Senior Shannon Beckham knows the path from Duke to the White House. In three years, she’s gone from being a student in a DeWitt Wallace course to working in the office of presidential speechwriting. Here’s how she did it:
Step One: Enroll in the PJMS certificate program. In her sophomore year, Shannon signed up for the journalism and media studies certificate.
Step 2: ”Flunch” a DWC faculty member and apply to join his research team. She took Professor Bill Adair to a faculty lunch and then eventually got hired to help with research projects in the Reporters’ Lab.
Step 3: Work in the Lab. Shannon helped create the first database of political fact-checkers.
Step 4: Take advantage of DWC grants. Shannon applied for — and received — a Susan Tifft internship grant to work for PolitiFact in Washington, D.C. and then traveled to London to participate in a global fact-checking conference.
Step 5: Use a study abroad program to explore news media. While she was in Buenos Aires, Shannon did some work for Chequeado, a fact-checking organization in Argentina.
Step 6. Stay involved. When Shannon returned to campus, she remained involved in center activities and participated in workshops with presidential speechwriters hosted by the Center. She also helped with promotion of DWC activities.
Step 7: Serve as a White House intern. In the summer before her senior year, Shannon worked in the office of presidential speechwriting.
Step 8: Try a political campaign. This spring, she is helping with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, working as a volunteer in Iowa and other states.