduling correspondence with constituents. I’m responsible for recruiting, hiring, and training a staff of twelve and overseeing their assistance to constituents. I coordinate staff support for Seth’s meetings and public events such as his 2016 commencement address for the University of Massachusetts.
Why did you choose to do a “non-theatre” co-op?
I’ve actually done two non-theatre co-ops because I wanted to personalize my education to suit my needs. I did my first co-op in the community relations department of the Boston Globe, and that led to a growing interest in politics and public service. I feel lucky that I get to spend my fall semesters studying acting, theatre history, and theatre in society and spend my spring semesters applying that knowledge to other fields. My theatre training has made me a strong communicator, public speaker, and collaborator. These are skills that are impossible to gain by simply reading textbooks and doing traditional schoolwork, so I’ve been able to stand out at my co-ops. Actually, when I tell people I’m a theatre major working in politics they usually respond “Well, they’re basically the same thing!”
How is this co-op useful to you as a theatre student?
In theatre you constantly have to make compromises – we call it collaboration – in order to achieve a successful, unified production. Compromise is seen as a good thing and is driven by many factors – diverse points of view and personalities, budget, time constraints, etc. The production becomes stronger when we find a shared path to the goal. Similarly, my co-op in a Congressional office taught me that nothing is possible in government without bridging the partisan divide and creating a compromise. I saw first-hand that the ability to negotiate and the creative thinking required to collaborate are among the most important skills you can have. I’m excited to bring this mindset back to my theatre classes and productions.
What has been your favorite part of your co-op?
My co-workers. In theatre you learn to value every member of the production team from the leading actors to the crew. Working in a Congressional office is exactly the same – every member of the team, from Congressman Moulton to the interns I manage, has an important role within the production. The staff here is young and excited about changing the world. I believe the friendships I’ve made will last long after the “curtain closes” on my co-op.
What will you bring back to Northeastern from this experience?
I want to come back to Northeastern as an advocate for students who choose to create their own path. In a more traditional theatre training program I would have been pigeonholed into applying my theatrical training to just acting, but at Northeastern this just isn’t the case. I am able to study an art form that I’m so passionate about while gaining real-world, paid experience in other fields where the same skills are applicable. I hope to be a role model for others to explore all of their interests and ambitions in the theatre and beyond.