A Young Woman in Politics–Say Hello to Marina Pence

Wearing her NYU sweatshirt and an infectious smile, Marina Pence opens up about her beginnings in politics. With a childhood in Denver, Colorado, Pence noticed her community and schools to be liberal and “focused on personal choice.” It wasn’t until middle school that she and her father had a debate on a local news story about land rights in Colorado, which sparked her passion for the issues.

Pence, a sophomore at Boston University, studies political science for many reasons. When asked why she wants to pursue the field as a career, she reflects on her empathy and aspiration to help others. “The real solution,” she said, “is public service as a form of government.” Pence remembers her diverse public school in Denver and the large number of students that qualified for free meals. That’s when she asked, “Why is nobody talking about this?” Now, she strives to make change every day.

Not only does she run voter registration drives at her formal high school and BU, but she also uses her voice to make a difference. Pence has attended rallies for the Women’s March, Black Lives Matter, Keystone Pipeline, and the Parkland Shooting. She also focuses on voicing her thoughts on social media as a form of expression and encouragement for other students to get involved.

I asked Marina if she ever worries about her staunch political stance on sites like Instagram, and if she thinks she’s being perceived as “that” person. Although she maintains confidence in her intent, she sometimes wonders if she’s “that white feminist elitist who doesn’t understand black women’s issues.” Pence is vocal about her activism and feminist beliefs in equality. She remembers not everyone reacting so positively. “People would call me out for taking it too far,” she said, “[because] sometimes you don’t need to hear another white liberal opinion.”

Pence focuses on voting as the biggest thing for young people to focus on. “Overall the 18-30 age group is 20% voters,” she said. “Young people often don’t care about issues that will eventually affect them.”

Topics like social security don’t strike excitement with the youth of the United States, even though they need to care about it. Pence emphasized that it’s all about who you surround yourself with and who you listen to. With a distaste for CNN, she recommends looking out for outlets like Politico, The New York Times, and podcasts like The Daily and Pod Save America. For young people who know little about how to stay informed on politics, she focuses on reading the daily news, talking to friends, and considering local politics.

Since coming to BU, Marina feels that her political activism has impacted her college experience positively. Boston’s liberal atmosphere and open-minded professors have made it a great opportunity to share personal views. Pence admits that her current passion for politics is a reflection of our country’s current state. After noticing flaws during the Obama administration, she began to contemplate presidential power. This only heightened when 2016 came and the current Trump administration created cause for deep analysis. “These are things that affect my community and the world,” she said.

Pence personally dreams that she will eventually work for the United Nations or the CIA to make the world a better place. On a grander scale, she hopes the number of young voters increases and that the United States work on improving federal aid programs and the crises behind student debt. It’s safe to say that young students can all learn more from someone like Marina Pence, an open-minded and passionate voice for our generation.

 

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