Washington Semester Award Winner to Discuss Impact of Gender in Political Elections

September 20th, 2017 by 


The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of the Holy Cross has selected Caitlin Daniels ’18, a political science major with a concentration in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, as the Maurizio Vannicelli Washington Semester Program award recipient for the Fall 2017 semester. Daniels will present a lecture titled “Gender, Elections, and How Women Win (Or Don’t)” on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 4:30 p.m. in Rehm Library.

The Vannicelli Prize is awarded each semester for the best research paper produced during the Washington Semester Program in honor of the late Holy Cross political science professor and Washington Semester director, Maurizio Vannicelli. As this semester’s recipient, Daniels will offer a public lecture on her research.

“I will be discussing the structural barriers that women face when running for office specifically in Congress,” Daniels says. “While I will highlight gender stereotypes as something that do harm women in elections, I will mainly be discussing what structural problems exist in our electoral system that prevent women from succeeding in running for office.”

Her research seeks to address why there has been such a slow increase of women getting elected to Congress in comparison to other fields, and what strategies could be implemented to increase women’s entry into Congress going forward. In addition to these topics, Daniels will also discuss what this means for upcoming elections.

In Washington, Daniels worked at EMILY’s List, an organization whose mission is to help get pro-choice, democratic women elected to office across the country. While there, Daniels conducted self and opposition research for upcoming elections, vetted potential EMILY’s List candidates, and conducted research on the opponents of current EMILY’s List candidates in their respective campaigns.

Daniels’ hands-on experience at EMILY’s List both supported her research interests and influenced her goals post-graduation.

“I am hoping to move back to Washington, and get a job in a Democratic political organization like EMILY’s List, on Capitol Hill, or on a campaign for the 2018 Congressional midterm elections,” Daniels shares. “After living and working in Washington for a semester, I gained a better sense of what day-to-day life is like there, as well as honed my passion for politics and public policy. Working at EMILY’s List gave me a greater understanding of the importance of political work and what my place could be in the Democratic Party.”

On campus, Daniels is the co-chair of Feminist Forum, a Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD) community organizer, a Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister Program, and a senior interviewer in the admissions office. She is also a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, and Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society.

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