As a political science major and campaign volunteer, Abby Jenkins '09 followed the 2008 election closely.
On Jan. 20 she got up close and personal with history. With financial support from the Oswego President's Office, Jenkins participated in the Washington Center Inauguration Seminar and witnessed the historic swearing-in of the country's first African-American president, Barack Obama.
The speech that followed, she said, was riveting.
"Whatever the reason people attended, President Obama was able to reach each and every one of them in his speech," said Jenkins, 20. "He touched on the various topics that brought all these people together for one amazing event.
"Few people at the inauguration can say they walked away without once nodding their head in agreement, having a tear well in their eye, or finding themselves with a broad smile across their face," she said.
The Canastota native was making her first solo trip to a major American city as well. She found plenty of time to explore the capital and its landmarks during the 10-day seminar.
Jenkins also took the opportunity to do some independent research on how Obama influenced many to become politically active. She polled attendees on how and why they got involved in the political process last year.
"There were college students, professors, people who live in D.C., people from almost every state who traveled in for the inaugural events, old and young," she said. "Every time I turned around, I found myself in a conversation with someone who happened to be from another place, yet shared the same excitement of the inauguration that I did."
The Presidential Scholar said her time at Oswego has been just as memorable as her recent capital experience.
"I really have grown accustomed to the lake and sunsets," she said. "Those two things have been a source of comfort for me the past four years during my more stressful college career moments."
-- Shane M. Liebler
PHOTO CAPTION: Abby Jenkins '09
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