During this Winter Term, 11 Elon University political science and journalism students are traveling to South Carolina and New Hampshire to study the 2024 presidential primaries

Students spent the first half of the trip in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina, where they focused primarily on the Democratic strategy in its upcoming primary Feb. 3 and attended President Joe Biden’s speech at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Jan. 8. Now, they are in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they are focusing primarily on the Republican primary Jan. 23.

For senior political science major Tori Kelleher, this class has provided an opportunity to get field work experience ahead of graduating this spring.

“I learned a lot about the voter demographics in South Carolina,” Kelleher said. “It was really interesting to get some face-to-face experience and get to actually talk to people.”

Kelleher said she’s looking forward to seeing the campaign side of primaries in the second half of the trip and analyzing presidential politics. Kelleher is also among some political science students who are planning on volunteering for Democrat Dean Phillips’ campaign this week.

Beyond this Study USA experience, Kelleher works for Elon Votes — a student-led nonpartisan voting rights organization — as a lead civic engagement ambassador. 

Kelleher said she’s going to take what she’s learning in this class and apply it to the organization’s preparations for the upcoming election season.

“We're really looking forward to getting students engaged this upcoming spring,” Kelleher said. “I'm really excited to take what I learned on this trip back to Elon votes and better prepare a plan for spring and fall to get higher student engagement on campus for voting amazing.”