Deputy Chief of Staff for Councilmember Daniel J. Halloran
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: At the age of 15, Meaghan Mapes became an intern for New York State Senator Serphin R. Maltese, doing community relations and helping out on the campaign trail. For the past three years, Mapes has performed more than 200 hours of community service a year. She currently teaches homeless people at the St. John’s University Manhattan Campus and volunteers at an after school All-Star program for disadvantaged middle school youths. “If they didn’t have this program, these kids would be out getting in trouble,” said Mapes. The volunteers help with homework, join in constructive activities and play sports with the kids.
JOB: For the past two months, Mapes has worked for Councilmember Daniel J. Halloran as his deputy chief of staff. Her duties include handling constituent cases, accompanying Halloran to events, and attending events on his behalf when he is not able to attend. Mapes was also involved in his campaign before he was sworn into office in January.
PERSONAL: Mapes, 20, was born and raised in Howard Beach and graduated from Townsend Harris High School. She is a senior at St. John’s University in Jamaica, studying government and politics with a minor in philosophy. Despite her time-consuming job, Mapes finds time to be involved in many on campus organizations. She is a member of the Lambda Phi Sorority, Secretary of the Skull and Circle Honor Society, a member of the Ozanam Scholars and a member of the St. John’s College Republican Club. Mapes also serves as a senior representative for the student government and recently took a trip to Puerto Rico. She has also taken a trip to New Orleans, studied in Italy and France, and performed community service during her studies in those countries.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Getting people excited about politics has been one of her biggest challenges. “I got involved in politics while I was still in high school, and it’s hard because no young people are excited about it,” said Mapes. Another challenge she faced was being taken seriously at such a young age. “Even now, people look at me like an intern and this has been hard to overcome,” said Mapes. “It’s hard to gain people’s respect after their first initial reaction.”
FAVORITE MEMORY: Working in Senator Maltese’s office has been one of Mapes’s greatest memories. “I started interning with him when I was 15,” said Mapes. “He gave me the opportunity to prove that I really could handle it all. He has been both a friend and a mentor.”
INSPIRATION: Once again, Mapes draws her inspiration from working with Senator Maltese. Politics, said Mapes, was something she had no intentions of getting involved with. When her class was assigned a project to do 10 hours of community service with a local office, this is where Mapes chose to go. “At first I wasn’t excited, but then it was something I continued to do even after the class was over.” Mapes said that working with Halloran has also taught her a lot.
– Katie Kasaras