Mentoring program gives students behind-the-scenes view of Washington, D.C.

Sixteen Gettysburg College students took part in Inside Politics, a semester-long mentoring and research experience on campus and in Washington, D.C.

This fall's Inside Politics expert-in-residence was journalist, speechwriter, and presidential historian Kasey S. Pipes. Each semester, Gettysburg College's Eisenhower Institute brings a different expert to campus to work with students selected from a wide range of academic majors.

Inside Politics offered "phenomenal" opportunities like meeting with U.S. Sen. Bob Dole and former White House Counsel Fred Fielding (Gettysburg College, Class of 1961), said political science major Daniel Dodge, Class of 2012. "By walking through the halls of Congress and meeting with people who have devoted their lives to politics, we have been able to truly go inside politics and see how it functions in real life," Dodge said.

"Having an insider like Kasey S. Pipes helped the students in the program to think outside what the news media present," said English major Giovanni Gutierrez, Class of 2010. "The program examined the impact of the media on the public, in terms of shaping opinions, as well as focusing attention on particular issues."

Inside Politics students on Library of Congress steps"I am interested in running for public office in a few years and Inside Politics gave me an inside look into what actually goes on behind closed doors in Washington," said political science and history double-major Alex Ferraro, Class of 2012. Photo: Inside Politics students at the Library of Congress.

Student research included management and political science double-major Marisa Tokarsky's examination of why women make up only 17 percent of Congress. Tokarsky, Class of 2010, interviewed Congresswomen Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) about barriers women face in seeking office, how gender stereotypes impact the legislative environment, and whether women legislators have a responsibility to push female-friendly policies.

Underscoring Inside Politics' value to students from many majors, German and political science double-major Calynn Dowler, Class of 2010, joined Spanish and political science double-major Meredith Risati, Class of 2011, in interviewing U.S. and international students to probe differences in understanding of global affairs.

Another student's research focused on the practicalities of winning elections. "I am currently designing a campaign for the Republican Party to use in a suburban area," said history and independent studies double-major Beth Leamy, Class of 2010. "Through my own experience on a successful Pennsylvania state representative campaign in 2008 and my research on what the Republican National Committee needs to do to win elections following the losses in 2006 and 2008, I have designed a calendar of what the candidate should be doing during the election year."

This past semester's events included working lunches with Pipes; a public symposium with Matthew Dowd a veteran campaigner and chief strategist for President George W. Bush in 2004; and a presentation by students about their experiences.

In addition to Inside Politics and other programs, the Eisenhower Institute each year names undergraduate fellows who develop leadership skills and increased understanding of public policy by serving on the Eisenhower Institute's College Advisory Council and participating in events in Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. Some of the fellows reside in the home where Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower lived in 1918, which also houses the EI's Gettysburg offices.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College furthers civic discourse on domestic and international public policy. In 1918, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower came to Gettysburg, where he commanded America's first tank training camp. The Eisenhowers bought a farm near the battlefield, which he used as a retreat during his presidency and where he recovered from a heart attack. He became a trustee of Gettysburg College and wrote his memoirs in what is now the college's admissions office, known as the Eisenhower House.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences. With some 2,500 students, it is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Jim Hale, online content editor

Posted Dec. 10, 2009

Posted: Thu, 10 Dec 2009

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