This past year I had the opportunity to represent Wake Forest as a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. Through this fellowship I was able to join eighty other students from around the country for two conferences in Washington, DC. These conferences included presentations and panel discussions on both domestic issues and foreign affairs – everything from the midterm elections and the deficit to the war in Afghanistan. Speakers included Dr. Anne Marie Slaughter, the Director of Policy Planning for the US State Department, Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon papers, and Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hearing such accomplished speakers offer their insight into some of the most pressing issues of our time was an incredibly enriching experience and one I will not soon forget. As part of this program, Fellows also wrote and presented papers on issues related to the presidency and congress. The topic of my paper was political polarization and its effect on presidential ability to govern. Writing this paper was an excellent opportunity for me to explore my personal research interests outside of the classroom, and helped make my experience with the Center for the Study of the Presidency even more rewarding.
NB: Caitlin’s paper “Divided Public, Divided Roles: Presidential Role Performance in a Polarized Political Climate” was published in The Fellows Review. Selected Papers of the 2010-2011 Presidential Fellows. Eds. Parry K. VanLandingham and Wuleta Endale. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, 2011, 259-78. The anthology includes the twenty best papers written by the 2010-2011 Presidential Fellows.