Alexandria Murphy is a junior at Worcester State University. She is double majoring in Communications (Public Relations/Advertising) and Criminal Justice, and minoring in Pre-Law. Alexandria is involved on campus as a Class of 2018 Committeewoman, violinist in 3 Worcester orchestras, and campaigned for a Resident Senator elected position in the WSU Student Senate. She won the Senate seat in April 2016, but resigned shortly after so she could pursue the prestigious and coveted Running Start Star Fellowship as one of seven women chosen nationally in Washington, D.C. in Fall of 2016. Alexandria works tirelessly to inspire young women to become involved politically, stand up for what they believe in, and be strong and confident advocates for themselves. She believes female representation in local, state, and federal government is essential for future generations to continue a path of equality. Aside from her academic involvement, Alexandria earned her Girl Scout Gold Award in 2014, and the Young Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England for her take action project, “GIRLS: Gals In Real Life Succeed” after 15 years with the organization. She also served as the 2016 Massachusetts Cherry Blossom Princess in Washington, D.C. through the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Princess Program, where she met inspiring and successful women leaders from across the world. Alexandria is currently interning at the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, engaging firsthand with elected officials of Congress in the center of American politics. Alexandria’s career goal is to attend law school, become a Navy JAG Officer, and run for a Massachusetts Congressional seat.
It goes without being said, but Alex is my kind of gal. We met in 2013 while I was working at Jack Wills Newport and she was a frequent customer at the store. Shortly thereafter I became her Girl Scout Gold Award advisor, which was a true delight as she shares my same enthusiasm and dedication to helping young women succeed. As you can see she is a force to be reckoned with and I couldn't be more proud of all she has achieved the past few years and what she has ahead!
You are currently a Running Start Star Fellow - what has this experience been like for you?
The last month working for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been phenomenal. It is everything that I could have imagined, and more. The first week I was here I met President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner, and Governor Rick Scott. It is incredible to see the first Latina Congresswoman make such amazing strides for women in office. She is the prime example of the hard work, dedication, and passion it takes to be a successful and respected leader; I couldn’t be learning from anyone better than Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen.
This experience is certainly unique. If I had been told a year ago I would be living on Capitol Hill with free housing and living stipend, interning for a female member of Congress, and getting college credit at 20 years old, I would have laughed. The pool of women who applied for the Star Fellowship are absolutely remarkable. I never thought that I would have been chosen as one of SEVEN for this mind-blowing opportunity when I applied, but that makes me even more grateful to be here. Being in Washington, D.C. (especially during this election) is a once in a lifetime chance.
Why is it important to have more women in elected office?
Representation is everything. If there are more women in elected positions, whether that be at the university, local, state, or federal level, then more women will see it is possible for them to run and accomplish greatness like women that came before them. Women will bring more to the table, whatever the situation. To purposely exclude or dismiss an entire group of strong, educated people due to their characteristics that don’t align with the majority is simply incredulous. A quote that I simply adore is from the Notorious RBG, “People ask me sometimes, when — when do you think it will it be enough? When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is when there are nine.” Women have been underrepresented for so long, that it is important their voices and concerns are heard. They have since proven that they are qualified and effective leaders that accomplish many great things.
Alex with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
What advice would you give to your 10 year old self?
My whole life, I was raised to be the best version of myself that I could be, and to always prepare for the future. This can be hard sometimes growing up, as we want to just fit in and have fun as kids. Try as I might, I never quite fit in with kids my age, rather I always liked to hang with the adults, watch the news, and helped my dad with his local elections. He called me his “political machine.” Frequently I would be told to go with the kids, but I never really had anything in common with them, as I was always looking to the future and follow the paths of the older people around me. Looking back on this, I would tell myself to keep doing what makes me happy and what I believe in; it all works out in the end. I would tell myself that it is okay to have fun- work hard and play harder. I’d remind myself to always lift others up and to take the high road when it comes to conflicts.
Tell us about your history with Girl Scouts and how that has helped you get to where you are today.
Well this is a very long story! I began Girl Scouts in September 2001. My dad had been a Boy Scout his whole life, and loved it, so he wanted my sister and I to have the same experience. I truly believe this is the single organization that has propelled me into a successful life. I have been in three councils due to redistricting: GS of Southeastern MA, GS of Rhode Island, and finally GS of Southeastern New England. Throughout my time in Girl Scouts (spanning 2001-2015) I sold approximately 3,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies through personal marketing and troop booth sales, which is not an easy task, no matter how cute the Girl Scout is. I received my Bronze Award (the highest award the Junior Girl Scout can receive) in 2007 for coordinating a 30 hour county-wide food and toy drive for three local animal shelters in Southeastern Massachusetts, which helped countless animals and added to the stock of the shelters. This forced me to learn time management, planning, networking, accounting, and coordinating- all at 11 years old. I skipped working on my Silver (the highest award a Cadette Girl Scout can earn) due to being involved in so many other extra curriculars, but I continued to be in the troop, attend meetings and events. I met lifelong friends and skills that I would never trade. The memories I have of Girl Scout camp will stay with me forever. In 2014, I completed my 90 hour take action Gold Award. I created free and fun workshops for young women in the areas of presentation, style, public speaking, politics, vlogging, resumes and many more topics. I used my platform of my blog to further the reach of my audience to a global scale. Because of this, in May 2015, I was honored with the 2015 Young Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England. Just having the Gold Award will allow me to graduate Navy Officer Development School a rank higher than my counterparts, which is simply amazing. While at the GSSNE Leading Women Awards with Alexandra Curtis (who just this woman alone has changed my life in so many ways) I introduced myself to the CEO of GSSNE and gave her my business card, which happened to say I was a Gold Award and YWOD recipient. Not even a month later, I received an email to speak at the 2016 Gold Award ceremony, along with a job offer at 20 years old to oversee the approval and denial operations of the Highest Awards (Bronze, Silver, Gold, YWOD) at GSSNE.
How did the Cherry Blossom Princess program help you develop as a leader?
The Cherry Blossom Princess program was by far an overwhelming experience. Not only did I learn how to survive 16 hour days in heels and tights, I also met 58 other incredible women that represented their state or territory with dignity and class. During the Festival in April, I knew I’d be moving to DC in September, so I made sure to connect with as many DC based princesses and speakers that I could find so I’d have a network of friends when I came back. The week of festivities made me so happy- I was in DC and there wasn’t an ounce of competition for the title of Cherry Blossom Queen, as it was chosen by a spinning wheel. I feel this allowed all of the girls to actually become friends and not worry about being jealous of who would win; we all had the same equal chance. When the Wisconsin Princess won, we were all genuinely happy for her (although we did attribute her good luck from the hug she received from Speaker Paul Ryan when we met him in the House wing, be). This is crucial to female development, because we are taught in society that women are supposed to be jealous or hate each other- whether it be over men, jobs, looks, or anything. This week gave us all the chance to be ourselves and actually become friends and learn about different areas of the country without the stress or added fumbles of competing. Lifting up other women is so important. I know that if the women in my life hadn’t done so for me, I would not be doing any of the amazing things I am doing today.
What is one thing we can do to support more women in politics?
I believe the one thing we can do it to let women know they are enough, they are leaders who have a say in their futures. Women make up half of the world’s population, and we know what other women need and want, unlike men who never deal with living as a female. However, there aren’t enough women elected to positions to reflect said population. Women need to register to vote and actually get out to the polls and have their voices heard. If females make up half of the total votes, why aren’t they being socially responsible and voting? If more women are getting out to the polls, they will be engaged citizens and see what they may or may not like being done in their communities. Hopefully if they do not like what they are seeing, then they will use that as a catalyst to create change and use their voices to be heard. This will empower them to be leaders, especially if other strong females have done so before or with them. Inspiration and representation are key aspects of supporting more women in elected positions at the local, state, and federal levels.
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