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Women at Work: Sariel Taylor Pindo

Beatrice Smith

A decision to stay in Canberra for university took Sariel Taylor Pindo to Washington, and Hillary Clinton’s Head Campaign Office.

For Sariel, it made sense to stay in Canberra, her hometown for university. As she explains, her interest when leaving school was political science so when seeking the right degree in 2011, the Australian National University (ANU) presented itself as an unrivalled choice.

“Obviously there a logical element to studying here,” she says. “You just kind of go, ‘well why would I leave?’ At the time, ANU was ranked eighth in the world for Politics and International Studies—now it’s ranked sixth.”

Sariel enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce combined in a Flexible Double Degree with a Bachelor of Policy Studies  the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), completing Honours (Political Science) this year. But little did she know when she commenced study in 2012 that ANU would be launching her into the world of politics sooner than she expected.

Sariel in Washington DC, Washington Internship 2014.

Being selected to participate in the prestigious Washington Internship Program in 2014 sparked Sariel’s interest in the US political world—the annual course embedding students in the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington DC for six weeks—prompting her to return a couple of years later, at a pivotal time.

“I went to the States to volunteer on the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign in 2016. It was a full-on year but a great year and I probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve it without first studying US Politics here,” she says.

“I interned in the Senate and later when [Hillary] announced she was running I was able to put a lot of the theory I had learned into practice.”

Sariel and Isabella on the Hillary Clinton campaign trail.

As part of Hillary’s run, Sariel was based in the Head Campaign Office of California in Los Angeles where she organised other volunteers on weekend trips to places, including Las Vegas. There she campaigned for both Hillary and then-candidate for the Senate Catherine Cortez Masto, whose eventual election as the first female Latino senator Sariel says was the most rewarding part of her time on the campaign.

When asked about her experience of her degree overall, Sariel is thoughtful and says that it’s been less about the individual subjects and more about the lecturers and tutors she’s encountered and the relationships she’s forged that has made the biggest impact.

“Just this year, I took a course on Comparative Federalism— where the lecturer is  a genius, brilliant and super engaging,” says Sariel.

“Subjects like that are where you know you’re being taught by an expert and the assessment is interesting and relevant to the real world. It reaffirms that choice that this is such an esteemed university.”

“My Honours supervisor Dr Andrew Banfield is able to explain quite complex concepts throughout various subjects and he teaches first-year subjects now too. He along with many others I have been taught by are brilliant at embedding the core  concepts in first year, which lay the foundation for further exploration in later years..”

Sariel with Dr Andrew Banfield, Head, School of Politics and International Relations (Honours Supervisor).

Sariel also adds that CASS doesn’t just support learning through lecturers and tutors, but were also very flexible when she decided to take the opportunity to defer her Honours until 2017 when she got the call up from Hillary’s campaign.

“They were super supportive,” she says. “They even touched base during the campaign, which was really nice.”

If you’re interested in discovering where a degree in arts, humanities and social sciences can take you, make ANU your first preference for study in  2018. See their website for more information or attend the ANU Advisory from 10am-2pm this Friday 15 December at the Pop-up Reunion Village.

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author