Current Position: Associate Product Manager, 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.