American Politics and Policy and the White House Internship Through Patrick Henry College
By Carrie Durning
Unique Government Opportunities at Patrick Henry College
Patrick Henry College has the reputation of being one of the top Christian colleges in the country, located in rural Loudoun County, Virginia, in close proximity to Washington, D.C. As well as the academic rigor and excellence found in every major Patrick Henry College offers, students receive top internships located in and around Washington D.C., allowing them to build a resume and have connections in future careers.
What makes the academic and internship program at Patrick Henry College so unique from any other BA-level program in Government and American Politics and Policies? The answer is simple: the Liberal Arts program at Patrick Henry College is designed to be classical in its approach, American in its performance, and Christian in its worldview. The Internship program offered at Patrick Henry College does not fall short of those standards of excellence.
Excellence in the Government Major
Every academic program at Patrick Henry College is formed with a broad and rich classical core, which emphasizes great texts from Western Civilization, analytical skills, thinking and reasoning abilities, and creating quality connections. Patrick Henry College equips students with excellence for a successful future and career, and the Government Major does not fall short of that.
The Government Major at Patrick Henry College prepares students to be outstanding public servants, whether in a foreign policy, domestic policy, the academic sphere, or the intelligence community. Each Government track at Patrick Henry College equips students with a strong emphasis in classical learning in their core government classes, and hands-on training in their field of interest.
Patrick Henry College students in the government major also develop a Biblical understanding of their field and how to work in it. The Government Major at Patrick Henry College includes five specific tracks to specialize in, with the option to choose not to specialize in a track. Patrick Henry College students not wanting to pursue a specific track are able to take courses from all the five following disciplines: American Politics and Policy, Economics, International Politics and Policy, Political Theory, and Political Philosophy.
Government Tracks: Outstanding Public Servants
The Government Major at Patrick Henry College includes the option to follow five specific tracks of excellence: American Politics and Policy, Strategic Intelligence, International Politics and Policy, Political Theory, and Political Philosophy. Regardless of the track, each student majoring in Government has the opportunity to take 12 credits of primary content courses that provide an overview of the field of Government and introduce the student to key subfields: American Political Institutions, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Science Research Methods.
One specific Government Major track which succeeds in excellence is American Politics and Policy. Patrick Henry College students majoring in Government with the American Politics and Policy track examine the key subfields of American Government, including American institutions and behavior, state and local government, public economics, public policy, and research methods. After completing 12 credits of required government courses, students choose from a variety of domestic policy or politics courses and apprenticeships. One internship received by many Patrick Henry College Students is the White House.
Unique Apprenticeship Experiences at Patrick Henry College
A unique distinctive of Patrick Henry College is the focus on apprenticeship training. Students majoring in Government are required to choose several apprenticeship opportunities comprising of half of their major program (23 credit hours). Apprenticeship opportunities include practicum in American Politics and Policy, practicum in International Politics and Policy, topics in Politics and Policy, moot court, forensics activities, mock trial, Applied Research in Political Theory, Senior Thesis, Independent Readings/Directed Research, and Special Projects in Strategic Intelligence.
Patrick Henry College junior Elle Reynolds is a current Government major with a track focus in American Politics and Policy, and received an internship with the White House in Washington, D.C., shortly after arriving at PHC. “I would never have gone out for the internship if it hadn’t been for the suggestion of Dr. Haynes, and I’m sure the recommendation of PHC contacts at the White House helped flag my application,” said Reynolds. “There were days that I would run into multiple PHC alumni working in the White House in the same day… it seemed like everywhere I went [in the White House] I knew a friend from PHC.”
Elle Reynolds is one of many Patrick Henry College students who receive the opportunity to intern or work in the White House. Dr. Haynes, the Chairman of the Government Department, first suggested she apply, and the rest was history. “I filled out the application online and talked to/emailed everyone I knew with a connection to the White House to ask them to recommend me,” said Reynolds. By March, I was contacted for a phone interview and official heard in April that I had been accepted.”
APP Internship Experience in the White House
“I interned in the White House Office of Political Affairs… specifically helping with policy research,” said Reynolds. “I would go through media coverage for the day and write up a daily news brief providing summaries of policy news.” Reynolds’ other responsibilities at the White House as an intern included researching policy topics such as healthcare, economic opportunity zones, the Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking, childcare for working mothers, etc.
“I would compile research into briefs that were anywhere from one page to ten, for use by the office when meeting with everyone from local county delegations to cabinet secretaries,” said Reynolds. One of the most influential things Reynolds learned while interning at the White House was to be faithful in the small things. “Sometimes an assignment I would get seemed tedious or unimportant, but I never knew when one of my bosses would come back to the office and tell me that he’d referenced my work in a meeting with the President,” said Reynolds.
“You never know where your work will go, and something that seems like an everyday task may be the work product representing you to higher-ups. So the internship definitely taught me to do every assignment to the best of my ability and to do so with a joyful attitude because it really is an exciting time and place to be in,” said Reynolds.