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As a political science major at UW-Superior, Hillary Peterson is gaining experience by participating in student organizations, going on field trips, holding an internship and -- on Nov. 2 -- by introducing the vice president of the United States at a campaign rally in Superior.
Peterson, a senior from Sturgeon Lake, Minn., took the stage in advance of Vice President Joe Biden when he appeared at Superior Middle School as part of a Wisconsin campaign tour for the Obama-Biden campaign.
Peterson was recruited for the task by Mike Raunio, a local field organizer for President Obama's campaign. Campaign officials wanted the introduction to be made by a university student who's active in politics. Peterson, an intern at the local campaign headquarters for President Obama, fit the bill perfectly.
She worked on her remarks with assistance from Dr. Alisa Von Hagel, assistant professor of political science.
"She's helped me out a ton," Peterson said the day before the event.
"We talked a lot about thinking through what she wants to convey," Von Hagel said. "The key to helping her was encouraging her to reflect upon on that, despite the craziness of most students' lives, there's such a compelling reason for them to become involved in politics."
"The introduction is all Hillary," Von Hagel added, "We just refined the message to make a short speech that shows her passion and connects with other college students."
Since being asked to make the introduction, Peterson has alternated between being "very, very excited and very nervous."
She was so absorbed in preparing for the event that she didn't have time to even post a note about the honor on her Facebook page. Her mother took care of that by posting the news on her own page instead.
That's okay with Peterson. She credits her mother and father with kindling her interest politics and government that began when she was a child.
"My parents are very active in keeping up with current events," she said. "They've instilled in me that politics is important and it affects many aspects of your life. They've instilled in me that it's your duty to stay informed, be active and to vote."
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