Matthew Feldstein ’21: pursuing a passion for public policy and national security

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Public Policy Students at the Supreme Court

Gettysburg College is a place where many students discover their true passions and how they will leverage their passions to make a difference in the world. For Matthew Feldstein ’21, who is a political science and public policy double major, his experiences at Gettysburg College let him hone his interests in national security and public policy.

During his four years at Gettysburg, he served as a Fielding Fellow at the Eisenhower Institute’s Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study, where he studied presidential decision making and leadership. He was also a founding member of the Public Policy Student Council, co-chair of the Gettysburg College Honor Commission, a peer learning associate in the political science department, and a member of many other organizations on campus.

Headshot of Matthew Feldstein
Matthew Feldstein ’21

However, it was the winter break trip he took during his sophomore year to the Pentagon and the State Department with Public Policy Prof. Anne Douds and other members of the public policy department that was the most transformative moment of his time at Gettysburg.

“Being able to learn about civilian use within the military, rather than just being a member of the military, was really interesting, and we got to learn more by speaking with a number of high-level experts on different geopolitical regions. That was a great experience for me,” Feldstein said.

That experience offered him a window into the innerworkings of the government and further solidified for him the work he knew he wanted to do one day.

In pursuit of this meaningful work, Feldstein recently secured a remote internship with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy laboratory which conducts basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. Under the direction of Regulatory Specialist Marc Fialkoff ’10, who majored in political science and minored in chemistry at Gettysburg, Feldstein will work on nuclear security policy through the Floating Nuclear Power Plants Project.

“The project discusses the physical protection strategies and the implementation of [floating nuclear power plants] domestically, specifically focusing on coastal states,” Feldstein explained. “I am very excited because I will be working in the policy field with a number of other researchers and a team who are going to figure out policies… to benefit the U.S. and the programs they are administering.”

More specifically, Feldstein is going to be researching policies and strategies that help safely implement floating nuclear power plants. With other researchers, he will also develop and coordinate a series of meetings with international collaborators, such as a panel discussion with the International Atomic Energy Association, and more. In addition to the summer internship, Feldstein will be pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the fall.

“The professors here have been really instrumental in helping me through my college life, whether it’s to apply for an internship or give me advice. They helped me focus on my interests and have directed me to graduate school,” Feldstein said. “Gettysburg College really did give me the valuable resources to be successful and helped me figure out what I want to do.”

Learn how the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College prepares undergraduates like Feldstein to assume their responsibility as global citizens in public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

By Sokuntheary Heang ’24
Photos courtesy of Matthew Feldstein ’21
Posted: 05/06/21