Andrew Braun graduated from Ashland University and the Ashbrook Scholar Program in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History, and joined the United States Marine Corps in 2008, where he served for six years. While in the Marines, he was stationed in Afghanistan as a Platoon Commander, and then Okinawa as a Staff Officer. Braun left the Marine Corps in 2014, and now works as a Military Legislative Assistant in the US House of Representatives for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), where he assists in the development of policy positions and legislative priorities.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ASHLAND UNIVERSITY AND THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM FOR YOUR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION, AND WHY SHOULD OTHERS DO THE SAME?
I was impressed with the late Dr. Peter Schramm (who, by the way, used the same recruiting methods the Marine Corps favors — “it’s too hard and you probably can’t do it”), but I was also intrigued and impressed by the high-profile speakers the program attracts. For prospective students, it is a fantastic opportunity to spend four years in a truly unique intellectual ecosystem with some of the best professors in the world and serious students who share a passion for history, political philosophy, and government.
HOW DID YOUR ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM EXPERIENCE AFFECT YOUR EDUCATION AND YOUR CAREER?
Practically speaking, it was a fellow Ashbrook Scholar who helped me get my first job on Capitol Hill. More generally, during my years in the program I began to think seriously about Western Civilization and the American Experiment through a great deal of writing and many hours classroom discussions led by the excellent Ashbrook professors. This really taught me how to think (as opposed to what to think, which is so common these days in the academy), which is an invaluable life skill.
HOW HAS YOUR EDUCATION IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM IMPACTED YOUR CAREER?
The Ashbrook Scholar Program impacted my career in three ways:
- It provided me contacts and a network of like-minded individuals who opened up career opportunities for me after I left the Marine Corps;
- It deepened my passion and appreciation for our nation and form of government (and thus the importance of protecting it);
- It deepened my knowledge of the philosophy and mechanics of our government and honed my ability to think, write, and debate clearly about these things.
IN WHAT WAYS DID YOUR EDUCATION IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR FUTURE?
With regard to the history courses, I can still speak intelligently about things like the Peloponnesian War or the Byzantine Empire (let alone the Revolutionary War, World Wars, or the Constitutional Convention) with confidence, which is more helpful than you might imagine working on defense issues in the Capitol. The exposure to original texts and engaging classroom discussions developed in me a passion for and appreciation of Western Civilization and the ability to articulate a defense of it. This is an invaluable skill when writing op-eds, speeches, talking points, or simply discussing defense policy with my peers or my boss.