The Institute for Politics and Public Service (IPPS) launched its mentorship program Oct 30, which pairs students one-on-one with professionals in a variety of fields related to public service including campaign management, congressional staffing, and political journalism.
“A big part of why we exist … is to give students a real, up-front, pull-back-the-curtain view of how politics works, how government works and provide students access to the people who practice it,” said Mo Elleithee, director of the IPPS. “We see ourselves as sort of the practical companion to what students are learning in the classroom about politics and how it’s really done.”
The program pairs students interested in a certain field of politics using a questionnaire on the IPPS website with a professional working in that area. According to Elleithee, this allows the program to tailor itself to the participants’ interests in order to develop a meaningful relationship between students and their mentors.
“You’ll get together about once a month, and that’s the end of the requirements. Beyond that, it’s up to the two of you, you and your mentor, to develop that relationship … and then hopefully as you guys develop a relationship, that mentor will start bringing you into some of their work activities too so you can see it up close and personal,” he said.
One of the mentors participating in the program, Dan Rubin, senior advisor and communications director for Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), recalled his own experience under various mentors and its important role in his development as a professional in the political field.
According to Elleithee, the IPPS has not yet paired students and mentors, but these decisions will be made in the upcoming weeks.
Describing what he hopes to possibly get out of the program, Arnosh Keswani (SFS ’17) said, “I think we’ve seen over time in the last few years that Congress has a huge role to play in foreign policy … I think it would very interesting to get a congressional perspective on foreign relations as well as the usual State Department being on the executive branch.”
According to Elleithee, the program is open to any Georgetown student with an interest in politics or a related field, and the IPPS will be pairing students and mentors on a rolling basis throughout the year.