Meet Our Alumni

Meet Our Alumni

Learn more about our accomplished alumni. Our alumni excel in a wide array of studies and careers, including government, business, academia, law, journalism, and the military.

We invite you to explore the background of some representative alumni in greater depth below.

Political Studies Program

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Amanda Wynter

Current Position: Business Development Associate, FiscalNote
Past: National Journal, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
Education: Georgetown University

Amanda Wynter has written for The Atlantic, and worked as an Atlantic Media Research Fellow at National Journal. She came to Political Studies from Georgetown University, where she majored in Government, with a minor in Political Philosophy.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
A friend of mine at Georgetown from political theory circles was an alum of Political Studies, and he suggested that the Program was something I would really benefit from and enjoy. At the time, I had recently transferred schools within Georgetown from security studies to political philosophy, and Hertog looked like a chance to delve deeper into the examination of big political ideas. That aspect of the Program was definitely attractive to me, and it proved to be really valuable.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH.
Eventually I want to go to graduate school, and ultimately I see myself teaching at the university level. Political Studies was my first glimpse of what a life in academia would look like. Spending time around graduate students and other university students interested in entering the academy was certainly informative and influential.

Right now, I’m working for a research team that looks at government affairs from a business perspective. Since I was a government major in school, working in government affairs now lines up well. But it was my time at Hertog that really put me on the first path towards looking at politics writ large.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH POLITICAL STUDIES?
During Political Studies, I spent one of the weeks in the bioethics course. I found that really wrestling with questions of ethics and morality and the way that plays into policy was extremely valuable. I had never been exposed to such drastically different perspectives.

We had people there with views across the entire political spectrum, which I think is one of Hertog’s biggest accomplishments. Getting people who think completely different things into the same room and opening a dialogue is hard, but it was a hallmark of Political Studies. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people with whom to flesh out those ideas.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF POLITICAL STUDIES?
First and foremost, Hertog gives people the opportunity to think about politics for an extended period of time with other people who are also interested in doing the same thing. Though you have a similar experience in universities, the mindset Hertog puts you in is specifically defined by developing a reverence for old texts while also looking at contemporary issues.

The juxtaposition of those two activities is critical, and I don’t think students can get that in everyday college classes where you’re either focused on reading Plato in Ancient Greek or reading The Washington Post. Being able to do both at the same time, and furthermore, being expected to do both at the same time, is very important.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN JOURNALISM?
Hertog is great for people interested in journalism. The crux of journalism is writing about ideas, and Hertog gets you thinking about big ideas. Political Studies also gives you exposure to important organizations and the different parts of DC, which is definitely beneficial.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
Hopefully by that time I’ll have finished a Ph.D. and won’t be struggling through lonely nights with Rousseau and ramen. The actual teaching part I would be willing to wait for—first, I want to either travel and explore cultures and political issues through different lenses, or work in a specific sector like education or technology.

Hands-on experience will give me better sense of how to look at certain topics, and thus enable me to teach others how to look at them. Whatever happens, I want to be reading good things, and talking to good people about them.

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Andrew Evans

Current Position: Freelance Writer
Past: The Washington Free Beacon, National Affairs
Education: Davidson College

Andrew Evans started his journalism career with an internship at The Weekly Standard following his time with the Political Studies Program. He then went on to work as an Assistant Editor of National Affairs before volunteering for a year in Kigali, Rwanda. Andrew is now freelance writing around the world, with a base in the United Kingdom. Andrew also participated in Hertog’s programs for young professionals.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION?
My political science professor at Davidson College, Peter Ahrensdorf, encouraged me to apply. The Program looked like a fantastic opportunity to study both the ideas animating politics and the way politics actually work. I find that it’s really easy to get lost in the ideas, so studying the practical unfolding of politics was a good balance to the theoretical. The Program looked like a great opportunity to see political theory and practice meet and inform one another in a really fruitful way.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT IN TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
I studied political philosophy at Davidson, and I wanted to come to DC to really understand the practice of politics. The Advanced Institute [“Transformation of the American Government” with Christopher DeMuth] certainly helped me see some of that. At that time I was a reporter at the Washington Free Beacon, covering government oversight, bureaucracy, and the institutions of government. Getting to study those things with him was immeasurably useful.

For example, he helped me understand what leveraging means for banks. Leveraging is a central concept of finance, and he spent awhile helping us figure out exactly what the ramifications of leveraging are. That knowledge was crucial to my understanding of the 2008 financial crisis and the consequent legislation that we’ve had.

Political Studies helped me get a foundation in DC and meet people like Bill Kristol. The Hertog Foundation got me grounded in the practicality of politics while at the same time keeping me in touch with the animating fundamental ideas of our traditions. I’m interested in contributing to the health and function of our society in a way that goes beyond just reporting ideas—National Affairs does much more than just report ideas, and Hertog has provided me with the tools be able to excel at doing more.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
I was really impressed with the quality of my peers. The rigor and sophistication with which they were able to approach texts, and the lenses through which they viewed current events were challenging and extremely valuable to my own intellectual growth. In terms of instructors, getting to read Machiavelli’s The Prince in conjunction with his Discourses on Livy with Professor Nathan Tarcov was eye-opening. He fleshed out the argument for republicanism in Machiavelli, which I hadn’t seen when reading The Prince previously. Approaching Machiavelli using that lens was illuminating.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
What I’ve most observed is that Hertog Programs are a rigorous study of the ideas that bring life to politics. They’re not technocratic, but they’re not too abstract either. That’s the essence of political philosophy. Hertog classes are an attempt to draw out the wisdom from great texts and not necessarily force them to directly apply to any one modern issue, but instead let them shape a broad picture of how society and politics should function. That’s the real advantage of Hertog programs.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN JOURNALISM?
Specifically, the Advanced Institutes are focused in such a way that they can provide very useful background and contextual information for contemporary issues. In a broader sense, the Programs provide a much larger framework for understanding the limits and constraints of politics as well as the ideas underpinning modern government. Journalism at its best is able to reflect on the traditions and ideas that have brought us to where we are today, and then place the current issues in that context.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I would like to stay involved in politics in some capacity. I don’t know if it’ll be here in DC or in journalism necessarily, but politics is immensely important. I think I’m well prepared to do a number of things; Hertog has certainly contributed to that.

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Julia Gorman

Current Position: Associate, Antitrust & Competition Economics Practice, Charles River Associates
Past: Morgan Stanley, Media Trackers Colorado
Education: Boston College

Julia Gorman is currently pursuing a career in economic consulting in Boston. As a recent college graduate, she participated in the 2015 Political Studies Program, and later returned to Hertog as a young professional for the “Great Figures of the 20th Century” Weekend Seminars.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
I heard about the Political Studies Program through professors in Boston College’s Political Science Department. It struck me that that despite varying political beliefs and principles, each spoke highly of the Program. One professor said that the students in seminars at Hertog are “among the best of the best.” Such high praise paired with the possibility of an intensive study of politics and political theory motivated me to apply.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
I was impressed by the mixture of ideas and activities at the Political Studies Program. We studied materials ranging from the Students for a Democratic Society’s Port Huron Statement to Augustine’s City of God with outstanding professors and visiting lecturers. Justice Scalia taught us about philosophy applied to law, and Marine Corps General James Mattis explained that duty often supersedes politics. We visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Gallery, we participated in a staff ride at Gettysburg, and we got to know one another and our nation’s capital while wandering the monuments. The Political Studies Program provided a wide-ranging education, much of which took place outside of the classroom.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC POLICY OR CONSULTING?
Yes. Aside from the network that Hertog offers, the Program provides a schooling in political philosophy and political history. Both are essential to public policy, since it orders human affairs. One cannot hope to craft good policy without asking big questions, understanding what government and politics are capable of, and more importantly, what they’re not capable of.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
They’re top-notch. Part of the reason they’re so good is that the Hertog Foundation’s educational mission is simply to form more thoughtful citizens. As a result, Hertog selects students who are bright, driven, and intellectually curious, but who possess a range of beliefs and pursuits. I have no doubt that some of the people I’ve studied with at Hertog will influence the civic, intellectual, and political life of the United States for the better.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT? 
I hope I’ll end up at the intersection of economics and political theory. Each subject is interesting in its own right, but I think it’s important to blend the disciplines because economics provides a sanity check on policy-making, and political theory provides the tools with which to examine the normative assumptions of economics.

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Kate Havard

Current Position: Research Analyst, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Past: Researcher to Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Tikvah Fellow
Education: St. John’s College Annapolis

Journalist-turned-foreign policy analyst Kate Havard has had bylines in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard. A graduate of St. John’s College, Annapolis, Kate was part of the inaugural 2010 class of Hertog Political Studies, which she credits for helping her get her start in Washington, DC. In this spotlight, Kate talks about her summer with Hertog, as well her future career plans. She now researches economic warfare at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT POLITICAL STUDIES?
I was a sophomore at St. John’s College when I first heard about Hertog. My freshman Greek professor, Adam Schulman, nominated me for the Hertog Political Studies Program. I went into it being interested in the classics; I didn’t have any political background before that.

What drew me to the Program was the Machiavelli, the Aristotle, and the Great Books angle. That’s what I had already been studying at St. John’s and what I was most attracted to. And, of course, the chance to study with [Professors Amy and Leon] Kass was really exciting for me. So that was my pull, and all the political stuff was new to me.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATION EXPERIENCE WITH POLITICAL STUDIES?
Something I will never forget from Political Studies is the week we were reading Machiavelli. Henry Kissinger was coming to lecture, and I got to give an introduction about Machiavelli and Henry Kissinger in front of Henry Kissinger. That was amazing to me, and is something I will never forget. That class was one of my favorites I’ve ever been in.

At Hertog, the intellectual experience with your peers is also impressive. I met my best friend at Hertog; she was one of my roommates at Political Studies. I’m also close with a good number of other alumni from the 2010 class. We have a Xenophon study group that meets weekly in DC that is partly made up of Hertog alumni.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH.
My time at The Weekly Standard was rooted in Hertog. I met the editor, Bill Kristol, at a Political Studies lecture on Tocqueville that he gave. The Political Studies scholars were given copies of The Weekly Standard, and that was my first time seeing it.

After reading The Weekly Standard, I knew that I wanted to work there. Meeting him through Hertog gave me the opportunity to ask for an internship. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do that without Hertog. This was my first exposure to that world, and I kind of ended up in journalism as an accident after the fact of wanting to work for Bill Kristol.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF POLITICAL STUDIES?
Hertog gave me a lot of great connections that I’m so glad to have had, especially in terms of friends, teachers, and mentors. After The Weekly Standard, I got a fellowship with the Tikvah Fund. That fellowship put me at The Wall Street Journal working for Bret Stephens, which was a wonderful experience. I helped work on a book he was writing that’s just about to come out.

Actually, Bret Stephens was the one who told me about Foundation for Defense of Democracies. So in a sort of a roundabout way, my current position is like two degrees of separation from Hertog.

DO YOU THINK POLITICAL STUDIES IS BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC POLICY?
I think because you have direct engagement with this high caliber of teachers, and just by virtue of being immersed in the DC world from the very beginning, Hertog is a great place to go if you’re interested in public policy.

Especially if you’re politically interested, but you’re not exactly sure what aspect of politics you want to get into. Whether it’s political journalism, think tanks, Hill work, or diplomacy, at Hertog you get a chance to preview all the different political lives at once. That’s something you really can’t beat, particularly if you go in like I did with a purely academic background.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I’d still like to be involved in politics and still writing in whatever capacity I can make a living at. As long as the Xenophon study group is still going, I’ll be happy.

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Meredith Potter

Current Position: Primary Researcher and Notetaker to Dr. Henry Kissinger
Past: Presidential Management Fellow at U.S. Department of State
Education: Yale University

Meredith Potter participated in the Hertog Political Studies Program the same year she graduated from Yale University. After the Political Studies Program, she began a career as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) at the U.S. Department of State, where she handled issues of international security, including postings abroad and at the United Nations. She is now a Research Assistant for Dr. Henry Kissinger, working with him on issues of national security and diplomacy.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT POLITICAL STUDIES? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
From one of my professors, John Gaddis, who teaches courses on Cold War history and Grand Strategy. He nominated me for the program. I think he was impressed by the extent to which the Political Studies syllabus mirrored our Grand Strategy one—both seek to connect seminal texts to modern strategy-making.

WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF THE POLITICAL STUDIES CURRICULUM AND ITS COMBINATION OF HISTORICAL TEXTS AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES?
I’ve always believed history explains much of the modern political landscape. I knew studying Aristotle, Machiavelli, and, in particular, the American Founders, could impart important lessons about the timeless characteristics of politics. Plus, Hertog helps connect the dots, with the last few weeks of Political Studies focusing on modernity. Taking the course on Iranian nuclear proliferation [taught by Hudson Institute expert Michael Doran] was immediately relevant. That Hertog allows you grapple with both of those concepts—Aristotelian thought and Iran—is both interesting and useful.

OVERALL, WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION OF POLITICAL STUDIES?
On one hand, Political Studies is very much like college—sometimes you learn the most in late-night conversations with your peers. The collective social experience of getting to know 35 other people who want to talk about political philosophy—even at 2 in the morning—was fun.

On the other hand, Hertog brings together people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. The folks who challenged my assumptions aided my own intellectual development. And as someone who stayed in DC for a while—where so many Political Studies alumni end up—I’m thankful for my Hertog friends.

DO YOU THINK POLITICAL STUDIES IS BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE?
Yes. The people I’ve worked with have also studied the classics. The books encourage 30,000-foot strategic thinking about the big picture. What’s the root cause? What’s the end goal?

That’s a powerful framework for a modern bureaucrat. It’s easy to focus on responding to crises. It’s harder to think from 30,000 feet but it’s critical.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
I think I’ll likely work for the government again. Beyond that, I don’t know. Some of the best public servants this country’s ever had were flexible. They seized opportunities as they arose. I can’t say exactly what job I’ll have, but I do hope it’s in public service.

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Stefan Johnson

Current Position: MPP Candidate, University of Oxford
Internships: The White House, Office of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, 2013 Truman Scholar
Education: Villanova University

Stefan Johnson, an alum of the 2014 Hertog Political Studies Program, is a Truman Scholar. He has worked in the White House, mentored DC high school students, and been a community leader in his hometown of Philadelphia. Stefan is currently working towards a Master of Public Policy at the University of Oxford.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE POLITICAL STUDIES PROGRAM? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
I heard about the Hertog Foundation through Dr. Daniel Mark, one of my professors of Political Science at Villanova University. I applied because I thought Hertog would help me understand how theory and practice complement one another. I have had many political experiences, which might be called ‘practical,’ but previously did not have a solid foundation in the history of Western political thought. The opportunity to read canonical texts in the context of contemporary political discourse is what attracted me.

The Political Studies Program provided me with grounding in not only the theoretical aspects of how our institutions came to be, but also in the practical aspects of how they currently function. I read important thinkers such as Aristotle, Machiavelli, and de Tocqueville, while also placing these readings within the context of contemporary public policy, such as American foreign and domestic policy. On top of our seminar classes, we enjoyed weekly lectures and events with accomplished scholars, like Harvey Mansfield, and practitioners, like Congressman (now Senator) Tom Cotton.

I had many of the most intellectually stimulating conversations in my life with my peers at Hertog—both regarding the texts we read in class and about the issues of the day.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH POLITICAL STUDIES?
The Political Studies Program offers something that is overlooked in academia today: intellectual diversity. The Program truly attracts students from across the political spectrum, and that is something incredibly unique to Hertog.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF POLITICAL STUDIES?
The study of politics is critical for all people, regardless of someone’s interests or vocation. One of my friends from the program is a Physics major at Princeton, and we both agreed that the knowledge of political institutions is essential to human flourishing. Political ideas propel our republic forward.

DO YOU THINK POLITICAL STUDIES IS BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE?
I would recommend Hertog to anyone, especially folks who are interested in public service. During my junior year of college I had the opportunity to win the Truman Scholarship, which is awarded to students who have demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to public service. After doing Political Studies I went back to the Truman people and said, “We’ve got to get more of our Scholars over to the Hertog Political Studies Program. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn about civic life, how to give back to one’s community and ultimately how to be a more well-rounded person.”

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
Life is very interesting; you never know where you’re going to end up. I helped organize the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, an event which worked to highlight the important role of the family on a global scale. I never thought I’d help prepare for a papal visit to my hometown—it’s so hard to know what life with throw at you. But in 10 years, I hope to be in a position where I can give back to my community, especially on a local level.

War Studies Program

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1LT Chris Barefoot

Current Position: Infantry Company Executive Officer, 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army
Past: Platoon Leader, 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army
Education: Virginia Military Institute

Chris Barefoot, a First Lieutenant and Infantry Company Executive Officer in the United States Army, participated in the inaugural class of the War Studies Program. After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 2014, he commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the Army and soon went on to lead an Infantry Platoon in the 82nd Airborne division.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
My academic advisor and mentor, Brigadier General (retired) Charles F. Brower IV heard about ISW’s first ever Hertog War Studies Program through Dr. Kim Kagan, and strongly encouraged me to apply. His recommendation would have been reason enough, but after I read over the program’s curriculum, I recognized immediately that it had the potential to be a key educational opportunity in my career.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT INTO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
I commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the Army in the spring of 2014, and shortly thereafter moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina where I lead an Infantry Platoon in the 82nd Airborne division. I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of new places across the country and around the world by jumping out of a C-17 with some of our nation’s best.

The Hertog War Studies Program allowed me to access some of the greatest military leadership of our generation in a small-group setting prior to my commissioning. The curriculum delved deeply into a subject matter usually taught only to officers far beyond my current grade and experience level. I would say it placed me far beyond my peers in terms of knowledge of the nature of warfare, civil-military relations, and technology’s role in shaping conflict, just to name a few. It was a game-changer.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
It was without a doubt the most influential and beneficial learning experience I’ve had thus far, despite the fact that it was only two weeks long. It continues to shape the way I view warfare and combat leadership in general; I still have my workbook and look over my notes frequently.  It absolutely set the standard for me in terms of what it means to understand and appreciate a subject in depth. The other participants were brilliant, and the level of instruction was exemplary. My only regret is that I’ve not been able to experience anything like it since.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN MILITARY SERVICE?
I consider it to have been central to my personal and professional development. As an aspiring member of the Armed Services, there simply is no better way to spend two weeks. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT? 
For the time being, I plan to stay in the Army for as long as I have the privilege of doing so. In any event, I will stay as active in the Hertog community as possible.

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Alexandra Gutowski

Current Position: Counterterrorism Analyst | Evans Hanson Fellow at Institute for the Study of War
Internships: Brookings Institution, Obama for America, Fulbright Grantee, University of Durham (UK)
Education: Pomona College

Alexandra (“Zan”) Gutowski has traveled throughout the Middle East, honing her Arabic language skills, by way of scholarships from the Fulbright Program and the Department of Defense. An alumna of the Hertog War Studies Program and Advanced Institutes, Zan is now a Counterterrorism Analyst and Evans Hanson Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT WAR STUDIES?
One of my professors at Pomona, former Ambassador Cameron Munter, was teaching a course on international crises. He recommended that I apply to the War Studies Program. Following up on my experience at War Studies with “Lessons of the Iraq War” was simply phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a course where I learned so much so quickly or been with such committed peers.

What keeps bringing me back to Hertog Programs is the remarkable learning environment. Since the nature of the Programs is so intense, you really get to know people quickly. Everyone is willing to get into difficult discussions about challenging issues because there is already a base of respect among the participants. I don’t know of another program where I could get such a high caliber of instruction on such complex issues.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH.
I studied international relations and Arabic as an undergrad, and went abroad to Oman and Jordan on government scholarships. Directly after doing War Studies, I went to Doha through the Georgetown Qatar Scholarship Program. Right now, I’m in an interdisciplinary Master’s program in defense, development, and diplomacy through a Fulbright Scholarship in the UK.

I do not think I would’ve gotten into my Master’s program, nor would I be doing as well as I am, without the War Studies Program. Before War Studies, I had a bit of a sense of the diplomacy and development side of U.S. foreign policy, but I didn’t even have the vocabulary or any knowledge of the major texts and discussions in the defense realm. My first experience with the Hertog Foundation, and every follow-up course, has given me the vocabulary, background, theoretical knowledge, and confidence to engage these subjects.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATION EXPERIENCE WITH WAR STUDIES?
There were definitely moments when developing my knowledge of defense sort of felt like learning a foreign language. During War Studies, we visited JCS Chairman General Dempsey, and Generals McChrystal and Petraeus came in to speak with us. We all had these incredibly interesting conversations about where warfare is going, and it dawned on me that even a week prior I wouldn’t have been able to participate in discussions like that because I lacked any background in the subject. To so quickly see the return on investment in starting to develop a language for discussing war was astonishing.

There is a larger flaw in the American education system at the moment, where post-Vietnam, we’re very quick to just say, “War: What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” But the bottom line is that our country still goes to war. So let’s go to war smarter, only in the cases where we have to. Let’s have a public discussion that goes beyond the dichotomy of war: good or bad. The Hertog Foundation does a great job of filling in those gaps and moving us towards a better way of approaching these issues as a nation.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
I think Hertog Programs are very empowering. One of my hesitations going in was that because the Hertog instructors are so involved in policy and have very strong political opinions, they would be pushing a certain viewpoint on the participants—that’s not what I’ve found at all.

One of the main reasons I keep coming back is that even with these extremely intellectual and experienced people leading the courses, you can have a different opinion. What they teach you to do is to develop a method to argue your own position very well. I’ve learned to put forth whatever political opinions I have, consider them rigorously, and defend them intellectually.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN SECURITY STUDIES?
Definitely. There are plenty of students who have a great theoretical background in the issues, but without knowing case studies of military history and working through a conflict decision point by decision point, you’ll always be at the hands of someone else’s analysis. Hertog Programs give you the opportunity to not just learn theories, but test them. Having that much raw material of historical knowledge allows you to craft arguments for yourself and not just take someone’s analysis at face value.

The “Lessons of the Iraq War” Institute is a great example. It’s easy to have a sound-bite understanding of that conflict without really thinking through all the decisions, the evidence, the sequence of events, and the actual outcomes of certain policies as that war unfolded. The Institute deepened our knowledge of the Iraq War to such a degree where it’s impossible to walk away without a fully formed analysis of your own.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I’d really like to be involved on the civilian side of defense policy. I’m very committed to public service. I want to have a career where I’m intellectually stimulated, but also contributing to our society. I’ve been extremely fortunate in that the U.S. government has sent me all over the Middle East to learn Arabic on scholarships, so I’m eager to give back. I want to help shape U.S. policy in such a way that promotes both our national security and a positive image for America in the world.

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Harleen Gambhir

Current Position: J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School, Nonresident Counterterrorism Fellow at Institute for the Study of War
Internships: Department of State, Obama for America
Education: Harvard University

Harvard graduate Harleen Gambhir enjoyed her time with the 2013 Hertog War Studies Program so much, she deferred her master’s program at Oxford University. Encouraged by program instructors Fred and Kim Kagan, Harleen decided to spend a year at the Institute for the Study of War (which sponsors War Studies) to research ISIS and jihadist groups worldwide. She is now a J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School, and continues as a Nonresident Counterterrorism Fellow at ISW. 

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
I was a junior at Harvard and took a course with Graham Allison and David Sanger on U.S. national security decision-making and the press. I believe that Drs. Fred and Kimberly Kagan are friends with Dr. Allison, and he asked a small group of us if we were interested.

I had studied foreign policy and the diplomatic side before and felt very comfortable with those facets, but I never really understood military strategy. War Studies seemed like a great way to fill that gap. When I did the interview for the program, Dr. Fred Kagan asked me why they should take me. My response was, “I’m exactly the kind of student you’re looking for—I know nothing about this! I know about the diplomatic and foreign policy aspects, but I don’t know about the military side, and I want to learn.”

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT IN TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
My story is a little bit unorthodox. When I did War Studies, I became close with ISW Research Director Jessica Lewis, who was in charge of the Al-Qaeda in Iraq (now ISIS) portfolio. I helped her with a project she was working on about car bombs in Baghdad and around Iraq.

I came on as a summer intern at ISW with the help of Hertog Foundation funding. I interned directly under Jessica on the counterterrorism team. I hadn’t planned to spend the majority of the summer focused on ISIS, but three days into the internship, ISIS started its urban offensive in Iraq and went into Mosul. Obviously, the entire office went into hyper drive. It was an amazing experience. Both being able to engage with the material and be a part of a really dynamic team was incredibly important and worthwhile.

Over the course of the summer, I started thinking about possibly trying to defer Oxford. Somehow everything managed to work out! As a Counterterrorism Analyst at ISW, I get to help out with ISW’s technology partnerships, which fits in very well with what I want to do in the long term. I’m extremely grateful to the Hertog Foundation for creating the space for these relationships and networks to grow for me.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH WAR STUDIES?
The main thing I was struck by was the caliber of the students who were taking part in the program. Every single person was incredibly brilliant and interesting in their own way. I learned more in those two weeks than I did in some semester-long courses. It was one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had, but also exceedingly enjoyable because of people who were there.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF WAR STUDIES?
I loved that even though the program was obviously based in military studies, it was military studies coming from three people with academic backgrounds. The Drs. Kagan had taught at West Point, and General Dubik was completing his Ph.D. while teaching the program and had a philosophy background.

So for me coming from a social science background, they were the ideal people to be bridging that gap. I just remember reading Clausewitz’s On War and having them explain it to me. I was completely blown away by this material that I wouldn’t have picked up had I not taken the course.

DO YOU THINK WAR STUDIES IS BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE?
The War Studies Program is definitely beneficial for young people interested in public service. The underlying philosophy of the Program is that civilian leaders can’t make informed national security decisions without an understanding of the fundamentals of war—and that’s absolutely true. War Studies offers a type of education that normally isn’t available to public service-minded civilian students.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I absolutely see myself working in public service, and public policy if possible. I would love to keep working in the national security space, hopefully doing something intelligence analysis related. I hesitate to limit myself to a certain region because you never know where life’s going to go, but ideally I’ll be working in the public sphere addressing some of the most complex national security problems we face as a nation.

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Melissa Pavlik

Current Position: Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War
Past: U.S. Department of State, Hudson Institute
Education: University of Chicago

Melissa Pavlik has held research positions at the Department of State, the Hudson Institute, and the Project for International Security Policy Workshop at the University of Chicago. An alumna of the 2015 War Studies Program, she is now a Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War, where she focuses on global terrorism trends and U.S. grand strategy.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
I heard about Hertog in a distribution through a listhost at my university. I’ve always been interested in conflict studies, but universities tend not to offer a class that is basic “War 101” or “How to Understand Conflict.” And they certainly don’t offer it with the type of people who have the on-the-ground or real-life experience in conflict that Drs. Kim and Fred Kagan and the various guest professors have. The War Studies Program seemed like an opportunity to actually jumpstart learning in this field in a way that I couldn’t really do in college.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
There were a lot of moments in Hertog that were incredible. It was really a string of constant epiphanies so it’s hard to keep track of all the life-changing moments that occurred throughout the Program.

But one of the most crucial moments to my understanding was when we heard military leaders talk to us very explicitly about how war is fundamentally political and how civilian leadership is a critical part of how the military operates and how war operates. It made me realize that even though I wasn’t able to pursue a military career path, I could still very much have an impact on this area that I’m extremely passionate about and interested in. In fact, there is a very important role for people who aren’t in the military to play in analyzing and researching military affairs.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN SECURITY STUDIES?
Anybody who is interested in national security and has a Hertog background behind them has a leg up because of the way you’re taught to think about these issues. You’re not just reading from the books and learning doctrinal terms and definitions, you’re also learning to think about what you’ve read in a refined, respectful, and deep manner that I would’ve never been taught in university. I can’t think of a program better designed for people who are interested in going into these fields.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT INTO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
I did Hertog the summer before my senior year in college, and at the end of the Program, I was offered a job at the Institute for the Study of War. It’s essentially my dream job—studying counterterrorism and using the skills that I learned at Hertog to advance the organization that sponsored the Program. This is something that I would not have been able to do without Hertog, not only because I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet the Kagans and discuss these issues, but also because I wouldn’t have had the skillset or the knowledge necessary for the job.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
I think that they offer opportunities to learn things that you don’t learn in school. Even if you read texts related to what we learned in the War Studies Program, you would not be exposed to the breadth and depth of knowledge from the variety of professors that operate in the Hertog environment. It was a learning experience unlike any I’ve ever had.

You also wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet all the incredible students the Hertog network offers. Some of my closest friends and colleagues are Hertog alumni. It is a community that really maintains bonds past the Program, and that closeness comes out of more than just commonality of specific interests. It comes out of a shared passion for learning and the desire to continue focusing on these really important issues.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT? 
I certainly hope to still be working the in the national security space. I think I found exactly what I want to do in life, and this is it. I want to find where I can really contribute to the community. So if not in a government position, I certainly see myself in some kind of role to influence national security decisions.

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Reed Dibich

Current Position: U.S. Marine
Past: Virginia House of Delegates, DNC Hope Institute
Education: Yale University

Stefan “Reed” Dibich recently graduated from Marine Corps Officer Candidates School and will commission in May 2017. He first joined Hertog in Summer 2015 for Vance Serchuk’s “Lessons of the Iraq War” seminar and later returned for the 2016 War Studies Program.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
There had never been another time in my life where I got to be in a room with such serious students talking about such serious matters and have some of the most influential practitioners in the history that we were studying come talk to us about their decisions, their weaknesses, and their mistakes, but also their triumphs.

I didn’t know coming into the War Studies Program that General John Allen, a retired Marine General, was going to be one of the instructors. My educational experience was enhanced just about every time he opened his mouth. He told us stories about the policies he worked on and told us what it was like to actually be in combat.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE?
I think it’s crucial that in Hertog programs you’re discussing these topics with people who have direct experience with said topics. There’s no better way to discuss the Iraq War than to have General [Stanley] McChrystal, General [David] Petraeus, General Allen, and the rest come in and speak to you about it. We even heard from Ambassador Robert Ford and Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

I think anyone who is interested in serving our country could benefit from participating in a Hertog program. It doesn’t matter if you’re red, blue, or purple; whatever your political persuasion, you will definitely benefit from Hertog.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
Hertog programs do what universities can’t do. Universities are very good at introducing students to different disciplines, getting them to know their history, and training them in all of the methodological approaches that are important for whatever department or discipline they’re a part of. But what they miss is the big ideas, and translating those big ideas into big actions on the ground today.

Hertog inculcates a sense that what we’re doing is so important because it’s happening right now. What you’re studying in Hertog programs has implications for your life today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your career. And that’s what makes Hertog so special. It encourages the students to have big ideas and to translate that into big actions.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT INTO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
Particularly with the War Studies Program, there was a real call to service. And I think it stuck in all 19 of us that were there. Drs. Fred and Kim Kagan, Lt. General [James] Dubik, and General Allen talked about what service means, and drove home the fact that because we’re studying these big ideas, we now have an obligation and a civic duty to do something about it. And I think a lot of my fellow War Studies alumni are feeling that call.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT? 
I’m not sure yet how long I’ll serve in the Marines. I’m just going to accept my commission and try to be best Marine Officer I can be. When the time comes to either continue my commission or resign it, I’ll make my decision then.

But for now, I just hope that wherever I am in the world I’m happy with what I’m doing, I sincerely feel that I’m making an impact, and that the work I do every day is meaningful. Those are my criteria. I can see that happening in the Marines, and I hope that continues.

Advanced Institutes

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Jennifer Marsico

Current Position: Senior Associate, Public Affairs and Crisis, Burson-Marsteller
Past: American Enterprise Institute
Education: Drew University

Jennifer Marsico spent six years at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC, working with scholars Norm Ornstein and Karlyn Bowman. While at AEI, she studied with Bill Kristol as part of his Advanced Institute on American exceptionalism. Jennifer has recently started a career in public affairs and crisis management at Burson-Marsteller in New York City.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE HERTOG FOUNDATION? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO APPLY?
I heard about the Foundation through AEI while I was working in their Political Corner doing political and public opinion research. In spring 2013, Bill Kristol was teaching a class on American exceptionalism, which is something that’s very interesting to me. The topic was also relevant to my work, and became even more so throughout my time at AEI.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DOES HERTOG FIT IN TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
American exceptionalism is something we think about a lot when focusing on public opinion research. One of the major topics we grapple with is the American dream. Part of getting a better sense of what the American dream is about is knowing what makes America special. It’s important to understand what’s currently in Americans’ heads and what’s included in public opinion, but then you’ve also got to recognize the history that informs those views. Having a background in historical writings and research in order to frame current American ideals is essential, and the course certainly helped add to my understanding of that background.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG PROGRAMS?
One of our readings in “Is America Exceptional?” looked at American ideals in film. I remember reading about the concept of the Westerner and how it’s a very quintessentially American ideal. When studying America, we’re all used to reading Tocqueville and writers from that era, but to read something that was a modern take on what exactly makes an American idea is an approach I’d never taken before in an academic setting. Those readings certainly stayed in my memory.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HERTOG PROGRAMS?
Hertog’s aim is to equip students and young professionals with the historical and educational tools they need to approach politics, political philosophy, and political analysis. Hertog works with the knowledge that a political mind needs to be grounded in history—it’s not useful to look at things in a vacuum. It’s easy to forget about that in Washington, because so much of our work focuses on the day-to-day. Hertog asks participants to step back and really examine the principles that inform what we’re all trying to accomplish, which is vital.

DO YOU THINK HERTOG PROGRAMS ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC RELATIONS OR PUBLIC POLICY?
Absolutely. Hertog Programs can be beneficial for both. Public relations and public policy are different fields, but there are a lot of similarities between the two worlds. One of the largest similarities has to do with appreciating what makes people tick—why they think what they think, and why they do what they do. Having a better understanding of something like American exceptionalism is important to that process, because it definitely informs how we communicate with people. A background in those historical ideals is key to knowing what sorts of arguments are going to be most coherent, most cogent, and most influential in your work. All Hertog Programs seem to be designed to give participants a way to better communicate with different types of people.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS? IN A SIMILAR JOB, OR EMBARKING ON SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
What I’m primarily interested in is writing. I write a lot for the Independent Women’s Forum, which gives me an opportunity to reflect not just on politics but also on cultural topics. In 10 years, I definitely still want to be writing. I’ll certainly be thinking about these same ideas and trying to bring those thoughts to the people who read my work. My experience with Hertog was very helpful in informing the way I think, and it gave me a clearer picture of how others think as well.

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Joseph Falvey

Current Position: Student, Yale Law School
Past: U.S. Marine Corps
Education: University of Notre Dame

Captain Joe Falvey completed two tours in Afghanistan during his five years with the U.S. Marine Corps. His background and knowledge made him a great fit for the 2014 Hertog seminar on “Lessons of the Iraq War,” led by Vance Serchuk, a former senior national security advisor to Senator Joseph Lieberman. Joe is now studying at Yale Law School and hopes to work in government after graduation.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE ADVANCED INSTITUTE?
My younger brother [Michael Falvey] participated in the Political Studies Program so I first heard about the Foundation from him. Then, the Yale Law Veterans group sent out an email to our incoming class and let us know about the Advanced Institutes. “The Lessons of the Iraq War” seemed like a great opportunity, especially for people coming from the military.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH. HOW DID THE INSTITUTE FIT IN TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS?
During tours for the Marines in Afghanistan, I gained a lot of very specific on-the-ground knowledge about America’s war strategy and plans. But the Institute gave me the opportunity to step back, look at the big picture, and think about the decisions on a presidential or strategic level that impact the guys on the ground.

The viewpoints of the instructor, Vance Serchuk, introduced an interesting take on what’s happening in our government and how it relates to our foreign policy and military. He shared his first-hand experience about how the different branches of government are interacting, how we’re driving the war effort, and how we’re changing our strategy. In the future, as a lawyer I’m interested in working in government so Vance’s perspective was extremely valuable.

WHAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HERTOG?
One of the best intellectual benefits was the broadness of the views that were shared. We not only had world-class speakers from the American side of things like General [David] Petraeus and Senator [John] McCain, but also had the opportunity to interact with people like Professor Bilal Wahab from the American University in Iraq. Hearing Professor Wahab’s take on the war as a Kurdish citizen was fascinating, and he’s someone I never would have come across if not for Hertog.

The students included both people going into military and those involved in nonprofit and private sector work. The breadth of the experiences present in the classroom was extremely vital to the success of the course. It’s always great to get people together who won’t necessarily agree on everything. My peers challenged my assumptions, and hopefully, I challenged some of theirs.

OVERALL, WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE ADVANCED INSTITUTE?
I had a great experience; everything was very professional, very organized. Most of all, the course was brimming with ideas. Vance not only had personal knowledge of the events and the major decisions of the Iraq War, but he also had the desire and the ability to teach us. He put in an incredible amount of effort, and it definitely showed in how well the Institute ran.

DO YOU THINK THE ADVANCED INSTITUTES ARE BENEFICIAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE?
Absolutely. The military is a subject that society at large doesn’t have a ton of knowledge about. There’s something of a civilian-military divide where it’s hard for civilians to glean information about the inner workings of the military, and colleges increasingly don’t offer comprehensive classes on the military or military history. So an Institute like that where you’re taking a very deep dive and exploring the detailed history of a specific event like the Iraq War is essential. Without looking at those hard facts, we don’t have the information we need to make good decisions as a country.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
My interests include government and foreign policy, but I mostly just hope that whatever job I get will allow me to serve the country. Service is what drew me to the military, and I hope to find work that enables me to continue doing that.