Tayla Daniel ‘12
Tayla Daniel has a 12-year plan. She is working for the Children’s Defense Fund but by the time she turns 35, she hopes to be running for President of the United States. First, she plans to attend law school and to earn a Ph.D. in history or philosophy. Then she would like to run for a seat in the U.S. senate or become a law professor. “All my favorite people are teachers,” she says. By the time she is constitutionally eligible to run at age 35, she will have completed her “to do” list and will begin her quest to become president.
Coming to DC
Interested in history and politics at a young age, Tayla began researching colleges when she was in eighth grade.
“I knew what I wanted to reach for. I wanted to learn about the constitution and even wrote a letter to Condoleezza Rice,” she says. During high school in Pontiac, Michigan, she participated in the Michigan Youth and Government program meeting local politicians to learn about the political process. When ready to apply for college, she targeted schools in Washington, DC. She applied to schools in DC and heard from Trinity first. She was impressed by Trinity’s small size, the fact it was a women’s college, and that Nancy Pelosi ’62 and Kathleen Sebelius ’70 are alumnae–two women with highly successful political careers.
At Trinity she majored in political science and her favorite class was constitutional law, “I am interested in learning about the different interpretations of the constitution. I want people to understand what their rights are under the constitution and I want to understand it so that I could be the person who says, ‘the constitution says this,’ I like to be right,” she says. She also joined the Trinity College Democrats Club.
White House Intern
In spring of 2011, she applied for and was accepted as an intern in the White House and began working on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that August. “It was the most amazing experience. I had never been to the White House and I was awe struck. It was a magical experience,” she says. Her direct supervisor had been an intern herself and gave Tayla every opportunity to be immersed in activities at the White House, even taking her to the West Wing. Tayla gave tours of the White House to VIPs and tourists alike. She was able to meet President Obama twice.
Tayla’s Trinity connections reach far and wide. One of her favorite professors, Dr. Kathleen McGinnis, told Tayla that she reminded her of a student who graduated from Trinity years ago–Maggie Williams ‘77. Dr. McGinnis put them together. “She became a mentor and helped with me with my resume. She eventually sent it directly to Marian Wright Edelman, the president of the Children’s Defense Fund.” Tayla says that Ms. Edelman called her personally to tell Tayla she wanted to speak to her about working at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). Upon her graduation from Trinity, Tayla began working there. “I am a program assistant for youth leadership and development. We train young leaders to work in communities and help with issues dealing with children and families.” The CDF helps poor communities and children across United States.
You Have to be Fearless
“Trinity has made me into the professional woman that I am,” she says. Her internship at the White House, while carrying a full course load, “Gave me the confidence to know I can work full time and go to school. Nothing can break my confidence. You have to be fearless.”
Her fearlessness will be tested in the years ahead as she fulfills her plan. Tayla wants to run for president for several reasons but first, she would like to dispel the myth that women cannot become president. Her work at the Children’s Defense Fund has given her insight into the inequities of the education and justice systems in the U.S. and she wants to address those issues.
The Trinity Sisterhood
Tayla came to Trinity to fulfill her dream of studying politics in Washington, DC but Trinity gave her much more. “My morals come from my faith. Finding a school of faith with an emphasis on social justice was icing on the cake,” she says. “Going to Trinity is like being part of a family. The support is there for you and it is a sisterhood. I went to Trinity with like-minded women who want to make the world a better place. When I meet people with friends from Trinity I introduce them as my Trinity sister and I hope, even when I am older, to be a sister to future incoming freshman classes.”