2 U. Arizona Students Headed To Presidential Inauguration

This story was written by Christine Filer, Arizona Daily Wildcat

Two University of Arizona students know they'll be at January's presidential inauguration, regardless of who wins the election Tuesday.

Molecular and cellular biology sophomore Brooke McLaughlin and pre-pharmacy sophomore Christa Goldie have been selected as Inaugural Scholars, meaning that both of them will be in Washington to watch the 44th president sworn into office.

McLaughlin admits that it's "quite the honor," saying that "it's going to be a really rewarding experience."

Goldie agreed, calling it a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. She said she hopes to cherish the memories.

The two women were selected through the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, an honor society, for exclusive invitations to the University Presidential Inaugural Conference. While in Washington, they will attend a reception, panel discussions, Inaugural Conference debates, the Inaugural Day Celebration and the Black Tie Gala Inaugural Ball.

Lance Armstrong will be one of the keynote speakers at the reception, while many VIPs in the world of politics will be in attendance at the events.

In addition to private access to the Smithsonian Museum on the National Mall, the two students will be able to witness the inauguration, Oath of Office and inaugural address of the 44th President of the United States.

"Either Obama's going to be president, and I'm going to see the first African-American to become president, which would be really exciting," McLaughlin said. "Or it's going to McCain and that would also be quite the treat to see him."

She also expressed excitement that if anything were to happen to McCain to take him from office, his vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, would become the first female president.

Aside from the events, McLaughlin is also looking forward to seeing her uncle, an admiral, who she said will be there.

Goldie, an Arizona native, is anticipating being on the other side of the country for the first time.

Recognizing the significance of her invitation to the inauguration, Goldie says she and McLaughlin will "just be thankful we have this opportunity and not take it for granted."