In 2013, Angel Roggie, at the time a St. Bonaventure University junior, walked into the White House, ready to be a speechwriting intern for the Office of Vice President.
“Vice President Joe Biden was coming to speak to all the interns, but he wanted to meet all his own interns first," the 2014 SBU graduate recalled. "So, he came in and first took a picture with our group. Then, he made it a point to address each one of us, and I was shocked when he came up to me first. I told him my name and that I was from Seneca Falls, New York. He muttered that he went to law school near there in Syracuse — as if I didn’t know!"
She continued, “Then, he went on to a couple more interns, but he realized he hadn’t asked us what school the first few of us were from, so he immediately went back to me. I told him I went to St. Bonaventure University, and he held my hand while addressing everyone else and said, ‘Once upon a time, her school used to be good at basketball.’ I chuckled and made a funny-but-not-pleased face at him, and he laughed and smiled. Never did I dream that I would be the one to make the Vice President of the United States laugh with my quirkiness, but it happened.”
Roggie said that first interaction was one of the few major interactions she had with Biden during her time as an intern. She said she directly worked with his staff, particularly the vice president's deputy director of speechwriting and his chief speechwriter.
During her time as an intern, her responsibilities included acting as support staff for vice presidential events, drafting remarks and statements for Biden, and completing research and filing memos for speechwriters to consider using in their remarks for Biden.
Roggie recalled her "all-time favorite project" while working for the Office of the Vice President: “I was asked to write the remarks for a Black History Month reception in Selma, Alabama — in honor of the Civil Rights March across the Edmund Pettis Bridge."
As Roggie went through her internship program, she learned more about Biden, both politically and personally, and, she said, she believes Biden possesses characteristics and mannerisms different from most politicians with whom she has come into contact.
“I think former Vice President Biden is truly a compassionate and caring person," Roggie said. "For someone who has experienced great loss in his life, he is still an optimist and believes the best in people. I've never seen a government leader be so relatable and kind to people, but it's effortless for him. He sees every American as a new friend and wants to learn how he can help them. But he also says what's on his mind and often what you see is indeed what you get with him. He knows what he wants. He's transparent, and he will do everything in his power to stop injustice and right wrongs.”
Roggie, who lives and works in Seattle, is the senior associate of communications for VillageReach, a nonprofit organization that works to transform healthcare delivery to all. She said her time at the White House taught her to communicate effectively and to use her skills to make a lasting, powerful difference.
And one piece of advice Vice President Biden gave her intern class has helped her to do that.
“According to my journal entry on the last day I saw him, the most powerful thing I recalled him saying was this: ‘Lead by the power of your example, not by the example of your power,’ which I think is just a great mantra for both your personal and professional life,” Roggie said.
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