As a senior at the College, I’m faced with a lot of upcoming life decisions. I know that I want to continue my education and also find a job. But should I go to grad school right away? Do I instead apply for jobs? How will I fit in more schooling with a job schedule? It’s stressful! And it took until an interview for me to realize what exactly the best path for me could be.
An interviewer asked me if I would like to attend law school eventually as I was applying for a legally based position. I do, so she told me all about the flexible opportunities this employer had for their staff to attend part time law school while also working at the same time. At this moment, I understood that what they offered was essentially a larger Academic Internship Program (AIP), and I recognized the extremely high value of this type of experience.
During my junior year, I took an AIP course (Women and the Law) while interning with an immigration law firm. I had heard all about how learning is enhanced by real world experience, and I felt that in my learning. What this interview helped me realize was that Holy Cross provides an opportunity to trial how part time school and working at the same time could go. It will be less of an adjustment taking on a job and school when it comes time to begin another round of higher education.
AIP at Holy Cross not only elevates our academic experience, but it mirrors what employers may see as desirable learning conditions, at least in the case of law school. Being able to connect how you can become a better asset through a growing understanding of the subject matter is a desirable point to articulate when asked about your future plans if you intend to stick with a job for a while but also want to continue schooling. Further, being able to speak on the real world experience that you gained while also participating in a full class load remains to be impressive to the job market because you’ve demonstrated time management skills and professionalism.
AIP is a truly valuable program and a strong point of a Holy Cross education. It is one that employers recognize as an advantage to your potential as a part of their team, and it can really be a factor in how you choose to determine your future. If doing classes and interning was difficult to manage or you didn’t like it, then maybe part time school while working isn’t for you. And that’s ok! But, if you did find it achievable, the experience certainly builds confidence towards an uncertain future.
The Academic Internship Program that’s supported by the J.D. Power Center consistently offers enriching opportunities to synthesize both academics and real world experiences through its seminars that are exceedingly interesting and relevant to world affairs. One of these seminars, Policy and Politics in America, taught by former congressman Tim Bishop ‘72 and longtime political consultant Peter Flaherty ‘87, is an impressive academic course centered on student engagement with the real world of politics. The winter 2019 issue of the Holy Cross Magazine reported that through the mission of fostering opportunities for experiential learning in mind, the J.D. Power Center supported the creation of this course to cover experiences in and around politics. Two educators were then selected so that the course did not have a partisan bias. This course intends to provide students with comprehensive understandings of important House and Senate races in midterm elections, particularly the 2022 midterm elections, in tandem with the following result’s consequences on policy debates. One of the goals that this seminar has is to transcend partisanship and engage in more productive political conversations. Guided by well qualified instructors and frequent guest speakers, students participate in high level discussions and develop deeper comprehension of the political system in the United States and of the various career opportunities that grow alongside government ones such as grassroots organizing, voter outreach, and campaigning.
The co-teachers, Mr. Bishop and Mr. Flaherty, both also exemplify how purple runs deep, and that the Holy Cross community is full of support networks and exciting connections. Bishop graduated from Holy Cross in 1972, followed by his brother Chris ‘74, and he has remained in contact with a fair number of his classmates, including Fr. Hayes of the Chaplains’ Office. Flaherty graduated from Holy Cross in 1987. His brother, Chip, graduated in 1986, his son, Peter Flaherty III graduated in 2021, and two nieces are alumnae and one is a current student. Even though 15 years and differing political orientations may seem to separate these two alumni, they really do practice what they preach. Coming from different backgrounds has not been a barrier between a joyful friendship built on mutual admiration. Teaching a seminar, engaging students, and inspiring up and coming political leaders, has further forged their bond, and this is reflected in the strength of their course.
Bishop’s favorite part of teaching the seminar is interacting throughout the years with “uniformly impressive” students. He says that they are consistently, “bright, engaged, committed, interested in playing their part to make the world a better place, and also committed to the central ethos of HC-education for others.” Flaherty echoes this sentiment as he says, “The prism through which the Holy Cross students see the political landscape is rooted in an admirable and refreshing selflessness with an eye toward contributing to solutions, rather than focusing on divisive rhetoric.” This praise of students is hopeful for the future of our country considering both he and Peter Flaherty have supported a fair amount of students in getting jobs in politics, government, political consulting, and more. Notably, with Flaherty’s help, a class of 2019 graduate, Carter Mitchell, obtained a position with a political consulting firm. Mitchell will also be a guest lecturer for the class on October 26. Students who have taken this course also have held a various array of internships that adds interactions with colleagues and coworkers to the academic experience. Some of the internships that students in the course hold this semester are with the Federalist Society, Worcester Court Service Center, Framingham Centre Common Cultural District, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Worcester District Attorney’s Office, Gray Panthers NYC Network, City of Worcester Elections Committee, Coresight Research. There are often students in gubernatorial and congressional internships and respective campaigns as well.
To expand upon to the course’s relevancy to current political conversations, the co-teachers consistently bring in highly qualified guest speakers. Some of the names on the expansive list include:
Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Governor Walz of Minnesota, Governor Inslee of Washington, Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Representative Linda Sanchez of California and Representative Adam Schiff of California, former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, Former White House Chief of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and former Governor of New Hampshire John Sununu, Former U.S. Senator and U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown, Former Whitehouse Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Barack Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe, President Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Jamie Harrison, Pollster for President Trump James McLaughlin, and pollster for Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg Jef Pollock, one of President Trump’s lead attorneys Jay Sekulow, political consultant John Lapp, Dana Bash, John Berman, Chris Cuomo and Kasie Hunt of CNN, Phil Rucker and Ashley Parker of the Washington Post, and more.
Students in Policy and Politics in America have the priceless opportunity to hear from high powered figures with diverse voices and opinions. The guest speakers hail from almost every aspect of politics, from elected officials, big names in media news, and everything in between. Every speaker brings important insight to the class that helps further mutual understandings of politics and the reality of the political sphere. Bishop says that, “listening to both Jim Clyburn and Jamie Harrison speak about growing up Black in rural South Carolina and then rising to the heights they have achieved was both powerful and inspiring, and hearing a no nonsense guy like Governor Sununu talk about his focus on results as opposed to politics was a real lesson in what is missing in our current political discourse.”
The mission of this course was reiterated by October 19th’s guest speaker, Congressman Andy Kim of New Jersey, who said that there’s a current desire from the nation for more humble and grounded politics. That’s exactly what Bishop and Flaherty aim to teach and instill in Policy and Politics in America, and they are having excellent success with it.