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Student Success Story

SPA Freshman Among Youngest-Ever Delegates to Serve at the DNC

By April Thompson

Andrea Walton at the Democratic National Convention 2012

Andrea Walton poses for a photo on the floor at the Democratic National Convention.

Though Andrea Walton, SPA/BA ’16, just arrived at AU as a freshman this fall, you might have already seen her face around – for example during the televised roll call of the Democratic National Convention held this September in Charlotte, North Carolina.

When Walton, 18, took her seat among more than 5,000 DNC delegates and alternates from across the country, she did so as one of the youngest to ever serve as a delegate to a national political convention.

“The whole experience was amazing -- the opportunity to be around so many like-minded people, make great connections, listen to speakers and meet politicians” including Former President Bill Clinton, said the student. “It was literally one big political party!”

Politically active throughout high school with the Indiana Democratic Party, Walton was recommended to the DNC by party leaders in her home county of Gibson County, Indiana, recognizing her promise as a future leader. Walton first got interested in politics in middle school, when then-presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton came to her hometown of Princeton, Indiana, in 2008.

“It was an eye opener,” said Walton.

Walton spent two summers as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives, which further kindled her political aspirations.

“I worked right on the house floor during sessions, so I really got to see the legislative process in action,” said Walton. “I had unlimited access to the Capitol.”

Highlights of her stints as a page include meeting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden, and witnessing Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ first vote after an assassination attempt.

Walton hopes to return to the halls of Congress – as an elected official herself. In attending AU, she is following in the footsteps of more than two dozen alums to become U.S. senators and representatives so her dream isn’t such a distant one.

In the meantime, Walton is enjoying the life of a poli-sci student in the political beehive that is American University. Just a few weeks into the semester, she’s already working as a staff assistant in the SPA Dean’s office, participating in the AU Dems, attending fundraisers for President Obama and taking advantage of “so many other cool opportunities,” she said.

“I’m really happy to be at AU. I love my classes; I feel like I’m really being challenged.”