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Liz Gilbert ’11

Age: 21
Major: Elementary Education
 
Where are you from?
South Florida
 
Why did you choose Wisconsin?
 
I chose Wisconsin for a ton of reasons. I wanted to get out of Florida and try something totally different. I had gone to the same school since Pre-K, so I knew it was time for change. I have wanted to be a teacher my entire life, so I only looked at good education programs. My other passions in addition to education are performing arts and politics, and I knew this school would be a place where I could balance all three. I wanted an environment I could feel comfortable in, and you definitely find that in Madison. This school is whatever you make it; you can totally break out of your bubble or stay right in it. I also knew I wanted a school with the option to join a sorority, an enthusiastic/involved student body, and amazing athletics. As you can probably tell, I’ve always been someone who knows what I want. This school fit every single thing I wanted when looking for a college. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else; I absolutely love it here and recommend it to anyone I know and every person I meet. 
 
How are you involved on campus? What do you do to participate in the Wisconsin community? 
 
I do a few things. Like I said, I’m in the School of Education, Elementary Education Program, with a Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence focus. I student-teach for 12 hours a week in addition to the courses we take in the professional program. I am also very involved in my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. I just finished a yearlong term as the Vice President of Education and before that I was the Vice President of Fraternity Relations. I have held a variety of positions in AXO since my freshman year. I am also the Chief Justice of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association Greek Judicial Board. This is kind of like the governing body of the Greek community. I’m also on the ASM Shared Governance Committee.
 
This Spring Break, I’m traveling to Rwanda with Hillel on an Alternative Spring Break, so there is some planning and preparation for that each week. We’re learning all about African genocide hopefully finding ways to raise awareness on campus after our trip. There’s a ton of planning going into this, but I know the trip is going to be pretty incredible and I can’t wait to share it with everyone when we’re back! I guess I can say I’ve been taking a break since November 2nd, but I am a member of College Democrats and a former intern for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Governor Jim Doyle. Those aren’t exactly campus activities but they have definitely kept me busy and involved in the Wisconsin community.
 
Can you elaborate on The Democratic Party of Wisconsin – what do you have to do and what do you love about it?
 
Going to school in Madison has given me opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have at almost any other university. Studying in a state capital has been incredible because there are so many ways to get involved off campus and in politics. It’s sometimes hard to balance with school, but it’s been amazing to have the experiences I have had at my age. During my freshman/sophomore year, I was the Greek Outreach Coordinator for Students for Barack Obama. I interned for Campaign for Change and Obama for America on top of volunteering with the student organization. I worked in the State Street office for the ’08 Obama campaign about 15 hours a week. Incredible experience. Junior year I interned for Governor Jim Doyle (Fall, Spring, and Summer) and during Summer/Fall 2010 I interned with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. In Doyles office, I interned in the Appointments Department and the External Relations Department. At DPW I interned in the Finance Department and helped with GOTV for the election.  GOTV stands for Get Out The Vote. What do I love about it? Everything. I have learned so much from these internships and have been given the most amazing opportunities. Through my internships I have had the ability to network across the state and across the country. I have volunteered/worked on 5 presidential events, assisted the White House advance team for a couple of them which was awesome, and I helped with crowd building for the huge rally this past September. It is amazing to see how one person can make a difference here.
 
I have to ask, how do you know Obama? How long have you known him? How do you feel his first two years as president have gone? 
 
Haha oh yes, I knew this question was coming. To make a very long story short, my dad got involved with the Obama finance team during my senior year of high school (so Spring 2007). This was when NO ONE thought Obama had a chance. Everyone was supporting Hillary, especially everyone in South Florida. My dad had a pretty incredible interaction with the then-senator once and just thought he would be the best for the job. He really believed in him, so he went to work for the NFC (National Finance Committee). He thought he was one of the most, if not the most, smart, qualified, and good-hearted politician he had ever met.  As a result, my whole family supported Obama. I was on board very quickly. After I heard him speak only once I knew what my dad was talking about. The man is incredible. What you see on TV is not a show; it’s so real. Anyway, my dad did a great job on the finance team for the election. He helped with events all over the country, and in turn, the Gilbert family went along for the ride. It was honestly the most unbelievable journey and something I will never forget. I got to hand him his birthday cake during August 07. It’s pretty surreal. Since Obama has been elected, all Gilberts have stayed hard at work for him because we love him and he is incredible. I think I’ve said that 10 times now. My dad is currently National Deputy Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee and he continues to fundraise for the president. He sees him at least once a month, sometimes up to three or four times.
 
The midterms were terrible, and we were all pretty disappointed, but there is still a lot of work to do! In terms of how I think the president’s done, there aren’t words to express how proud I am. If people turned off some of the propaganda and did a little research on their own, they’d realize he has done a phenomenal job and accomplished more than 70% of what he wanted to do as president in less than two years. His record speaks for itself, and I look forward to working for him, in any way I can, for the next 6 years.
 
Where are we most likely to find you on a Saturday night?
 
Either College Library or the KK…or in my bed on twitter. Depends on what time of the semester/how long my paper due on Monday is.
 
How do you procrastinate best?
 
The better question is how don’t I procrastinate. It is one of my biggest, if not my biggest, flaws as a student. I will actually do anything to procrastinate: paint my nails, clean my room, watch funny Kristin Wiig clips on Hulu (Garth & Kat, Penelope, Lawrence Welk Show, Bjork, Judy Grimes just to name a few favorites), hang out in the kitchen of AXO, read every tweet from all 500 people I follow, watch the West Wing, go for a drive, go to the gym (but probably not)… really anything. It’s bad. But I will get whatever I need to done; I have seen the sun rise from the 3rd floor quiet section way too many times.
 
Who are your role models?
 
Eleanor Roosevelt, Natalie Portman, John Lyman, and my dad. 
 
What are your biggest dreams and goals for the future?
 
Contrary to the beliefs of most Alpha Chi’s, I want to work in the White House (most of them would say I want to be the AXO house mother because I never want to leave). I would love to have the opportunity to work for the president. My passion has always been education, so I would love to work in the Department of Education and then possibly teach in California public schools. I want to start dancing again. I used to practice Ballet six days a week for 15 years. I would love the time to do that again. I want to travel, and I’d love to spend another summer in Spain. I want to see everything. I want to fix problems and help people. 

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