An Internship at the “University Without Students”

reece-brownThe weather isn’t the only thing keeping D.C. hot this season. A historic presidential race has D.C.’s political climate boiling—and Reece Brown ’17 is living and working in the thick of it.

As an intern at The Heritage Foundation, Reece is supporting this conservative think tank’s commitment to promoting the values of Conservatism, which, according to their website, include “free enterprise, limited government, individual liberty, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

Known as a “university without students,” the Foundation’s staff are perpetual learners—researching, writing and presenting findings on key policy issues to Congress and other political influencers. An economics major at Gordon, Reece is one of those “non-students” at The Heritage Foundation.

Being in D.C. during a historic election year, Reece says: “I have never felt more immersed in current events. And it’s not just a talking point in conversation—it’s the start, middle and end of conversations.”

But, he says, the current political climate in D.C. doesn’t bleed too far into The Heritage Foundation’s work; the organization chooses not to endorse any candidates and keeps a laser focus on policy. “If I’ve learned anything at this job,” Reece says, “it has been that politics and policy tend to be worlds apart.”

Without the distraction of political hubbub, the Foundation’s economics department, where Reece works, “focuses on the data and quantitative analysis of what is going on underneath the status quo.”

Immersed in a city where the biggest names of politics work and live, Reece was able to meet former presidential candidates Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. He’s also rubbed shoulders with retired General Michael Flynn, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and former Republican Senator Rick Santorum. Reece says that one of his most memorable meetings was with journalist Nolan Peterson, a retired special forces veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan currently working as a foreign correspondent in Ukraine.

“I consider this internship to be a milestone for my professional career as I hope to pursue law. By the end of the summer, I hope to have a good understanding of how D.C. operates internally,” he says. “I’m not a huge fan of cities but if I can learn to understand D.C., I’ll be able to learn how to pursue my career outside of it.”

Reece also notes that his internship is propelling him toward achieving his academic and career goals, and is helping him develop clear vision for the next steps of life after Gordon.

By Alex Rivera ’16, English language and literature