What can I do to have a meaningful and successful career?
As I was searching for a career with purpose, I asked myself that question many times when I was in my 20s. Then in 1999, long before becoming the executive director of the Institute for Humane Studies, I came across a seminar that helped to answer that question.
Liberty, Art, and Culture
I was about to enter graduate school and begin work on an MBA. To help fill my summer before heading off to Cornell, I enrolled in a seminar entitled: Liberty, Art, and Culture at Bryn Mawr College. At the time I understood the essentials of classical liberalism—and aligned with them—but I wanted to learn more.
This seminar filled a personal void; it was a deeply intellectual, immersive week, and served to redirect my life’s path.
Right away at the seminar, I felt a strong sense of community. Brilliant people, both professors and students, freely diving into discussions in the classrooms, over meals, and everywhere in between. We explored topics on what a good society was and could be. This seminar filled a personal void; it was a deeply intellectual, immersive week, and served to redirect my life’s path. Instead of trekking to Ithaca, New York, I decided to stay in the D.C. area and attend Georgetown University, with the goal of furthering the classical liberal ideas I had become more familiar with during the seminar.
While earning my master’s at Georgetown, I ran a campaign called the Coalition for Jubilee Clemency while working at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. On December 23, 2000, my decision to stay in D.C. to further embrace classical liberal ideas was validated. That day, President Bill Clinton signed an order of clemency for first-time drug offender Dorothy Gaines, who had served as the poster person for the clemency campaign. Attending an Institute for Humane Studies Summer Seminar had influenced my decision to pursue a more idealistic career, and that decision was starting to pay off.
Liberty and Current Issues
My passion to effect world-changing policy through culture and emerging technology continued to thrive, as did my desire to seek a greater understanding of classical liberal ideas. In 2001, IHS Summer Seminars came to Georgetown University, and I enrolled in Liberty and Current Issues. The speaker insights, the intelligence and intellectual diversity of my peers, and the relationships I formed broadened my approach to social change, helping me to conceptualize how classical liberal ideas could influence the issues I cared about.
IHS Summer Seminars gave me lifelong friends and colleagues. It helped establish and guide my life’s journey, resulting in my commitment to support the next generation of classical liberal scholars. Beyond my experience, there are more than 1,000 IHS Summer Seminar alumni who have become highly regarded academics who are furthering a better understanding of the principles and practice of freedom. My roommate from Liberty, Art, and Culture is one of them. While there are many career choices before you, IHS seminars offer something unique: a chance to openly, and without inhibition, discuss the meaning of liberty and what makes for a peaceful and prosperous society.
If you are interested in engaging conversations about ideas that shape society, and doing so in an open and engaging community, I strongly encourage you to apply to attend an IHS Summer Seminar.
Apply to IHS Summer Seminars today!