By Katie Thompson
Gordon College News Service
May 1, 2012
(This story appeared Sunday, May 13, 2012, on page 1 of the print edition and online of the Boston Globe North section.)
NORTH ANDOVER— When MaryRose Mazzola was in eighth grade, her parents drove her to Howard Dean’s presidential campaign rallies and around town to put up signs. But the Mazzolas weren’t campaigning for Dean; their 14-year old daughter was.
Now 21, Mazzola of Chelmsford, Mass., has been working for political campaigns ever since. Graduating May 20 from Merrimack College, she has deferred her acceptance to a master’s program at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. Why? So she can continue as campaign manager for State Senator Barry Finegold’s (D-Andover) re-election bid in November, a role she’s juggled with a full time class load since March.
“It’s a rare and invaluable opportunity,” Mazzola said. “I definitely wanted to take advantage of it with this gift Senator Finegold has given me.”
In a leadership position often reserved for staffers twice her age, Mazzola has spent her final spring semester working 35-40 hours a week on Finegold’s campaign while completing her course requirements. And as graduation celebrations end, she’ll continue to recruit volunteers, collect signatures, and plan events and community outreach opportunities for the senator.
Mazzola said her inspiration for public service came from her grandfather, William Hogan, former chancellor of UMass-Lowell who helped to revitalize the city during his 25-year tenure.
“The big strides that Lowell saw in the 1990s were my first hand experience of seeing state and local politics working,” she said.
She was hooked from then on. After Dean’s campaign, she went on to hold signs, make phone calls and report to campaign field directors from voting polls for U.S. Sen. John Kerry, Gov. Deval Patrick, Rep. Niki Tsongas and President Barack Obama in their respective elections.