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SMC Soccer

McLaughlin brings lessons from Capitol Hill to field

| Monday, August 31, 2015

Not usually the spectator, senior midfielder Maggie McLaughlin had a front row seat this summer for some of the nation’s most historic events.

McLaughlin spent her summer interning with United States Congressman Lou Barletta in Washington, D.C. While she learned a thing or two about passing a bill on Capitol Hill, McLaughlin sees how she can apply her political experience to the pitch this season.

“This summer [during my internship], I learned a great deal about taking the initiative to get things done,” McLaughlin said. “Hopefully that is something I will be able to apply to helping the team this year.

“It was also stressed to me this summer that the small details do count. That is definitely something that I can bring to the soccer field.”

Senior midfielder Maggie McLaughlin dribbles between two defenders in a 2-0 loss against Olivet on Oct. 28 at Angela Athletic Facility.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Senior midfielder Maggie McLaughlin dribbles between two defenders in a 2-0 loss against Olivet on Oct. 28 at Angela Athletic Facility.

McLaughlin paid close attention to the little details while serving as co-captain last season, alongside Mary Kate Hussey, a 2015 graduate of the College. Now under the leadership of new Belles head coach Ken Nuber, McLaughlin said captains have not been chosen, but she’s ready to once again take on the responsibility of being a team leader.

“I will gladly take on any role I am given by our new coach,” McLaughlin said. “Being a captain includes a great deal of responsibility, and I was lucky to have a great co-captain to teach me the ropes last year.”

No stranger to taking charge, McLaughlin kicked off her college career with 17 starts her freshman year, posting three goals and five assists. The next season she started in 19 games, scored two goals and tallied two assists. McLaughlin grew her on-the-field presence as captain with three goals, one assist and seven points to help the Belles reach six wins.

And it’s these accomplishments on the field that McLaughlin said have helped open doors to opportunities like her internship on Capitol Hill and study abroad experience in Rome her sophomore year.

“I think that being a collegiate athlete definitely appeals to employers,” McLaughlin said. “So in that way, I am sure it has helped to open some doors for me. As far as studying abroad, I would not have been able to do so if I was not a Division III athlete.

“It provides the perfect balance for academics and extracurriculars while allowing me to still play soccer.”

The business and political science double-major from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, found a similar balance with her busy schedule this summer, juggling her wide-range of assignments for the Congressman.

“My daily duties included drafting legislative correspondence, researching previous bills, attending briefings, markups and judicial hearings to create memos for the legislative assistants and director,” McLaughlin said. “I was also able to assist the communications director in writing several speeches for the Congressman and spent a great deal of time compiling information on veterans’ affairs, organizations and bills for H.R. 2490, Bertie’s Respect for National Cemeteries Act, which Congressman Barletta introduced on the floor in May.”

Just as she builds from her experiences on the field, McLaughlin said her time in Washington, D.C., gave her an idea of what she wants to do after she graduates from Saint Mary’s next spring.

“In the three short months I was on the Hill, I was able to see our government’s legislative process at work before my very eyes, while rubbing elbows with prominent politicians, some of whom are presidential nominees for the GOP,” McLaughlin said. “I was even extended the invitation to help with a project in Speaker [John] Boehner’s office after meeting his Press Secretary, who reached out upon my arrival. She is a Saint Mary’s alumna. All in all, it was a great experience, and helped give me a better idea of what I would like to do with my business and political science degrees after graduation.”

McLaughlin said she would like to be a part of the election process for politicians at some point in her career.

“I am interested in exploring the campaign side of politics now that I have gotten a glimpse into the public sector on the Hill,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t necessarily see myself back on the Hill after graduation, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and exposure I gained this summer.”

While McLaughlin might not see herself back on the Hill, she’ll be back on the soccer field Wednesday as the Belles take on local rival Bethel at 7 p.m. in Mishawaka.

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