Caitlin Poling is a 2008 graduate of Ashland University and the Ashbrook Scholar Program. Caitlin is the National Security Advisor to U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA). Prior to her work in the Senate, Caitlin served as Director of Government Relations at the Foreign Policy Initiative and worked in the offices of Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Bob Latta (R-OH). She received her MA in Security Studies from Georgetown in 2012.
HOW HAS YOUR EDUCATION IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM IMPACTED YOUR CAREER?
“My experience in the Ashbrook Scholar Program really helped to prepare me for my current career. By regularly hearing from and engaging the speakers brought in by the Ashbrook Center, I learned how to carry myself professionally. The Program provided me with a level of confidence in myself and my ability to have conversations with public figures and scholars. This confidence carried over in my ability to bring ideas forward in my daily meetings with representatives from embassies, companies, and associations. The Ashbrook Program also taught me how to think and analyze problems. This is particularly relevant when I’m making decisions in my job and causes me to think of what I learned in the Ashbrook Program daily. I ask myself daily ‘is this decision in line with what our Founders intended for the government?’ and evaluate these decisions based on what I learned in my studies in the Program.”
HAS YOUR INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE WHILE IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM BEEN BENEFICIAL TO YOU PROFESSIONALLY?
“Definitely. I interned at the Heritage Foundation, working under former Attorney General Ed Meese and Dr. Matthew Spalding in the Center for American Studies. I assisted in research and editing for Dr. Spalding’s book We Still Hold These Truthes. Through this research, I studied our Founding Fathers and the origins of American Government. I also helped with the production of Heritage Congressional Fellows events where I got to interact with Hill staffers and learn how Capitol Hill works. All of these experiences really prepared me for my career. Not only did they improve my analytical skills, but they also gave me a foundation of knowledge about our government’s foundations as well as how we have strayed from them.”
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ATTEND ASHLAND UNIVERSITY?
“I chose to attend Ashland University because of the Ashbrook Scholar Program. Once I interviewed with Dr. Schramm, I realized how great of an opportunity it was to be in a small, close-knit group of scholars that get the opportunity to regularly interact with figures of public importance and study politics and government from original texts. The small size of Ashland also helped — I feel that the small class sizes really helped me to foster relationships with my professors and with other Ashbrook Scholars which has benefited me greatly.”
WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE ACADEMIC EXPERIENCES IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM?
“I would say my Democracy in America course with Dr. Sikkenga. That course really helped me to understand the Constitution and our founding principles. It introduced me to the Federalist Papers, and provided my foundation for thought on what the American government was intended to be and should be today. I rely on this knowledge daily in my job. Further, Dr. Sikkenga was a very challenging professor. Writing a paper or exam for him taught me how to fully evaluate all sides of an issue, and helped me to become a better student and thinker.”