By: Kelsey Aylor, editor-in-chief
Wofford College student Stephen Ridley’s experiences in a summer internship in Washington, D.C., at the prestigious Engalitcheff Institute on Coparative Political and Economic Studies provided him focus for his professional life after graduation. They also led to an invitation to return to the nation’s capital this month.
“Whether it was through my internship or the classes and lectures I attended, I learned highly valuable and specialized information that has helped shape my career path,” says the international affairs major from Columbia, S.C. “I now know that I want to pursue a career that involves political economics in some shape or form, and this program opened my mind to a host of different post-graduate tracks other than law school.”
Ridley took another step toward that goal during Interim as he plans to attend the Liberty Fund’s Liberty and Equality Conference Jan. 19-21 in D.C.; he was invited to the conference based on the success he had during the summer program. He received a stipend that covers travel, housing and food. He attended lectures and roundtable discussions on such topics as equality, morality and the market, the welfare state and the history of socialism and welfarism.
Ridley was nominated for the Engalitcheff Institute, a program funded by the Fund for American Studies (TFAS), by Dr. John Farrenkopf, a professor of government and international affairs, after teaching him in an American foreign policy Interim course.
“Based on his performance in the classroom, Stephen struck me as an excellent prospect for admittance to the Engalitcheff program,” Farrenkopf says. “A perfect record of class attendance underscored his commitment to excel. He is serious, personable, industrious and intellectually curious.”
“My internship included a wide variety of tasks, but all were extremely rewarding,” Ridley says. “I did everything from helping with big events to revamping and managing planning programs and databases.”
Ridley also attended regular lectures and networking events. After one such lecture series, he was one of five students invited to attend a private luncheon on Capitol Hill, where attendees discussed free speech and the political climate on college campuses.
He also was selected as one of five students to speak at TFAS’ summer graduation ceremony in front of 450 of his peers and their families, TFAS staff and foreign ambassadors.
“TFAS really runs a fantastic program, and I can’t thank them enough,” Ridley says. “What they’re teaching is incredibly important given the political climate, so having a good understanding of the principles behind public policy and economics is going to be crucial to be successful in the future.”
TFAS’s mission is to teach the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership to students and young professionals in America and around the world, with the intent to mold and inspire future leaders to make a positive difference.