Katherine Fenton of Floral Park said she "felt incredibly lucky" to have the opportunity to ask a question at the presidential debate at Hofstra University.
But the 24-year-old pre-K teacher said Wednesday she didn't think either candidate answered her inquiry about pay inequality for women.
She said she was "slightly disappointed" that the two men focused on their record rather than their plans for the next four years.
"My question was, 'What do you intend to do about the issue?' " she said. "They talked about what they have done, but that wasn't my question."
Fenton said she "was grateful to hear that they have done good things to help qualified women in the workforce, but I wanted to know their future plans."
In his answer at Tuesday night's debate, President Barack Obama mentioned the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill he signed into law in 2009, which expands workers' right to sue based on discriminatory compensation decisions. Challenger Mitt Romney talked about how he met with women's groups when he became governor to seek qualified workers to serve in his administration.
Fenton's questions sparked one of the most memorable phrases of the debate. When explaining how he made an effort to hire women to work in his cabinet, Romney said he had put together "whole binders full of women."
Fenton said "his choice of words were not ideal" even though she understood what he said. She also said she was "fascinated" at how much attention the media has given the phrase.
"A lot of people are using it as a joke," she said. "But I hope it made some people actually think about the election."
Fenton said neither candidate won the debate, but she said Obama performed "slightly" better.
"The debate was very close. It was not a blowout for any of them by any means," Fenton said. Obama seemed more relaxed and more comfortable, she said. "Romney seemed prepared but a little more rattled."
Fenton said the experience made her more engaged in the election process.
"It was an extraordinary experience at every moment. I felt incredibly lucky to be one of the chosen and to actually get to ask a question live," she said. "Up until this point, I felt disconnected to politics. For the first time ever, I felt like I was actually connected to the political process."