In The Light: Kathleen Shaughnessy

In The Light: Kathleen Shaughnessy

Tom Wiley

“Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington…It drew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy,” President Barack Obama said during his acceptance speech after his victory in the 2008 election.

Some distance away, a group of Colgate students, led by senior Kathleen Shaughnessy, brought Obama’s words to life right here on the hill. Students for Barack Obama participated in the campaign by phone-banking voters and spreading interest around campus. Shaugnessy, who has also served as College Democrats President, was integral in the effort.

“It was really exciting for everyone,” Shaughnessy said. “It was the first time that you saw a real passion for politics from students.”

For this Massachusetts native, the Democratic Party has always held a strong place in her heart. Shaughnessy has been a committed College Democrat from early on in her Colgate career. A political science major, she has been involved in many academic opportunities at Colgate, including the Colgate study group in Washington D.C.

“I am a naturally political person,” Shaughnessy said. “I know where I stand.”

Politics is Shaughnessy’s passion, but her obsession is the Supreme Court. The walls of her room are covered with newspaper clippings about decisions and the justices. During the D.C. study group, she interned at the court and regularly came into contact with the justices and even once found herself in a heated discussion with Justice Scalia. She hopes to eventually become a constitutional lawyer.

“The justices are like celebrities to me,” Shaughnessy said. “I love them.”

Shaughnessy is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she serves as both an educational and standards officer. As an educational officer, she passes down sorority traditions by sharing Kappa’s history with sisters. At the same time, she opens up learning opportunities outside the house walls, coordinating learning opportunities with groups like Career Services.

“A sorority is a really great way to meet people,” Shaughnessy said. “It’s just a fun social outlet.”

This child of the 90’s appreciates the cherished decade of her young life. That’s why each week she hosts a 90’s tribute radio show, on Colgate’s WRCU radio station. On her last program, she featured artists like Smashing Pumpkins, Celine Dion and Brian McKnight.

Dedication defines Shaughnessy. Her peers recognized her for this dedication last year by electing her into the Konosioni Honor Society. For this Massachusetts Democrat, Colgate has opened all sorts of possibilities.

“It’s been busy, but really good,” Shaughnessy said.