Caitlin Poling is a 2008 graduate of Ashland University and the Ashbrook Scholar Program. Caitlin currently resides in Vienna, Austria and works for the Arms Control Section of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (UNVIE). Previously, she served as National Security Advisor, and then as Senior Advisor, to U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), where she secured over 60 provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act and also drafted and helped pass legislation to improve oversight of the State Department. Prior to her work in the Senate, Caitlin served as Director of Government Relations at the Foreign Policy Initiative, where she also wrote on Africa and counter-terrorism policy and also represented the organization in national television and radio interviews. At the start of her career, she worked in the offices of then-Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Congressman 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 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 professional meetings with representatives from embassies, companies, and associations that I had daily on Capitol Hill. The Ashbrook Program also taught me how to think and analyze problems, skills I use daily when making national security policy decisions at work.
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 Truths. 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 helped to prepare 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 and helped me to get a foot in the door to start my work on Capitol Hill.
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?
Some of the moments I recall most fondly of my time in the Ashbrook Scholar Program were those in which I was working and learning with my classmates. Before our final exam for Dr. Schramm’s Understanding Politics, a group from my class sat on the 8th floor of the library discussing Aristotle’s Politics and Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus, debating and quizzing one another on what we might be tested on. Later, in my senior year, we would gather to give feedback (or commiserate) on our ongoing Ashbrook theses. These moments as classmates who truly supported each other and enjoyed learning and debating together are the things I remember most fondly more than 10 years after I’ve graduated.