Public Policy Graduate Students Win Bryce Harlow Awards

Posted: October 3, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nick Walker

Mason students Sarah Gamino, Jonathan Larsen and Clint Woods will receive the Bryce Harlow Foundation scholarships for 2008-09.

Since 1985, the Bryce Harlow Foundation has awarded scholarships to Washington, D.C., area graduate students who also work full time. The foundation seeks to promote students considering a career in professional advocacy through lobbying, government relations or public affairs.

Clint Woods
Clint Woods

“It’s a great opportunity for networking, not to mention the financial generosity,” says Woods, a legislative analyst for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

“There aren’t a lot of scholarship opportunities for graduate students who work full time,” says Gamino, who currently serves as legislative director for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Both Gamino and Woods are currently earning a Master of International Commerce and Policy. This program integrates economics, public policy and business.

“The degree has a little bit of everything,” says Woods, who earned a BA in history from Mary Washington College in 2006. “I sort of stumbled on this – the focus of my senior thesis was legislative history and policy debate, and it pushed me in the direction of government public policy in general.”

Gamino also works directly with government policies.

“I’m currently doing public policy research,” says Gamino, a Miami native who graduated from American University in 2005 and went straight to work for Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. “I have great respect for Ros-Lehtinen. It’s great to work with her and still have a connection to the district. I usually get to travel back to Florida every other month.”

Woods spends some time on Capitol Hill, too.

“I do some policy work at the federal level, but there are a lot of issues at the state level, too,” Woods says. “I deal with new laws and regulations in all 50 states.”

Woods plans to continue in this field and progress toward a career in public policy.

“I’d like to continue in government relations and lobby work, preferably representing American businesses,” Woods says.

“I’m interested in a trade-related field,” Gamino says. “I haven’t decided where to go with this yet, but I’d like to work representing the U.S., or representing a company with interests abroad.”

Jonathan Larsen, who is currently working at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, was not available for comment.

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