One of the unsung heroes of any organization is the vice president, often overshadowed by his or her running mate upon election to office. Penn State’s student government is no different, with the vice president routinely taking on the brunt of the executive work as delegated by the president. The current stalwart holding that position is UPUA Vice President Katelyn Mullen. I got a chance to catch up with Katelyn and discuss her role in student government, her cameo on an MTV reality show, and all things veep-related.
Onward State: I heard that you were once on an MTV reality show. What was that like?
Katelyn Mullen: Being on MTV was an interesting experience to say the least. The main reason why I did it was because my good friend was home and was really excited that he interviewed in the city and was selected to be on the show and really needed someone to help him out. I figured that it would be a lot of fun. It was a really good experience overall. But I don’t think that it helped the campaign at all. I tried not to let anyone know that I was on MTV.
Editors Note: Don’t worry Katelyn, we did it for you! Skip to 1:50 to see Vice President Mullen’s cameo on “Friend Zone” where she offers some advice to her friend Kevin.
OS: UPUA members have told me that you are secretly a supermodel when you aren’t doing government-related stuff. Tell me more about that.
KM: I’m unfortunately not a supermodel. Sometimes I like to just goof around with people from UPUA. Its good to have personal relationships and business relationships and its important to know how to balance the two. We joke around and poke fun at each other. But no, I’m not really a supermodel.
OS: So, give Onward State the scoop, can we expect a President Katelyn Mullen sometime down the road?
KM: I don’t know what I’m doing next year yet. There’s a lot that I have to consider. It’s something that I have thought about but I have no definite answer as of now. No matter what I do, I would like to be involved in UPUA in some capacity next year and continue to help out as much as I can.
OS: Only five vice presidents in the history of the United States have become president by way of election. Does that worry you?
KM: If I feel that I’m the best candidate for the job, that’s what I would do. The statistics don’t worry me because it’s tough to compare a national campaign to a college election. I don’t think that’s going to hinder what I decide to do in the future.
OS: Why did you decide to get involved in UPUA?
KM:I got involved in student government in high school and I continued that when I came to Penn State. I was vice president of the East Halls Residence Association. From there, I became president of the Association of Residence Hall Students. Through those meetings and interactions with different students as well as faculty and administrators, I really had a passion for helping students and giving back to them in any way possible. If they had a concern, I had the means to assist them, which I thought was really cool.
When [UPUA President Courtney Lennartz] came up to me and asked about running for UPUA, I thought that it was a really cool opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. I could really expand my ability to help students both on and off campus. I knew [former UPUA President T.J. Bard]but didn’t know Courtney before we ran together. I knew of Courtney and followed the elections the previous year and was very impressed by how she spoke during the debates and how knowledgeable she was.
OS: Sources, including yourself, have told me that you’re much different outside of the professional UPUA setting. What should we know about the real Katelyn Mullen?
KM: I’m weird. I’m more quirky than people initially think.
OS: Would you consider yourself more of a Dick Cheney or an Al Gore?
KM: I think that what they all have in common is their ability to work behind the scenes and accomplish what they say they are going to accomplish. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never personally worked with any of them. I don’t know. You stumped me.
OS: Have you ever watched the show Veep starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the United States Vice President, and do you think you could star in a show about your term as UPUA vice president?
KM: I haven’t seen the show. I think that I could star in a show but I don’t think that it would be very interesting or entertaining. Student government is one of those things that you either are really interested in or aren’t interested in at all. I think I could create a show but it wouldn’t be very interesting.
OS: What’s one thing that the constituents should know about you?
KM: A lot of people have the common misconception that student government is just a bunch of students that walk around in business casual and are trying to obtain some sort of power and recognition. I don’t really have any interest in the title of vice president. I just like to take advantage of the relationships that I can build with the title and the things that I can accomplish through the title. I think that it’s a really selfless job and I try to do the best that I can and keep everyone’s best interests in mind.
OS: As is Onward State tradition, I have to ask: if you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
KM: Giganotosaurus. It’s bigger than a T-Rex. They look really cool. They stand on two legs. The main reason why I’d be a giganotosaurus is because it’s cool. And because I’m tall. Actually, pterodactyls are pretty cool too. And so are velociraptors. Can I hybrid them? Can I be a giganotosaurus-velociraptor? I like the fact that the giganotosaurus is gigantic, but I like the fact that the velociraptor can fly. No, actually they can’t fly. The pterodactyl can though. Wait, I need to do some quick dinosaur research. I just want to be an informed person before I answer.
[Five minutes of silence]
Oh, wow! Stegosauruses have spikes! I’m going to have to go with the stegosaurus. Actually, no. Wait, yes. According to this website, they can put up a good fight and have leaf-like spikes on them. Off-the-record, it looks badass.