Michael Sklar

Michael Sklar

Major: Political Science

Michael went behind the scenes at the second 2016 Republican Presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in nearby Simi Valley, CA.

What did your volunteer experience at the GOP debate entail?

Through my participation in the Cal Lutheran College Republican club I was able to attend the Republican Presidential Debate at the Reagan library. I volunteered in the spin room and was able to assist the staff by guiding the candidates into the spin room and guiding them to the different media outlets located throughout the spin room.

During the first debate at 3pm I was assigned to follow Bobby Jindal’s campaign manager and during the second debate I was assigned to follow Ohio Governor John Kassich. I bumped into former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger walking through the area where the volunteers were watching the debate or shaking hands with Ben Carson as me and another volunteer bumped into him walking down to the volunteer meeting.

It was an amazing experience to be able to see these candidates in person and get to hear them speak to the media.

Spin room from above

In the spin room at the GOP debate

Did this experience relate to your career goals?

My career goals entail transferring to law school and working in the legal field. This experience did not directly relate to my goals but as many of the candidates, such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, were lawyers at one point and law does relate directly to politics it was a unique experience that allowed me to further my knowledge of public policy through hearing these candidates speak both at the debate and to the media. I would have never heard many of the post debate interviews with smaller media outlets having not been working the spin room.

Any advice for future students?

As a poli-sci major [volunteering at the debate] gave me the opportunity to have a firsthand look at a crucial part of a political campaign. Without being involved in extracurricular activities on campus I would have never had this opportunity.  There are so many opportunities to get involved especially in the Political Science department. We have an excellent Model UN club on campus as well as several other political science clubs. My suggestion to any student is to get involved as much as you can because you’ll be afforded a lot of opportunities to further your education and give you experiences you can’t get anywhere else.