Having found a passion for politics through a service opportunity with the Swedish Armed Forces and a fellowship with the Elizabeth Warren Campaign, Linnea Batey ’24 is eager to begin her studies at HWS, where she intends to pursue a degree in political science.
As a dual citizen of Sweden and the United States, Batey says growing up she felt a heightened responsibility to stay informed about American politics. Through podcasts, such as Pod Save America and Pod Save the World, and by following prominent voices on Twitter, Batey began to consider the power of her own voice.
“If every 18-year-old in America voted, we would see how important our voices are and how important our votes are. I’m paraphrasing Michelle Obama here; if we vote, our representatives will care about what we care about,” Batey says.
Batey chose HWS after learning about the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education’s Day on the Hill program, where students spend several days in the nation’s capital networking with HWS alums. Batey also read articles by the Colleges’ political science faculty. “During my IB history class, I actually quoted Professor David Ost,” she says. A Professor of Political Science who has published widely about Eastern Europe, Ost’s scholarly interests focus on political economy, democratization, capitalism and labor.
During her junior year of high school, Batey became an organizer for the Swedish Armed Forces’ emergency response education program. In previous years, the Swedish Armed Forces invited students to the local army base, where they discussed response plans for disasters and other national crises. While informative, Batey believed that the event had the potential to make a more significant impact. After offering her feedback, she was invited to sit down with multiple agencies, including the Swedish Armed Forces, City Council and emergency medical professionals to improve their planning.
“I really emphasized how important it is to be inclusive. We planned for nine months. I helped plan and evolve the event and talked to the press. We created an emergency scenario that students and teachers had to respond to,” Batey says. More than 1,200 people participated in the event, and the Swedish Armed Forces have since replicated the program’s success in other schools.
“Looking back on the experience from the perspective of this pandemic, I realize how important it was to have that first point of contact and to establish groundwork for responsibility and respect between the people and their government,” she says.
After graduating from high school, Batey took a gap year and joined the Elizabeth Warren campaign in Iowa, where she made phone calls, knocked on doors and spoke with hundreds of voters. On the ground in Iowa, Batey says she learned the importance of people telling their stories and really listening to one another. “I love talking to voters, I love hearing what matters to them. People share who they are, they tell you about their dreams and their families. That’s when I learned the importance of telling your story,” Batey says.