Once senior Chloe Field makes up her mind, she goes for it.
When this Pittsburgh native realized that she wanted to attend the College of Charleston, she closed out out of all her other online university applications and clicked “submit” on the one she had completed for CofC. Though her friends and family were stunned, she soon received that large admissions envelope with information for accepted students.
“The College was a blend of student life and city life that I loved, and I was really attracted to the communication program,” Field says.
She was impressed that she didn’t have to join a specific communications track; she could explore whether she was interested in public relations, journalism or other forms of media.
Once on campus, she enrolled in a political science course with assistant professor Claire Wofford, who Field calls “her hero.” That course solidified the student’s desire to be involved with government, whether that be through journalism, public service or some other way. Field had previously considered studying abroad, but as her interest in politics grew, she set her sights on a different kind of immersion experience.
Through the Honors College, Field learned about the The South Carolina Washington Semester Internship Program, which offers college students hands-on experience with the political process as they spend a semester living and working in the nation’s capital. Several of Field’s classmates, including Caroline Kenny ’15, now a CNN digital producer, completed the program and spoke highly of the experience.
“It fell completely in line with what I wanted to accomplish,” Field says. “And everyone comes out of it saying it was the best semester of their four years.”
After being accepted into the Washington Semester Program, Field took on an internship with the press team for Sen. Tim Scott, the junior senator for South Carolina.
“The communications director and press assistant really took me under their wings,” she says, “and at first it threw me off, because I thought ‘Who am I to these people?’ I never expected them to take me seriously in the way that they did.”
As Scott’s press intern, Field was given room to experiment with different projects and figure out what her direction should be.
“It was incredibly hands-on,” she says. “I got unbelievable work experience and was also able to see what a positive office culture looks like.”
By the time she left D.C., she’d amassed a contact list full of political connections and mentors whose guidance would continue in the months to come.
Field gives credit to this network of relationships for the offer she received of a position as communications coordinator with the City of Charleston before she even graduated. When she first saw this job listing, she sent a screenshot to Scott’s communications director, Sean Smith, and asked, ‘Can I do this?’
With his encouragement and support, she put in an application – and got the job. In April, more than a month before she was set to take the Cistern stage at commencement, Field began working with Mayor John Tecklenburg’s office to strategically plan correspondence for the city.
“I know it sounds cliche, but that semester in D.C. changed my life,” says Field. “And I have the College of Charleston to thank for it.”
Featured photo by Reese Moore.