Dartmouth senior interns at conservative think tank
Lively debate, political buzz, intellectual growth -- words usually associated with the academic year rather than an off term -- characterized this past summer for Scott Glabe '06.
Along with 63 other college students, Glabe interned at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. for over a month. This summer marked Glabe's second stint at the Heritage Foundation, where he interned during his junior fall. The organization, a conservative think tank, offers a unique opportunity for young Republicans to grapple with issues in the public policy arena while meeting like-minded individuals from around the country,
The institute, founded in 1973, focuses primarily on the development and advancement of conservative public policies, Glabe, who has also spent terms in Morocco and London studying international relations and government, said the experience encompassed far more than a typical job.
"Think tanks today are, practically speaking, replacing the modern university," Glabe said. "While I will get my diploma from Dartmouth, I received much of my education from the Heritage Foundation."
Glabe, who worked on a number of web blogs including Issues 2004, was continually impressed with Heritage. The experts were accessible, the programming for interns impressive, and the surroundings stimulating, Glabe said.
Though Glabe was working with over 50 other like-minded conservatives, he said the atmosphere was surprisingly diverse, and that animated debates took place among interns of different religions. For Glabe, being in Washington, D.C. was an enlightening experience.
"Heritage teaches you how diverse conservatism is," he said. "The most interesting debates today are among conservatives, because liberals are really searching for ideas."
Glabe stressed the differences among conservative factions today, noting the conflicts among the libertarian, neoconservative and traditional perspectives regarding domestic and foreign policy.
Working at Heritage was a refreshing balance between the extreme conservatism of his home town of Columbia, Missouri and the liberalism of the East Coast. Still, he did say that Dartmouth provides an interesting political backdrop.
"The Heritage Foundation is a great opportunity for conservative students who statistically are the minority on campus to add philosophical and policy depth to their political beliefs," Glabe said, "but what's great about Dartmouth is there is a vigorous campus debate. This is a place where ideas are talked about."
Glabe, who is the executive editor of The Dartmouth Review, said that the liberal orientation of academia is a fascinating issue that should be explored regardless of political orientation.
"In our country today there is hostility on both the liberal and the conservative sides. Yet, in a country divided 50-50, why are nine out of ten of our professors registered Democrats?" Glabe asked. "While the answer certainly does not lie with a quota system, it is an interesting question."
In the future, Glabe, a government major, hopes to explore this question along with many others of a similar nature, while staying focused on public policy, international relations and political philosophy.
Glabe is passionate about giving back to the community and knows that his path will be inextricably tied to government as well as service.
"I feel a real debt to the folks who made it possible to be here. I look forward to participating in this unique debate of what is right or wrong for society today," Glabe said with conviction.
For now though, the affable senior is staying busy by balancing classes and two independent studies, one of which is with professor emeritus Roger Masters, a former student of conservative icon Leo Strauss. Glabe is also in the process of applying for jobs, scholarships and graduate schools.