Written by Carson Fort – Program Advisor, Business + Government Relations
Growing up in a rural setting, graduating with 73 people, and never really knowing anything other than corn fields, agriculture is a part of who I am. I knew I wanted to lobby for agrarian interests that had been with me for years but wasn’t sure of how to get there. I went to college and majored in political science with the desire to get more involved with the political process. A classmate had participated in The Fund for American Studies and suggested I do it too. The next summer, TFAS gave me the opportunity to see lobbying in action and what my future might hold.
I interned with a small lobbying firm, Gavel Resources, which was conveniently located just a few blocks from the Hill. I got to sit in on congressional hearings dealing with legislation that impacted the firm’s clients. I saw how the partners in the office navigated the legislative process and pursued the interests of those they represented. I even got to meet with the lobbying team at the American Farm Bureau.
While I learned a lot in the office, I also got the chance to attend many lectures with speakers like Senator Rand Paul and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. The Capitol Hill lectures were an amazing opportunity to listen to individuals passionate about passing their knowledge onto the next generation of policy makers and influencers. One of my favorite guest lectures was by Peter Boettke, an economist from George Mason University. As someone who had begun to develop an interest in economics, this lecture opened my eyes to the impact that economics has on the world.
One of my favorite events was the Scholarship Dinner. It was a night that celebrated our amazing summer and our accomplishments. There were great speakers, alumni, and a chance to celebrate with my friends. I also can’t forget the Fourth of July concert. My friends and I spent countless hours in the sweltering summer heat waiting in line for the concert to begin but it was truly an amazing experience. Spending the evening listening to great performances on the National Mall and celebrating Independence Day was a memory I will not forget.
The people I met and learned from made my summer incredible. From late night runs to Captain Cookie to spirited discussions in the common room, I made lasting friendships. TFAS gave me the chance to experience D.C. but also connected me to the next generation of leaders.