Global Politics Fellows Program Welcomes President Anne Holton

by Anne Reynolds

Global Politics Fellows Program Welcomes President Anne Holton

On September 5, Mason’s Global Politics Fellows program opened the new semester by welcoming its first distinguished speaker of the year: Mason President Anne Holton.

Global Politics Fellows is a fifteen-credit program for selected Mason undergraduate students interested in government, international politics, and global affairs. Working in a small cohort of 20 to 30 students, the fellows actively research and discuss world issues in their coursework while applying their scholarship to work in substantive internships.

The program consists of three courses and a significant internship experience. Students intern on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, for twenty to twenty-five hours per week. This semester, students hold internships at the U.S. Dept. of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee; Fairfax County Department of Finance; U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs; Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt; Catholic Archdiocese of Arlington, Migration and Refugee Services; and the Legal Aid Justice Center.

In addition to the students’ internships and supporting coursework, the fellows enjoy a lunchtime speaker series with current and former government leaders, non-profit organizers, and elected officials. College of Humanities and Social Sciences senior associate dean, Lisa Breglia, said that Holton’s background and leadership made her a perfect choice to address the students.

“She has lived a life devoted to public service, beginning with her early career as an attorney and then as a judge in Richmond,” she said. “She served as Virginia’s first lady and then as the Virginia Secretary of Education. The consistent concerns across her work have been attention to inequality and access, investment in public education, the promotion of innovation, and ensuring every student has a successful pathway to the future.”

Holton responded to student questions about law school, the “honor” of “continuing to learn and grow at this ripe old age,” and her work within the commonwealth. Asked about her favorite job she has held, she described the challenges and satisfactions of serving as a judge in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for the City of Richmond: “It was an interesting combination of the front line, but also being in a position of authority, enough to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Breglia appreciates Holton’s example. “The Global Politics Fellows are an especially dedicated group of students, many of whom who are pursuing pathways in public service,” she said. “We are so grateful that President Holton took the time to come talk us and show how her own life is a model of commitment to advocacy and serving the public good. The fellows are both inspired and challenged by her exemplary work."