UMass Lowell alumna Sheila Angelo graduated in 2015 with hopes of entering the political field. Little did she know how successful she would be by 24 years old. She is formerly a White House staffer for President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign staffer.
In an event organized by the UMass Lowell College Democrats, on Tuesday Angelo spoke to students about her experiences in the political field. While an undergraduate at UMass Lowell, she obtained an internship with Jim McGovern from “The Hill,” and from that point on she worked up the political ladder. After McGovern, she interned for Rep. Niki Tsongas and eventually obtained her first job in advance for Sanders.
“I just applied for a Bernie Sanders gig in Las Vegas as a field organizer, and I didn’t even know what a field organizer was,” says Angelo. From that gig in Las Vegas, she was hired under Sanders’ advance primarily as the press lead.
Her job as the press lead was to help organize rallies, keep an eye on the press during campaign events and arrange a designated and secure spot in case of overflow. Sanders, despite the lack of security, always likes to address the overflowed crowd that could not make it in.
In addition to this, Angelo also organized off-the-record appearances and was part of his motorcade in Washington D.C.
After Sanders lost the primaries, Angelo lost the job in his advance. However, almost immediately following Hillary Clinton’s victory, Obama started being a surrogate for her campaign. Because of this, Angelo was asked to join the POTUS advance team to help Obama until the election. “Interning for the White House is a really interesting thing,” says Angelo.
She traveled all across the country doing campaign events and was even invited to the White House Christmas party for all the staff members.
However, after the presidential election, Angelo again found herself without a job in the political world. “[It’s] such a hard thing,” says Angelo, “Especially as a woman in politics, it’s double as hard. I’m super discouraged about it.”
Angelo still remains hopeful about remaining in politics. Recently she helped out with the Our Revolution rally in Boston where Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders spoke.
She gives a lot of credit to where she got her start with politics. While an undergraduate at UMass Lowell, she was a political science major and a member of the Student Government Association (SGA). By her senior year she had become vice president. “UMass Lowell helped me a lot,” says Angelo.