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Dylan Kitts ’13C

For Dylan Kitts ’13C, St. John’s University provided the academics, faculty support, and professional opportunities that prepared him for his role in Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. As one of the candidate’s field organizers, Kitts was responsible for reaching out to potential supporters and overseeing volunteers. In some states, he also ran local Sanders campaign offices while recruiting and training precinct captains.

“St. John’s is the ideal place to set the stage for someone who wants to make a positive difference by changing the political system,” Kitts said. “The University’s mission to empower the needy inspired me to fight for social justice.”

A history major who minored in philosophy, Kitts credits the University with offering a nuanced understanding of “the historic and theoretical underpinnings of our political system.” It also exposed him to students from varied backgrounds and perspectives. “That’s what makes St. John’s stand out,” he said. “Having roommates and friends from other countries and cultures, I became more empathetic—an important quality for a political activist.”

His professors’ encouragement and support convinced Kitts to apply for life-changing opportunities—such as the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant he was awarded in his senior year. For nine months, he taught on a small Indonesian island. Kitts went on to study human rights in Poland as a Humanity in Action fellow and received an additional fellowship from Green Corps: The Field School for Environmental Organizing. “Those experiences,” he said, “showed me the need to correct inequities through grassroots action.”