Student Story

How the Ifill Forum Gave Kate Farrell ’23 Hope for Democracy

What were you looking for in a college during your search process?

Kate Farrell

When applying to schools, I was looking for a community that was women-centered and diverse. I felt that it was very important to have a community that fosters having those difficult conversations, in a safe and understanding environment.

Why did you pursue public relations and marketing communications?

I felt that going with public relations and marketing communications as my major would allow me to strengthen my writing and communications skills in a way that would open a lot of different career paths for me. It partnered well with my interest in politics and nonprofit work, and would allow me to use the skills I learned in class to help the greater good.

Tell us about being selected to participate in the Ifill Forum.

Professor Griffith reached out to Student Government Association (SGA) for someone to participate in the Ifill forum. As someone that has prior knowledge of the subjects being discussed, I said I would be happy to participate. Participating in a panel full of thought leaders and award-winning journalists was such an exciting opportunity. I was able to sit down with two of my role models and have a discussion that will shape my view of journalism forever. They gave me such hope for my future career and shared their faith in the future generations with me. I am so grateful to have had this once in a lifetime conversation.

Tell us about your takeaways from this experience.

My biggest takeaway was the strong faith that both Robin Roberts and Kevin Merida have in our democracy and how they take their roles of being thought leaders and fact seekers so seriously. They realize how big of an impact journalists have on the world. I found it so inspirational to see how dedicated they are to making the world a better and more educated place.

How do you think students in the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities will carry on Gwen's legacy and impact the world?

I believe that students in the Gwen Ifill College carry on her legacy with our determination to be the truth seekers and social justice advocates of the next generation. In the classroom, we see her legacy in our conversations that include a range of diverse thoughts, allowing for beliefs and ideals to be questioned in a way where we grow to be better people.

Can you tell us about your most recent experience working as a campaign staffer for Joe Courtney?

I was asked to join Joe Courtney’s Campaign in July 2020 as a Field Organizer. I was able to use my prior campaign knowledge in a whole new way. Since I was doing school remotely during the fall semester last year, I was able to be on the ground for some events on the campaign trail. I connected one-on-one with voters in their homes, businesses, and town spaces to discuss their concerns about our democracy and the path that it is taking. Every day, I feel so grateful to have had this opportunity and to have worked for an amazing representative like Joe Courtney.

What did you learn from this experience?

This experience reinforced my belief in how local issues mirror the issues being discussed on a national scale. A lot of times people just want to make sure that elected officials hear their concerns. I was lucky enough to watch how Rep. Courtney interacted with people across the aisle to do what is best for his constituents.

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