Sammi Bray ’25
Last fall, Jaymie Bianca ‘21 was preparing to graduate. Now, she is a candidate for the Bristol Board of Education. Bianca thought about running for some time but was not sure if it was right, questioning her age. “I thought I would need more skills and life experience,” she said. But it was in her Trinity College dorm room that Bianca realized she could run and she could do it now.
“I talked to one of my mentors and I realized that I was qualified and that this was a path that was possible for me… life experience isn’t measured by age, but rather how much we have maximized the years we have lived on earth,” Bianca shared. She also identified the importance of passion, drive, and zest for life and community as what really matters in campaigning.
Bianca says the journey has not been easy, “It was definitely difficult reading some negative comments on social media. While there were more positive comments than negative, the hurtful ones tended to impact my confidence.”
The age of social media has certainly influenced campaigns. While more candidates have utilized the tool to connect with voters, the public has also weaponized social media to share false information or hateful messages about candidates, while others direct comments to voters with opposing views. “It became hard at times to retain confidence and faith in myself and my abilities. However, I had such a wonderful team working with me, which truly made all the difference,” Bianca shared, emphasizing the importance of never doubting yourself.
Quoting Winnie the Pooh, Bianca remembers, “You are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem, and stronger than you think.” She kept this in mind when campaigning. Bianca learned the importance of politics and the way that she could possibly be affecting others. “I learned that politics may include facts and figures, but we are representatives of our community. In order to do our jobs effectively, we need to understand and care for our community, as well as participate in community events.”
Bianca has been a strong participant in her communities for years. A seasoned performer, Bianca has shared her baton twirling talents with local towns and has been involved in Miss America pageants. At Trinity, Bianca was a student mentor, class senator, writing associate, research assistant, and teaching assistant. She was also the president of Ignite and an outspoken advocate for women’s issues. Bianca also advocates for individuals with different abilities, inspired by her brother’s diagnosis of autism at the age of two.
The time Bianca spent at Trinity prepared her for politics in several ways. As an Educational Studies major, Bianca learned about education from multiple different angles. She was also able to volunteer at local Hartford schools, giving her insight into the classroom. “My professors were extremely helpful in guiding me and fostering my passion for education and human rights,” Bianca shared. She also worked at Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC), allowing her to experience leading a political leadership organization. “Laura Lockwood was always open to my ideas and helped foster my passion for female empowerment as political leadership,” she says of her time working with WGRAC.
When asked for her advice for current students, she encouraged students to look beyond their comfort zone. Trying new things on campus and taking a variety of classes showed Bianca interests she never knew she had.
For female students inspired to run, Bianca says “Never lose faith in yourself. Politics may be a male-dominated field, but you are smart, capable, strong, and confident. You are fully qualified to run for office because of the experiences you’ve had, the struggles you may have faced, and your heart and passion for your role.”