You will emerge from your government major grounded in international relations, American politics, comparative politics and political theory. You will get a front-line perspective on U.S. government if you are accepted into Hamilton’s program in Washington, D.C., where you will work in a Congressional or executive office.

Hillary Kolodner '14 during an internship in Senegal.

A student’s exploration: an internship abroad

Through internships on two continents and courses as varied as philosophy and environmental studies, Hillary Kolodner ’14 explored and then zeroed in: government with a double minor in environmental studies and philosophy.

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She says it’s OK not to know exactly what you want to study as a first-year student. “Hamilton gives you the confidence to know that you’ll eventually figure it out and do something meaningful with your life,” she says.

Her Hamilton College experience included an internship teaching at a community center in Senegal, an opportunity paid for by a fund administered by the College Career Center. Kolodner loved the work and children and wants to go back.

Still, her time in Senegal helped her realize she wants to work in her hometown of Baltimore or a similar community to which she has close ties. She had two internships in Baltimore, one funded through the College, at the United Way of Central Maryland, and the other at the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative.

After Hamilton, Kolodner thinks she may teach in a high-needs school while earning a master’s degree in education, then pursue a graduate degree related to inequality, maybe in public policy and education.

Ellen Esterhey, center, on the campaign
Ellen Esterhey, center, on the campaign

A graduate's progress: a stint in high-profile politics

Ellen Esterhay ’14, who double-majored in world politics and Chinese, went from Hamilton to a position in a high-profile, high-pressure political campaign. She landed an internship, than a job as a press assistant, in Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ effort to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Her candidate lost, but Esterhay loved the experience. “I think working a campaign can be pretty grueling, but it’s really great knowing you’re going to work every day doing something that you believe in,” she says.

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Esterhay studied abroad in Hamilton’s program in Beijing and wants to return to China. Her longer-term goal is a career, maybe in government or foreign polity, in which she can use her Chinese language. She feels prepared for whatever. “I didn’t fully realize everything my time at Hamilton gave me until I left,” she says. “As a student at Hamilton, in everything you do, you’re learning how to problem-solve, how to adapt and pick up things quickly and to write - especially learning how to write.”