• David Wolfe Bender

Summer 2021: What's Ahead



Time flies. It was almost as if I closed my eyes for a few seconds in January, and then it was suddenly April. Regardless, I am now more than half way through my second semester at Indiana University. By the end of the semester, I will have completed 14 different classes and 41 credits at IU, well on track for my scheduled graduation in May 2024.


Since October 2020, I have been searching for a productive way to spend the summer after my first year at IU. After many applications and interviews, I am eminently grateful to reveal my plans for the upcoming summer.


In May, just after finishing my final examinations with IU, I will be joining the Government Accountability Office's public affairs division as an intern. The GAO is one of the most fascinating, crucial institutions of our federal government, and ironically, too few people know what the GAO is, what it does, and why it exists. The GAO exists to be the “congressional watchdog” and serves as the auditing agency for the federal government. Each year, the GAO saves the federal government billions of dollars, sometimes up to 300 times what it costs to run the agency.


I am proud to have this opportunity to work for such an outstanding agency, whose mission aligns with my values and ideals. This internship will run remotely, meaning I will be staying at my home in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the summer. I want to express my appreciation to Mr. Charles Young, Ms. Sarah Kaczmarek, and Ms. Tara Carter for offering me for this opportunity.


I have been the benefactor of support from so many outstanding mentors and advisers. Professor Gerry Lanosga, the faculty mentor of my journalism honours cohort, has been an invaluable resource. He's written multiple recommendation letters for various programs in the past few months, and I am incredibly grateful. Professor Bonnie Layton really helped me take my visual skills to the next level in her visual communications class last semester, and I am so thankful for the time she took in helping me develop those skills. George Hornedo, who graduated from Park Tudor, has been a mentor since I first met him in 2019. I am so thankful for the time he dedicated to helping connect me with professionals in the government and politics field.


Jaden Amos and Jacob deCastro — both friends of mine at IU — were instrumental in my search for internships. Jaden would read every cover letter, supplement, and resume I sent her, and she was so helpful in this process. Jacob helped me find available internships and provided essential advice throughout the search. Alex Hardgrave, Sara Kress, and Grace Ybarra have been such extraordinary mentors to me, and I am so grateful to them. Luzane Draughon, Helen Rummel, and Cate Charron — my editors this semester — improved my writing drastically, and I am forever in their debt.


And of course, I need to thank my family. My mom, dad, and brother have been nothing but supportive, and I am so thankful for their everlasting support.


I am ecstatic about the opportunity with GAO; and yet, there’s more to share.


Earlier this year, I was accepted to the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honours Program. The think tank, based in Washington DC, hosts a week-long program for university students engaged in government and politics. Accepted students take a course taught by an AEI scholar. My course focuses on the United States constitution, its original meanings, and its interpretation today. My course is being taught by John Yoo, an attorney who worked in the Department of Justice during President George W. Bush’s administration. If his name rings a bell, it’s likely because he was the author of the famous memos on enhanced interrogation that aimed to justify the Central Intelligence Agency’s actions after the September 11th attacks (they are more commonly known as the “Torture Memos”).


As someone who idolizes the Supreme Court as an institution and constitutional law as a potential future field of study, this opportunity excites me greatly, and I am quite ready to discuss these ever-present, crucial issues with other students from other universities across the country and world.


That program will run in Washington DC from June 14-18; it’ll be nice to return to the Capital Region — my birthplace and forever home — even if it is just for a few days.


Arunabh Sinha encouraged me to apply for the program, even going so far as to nominate me as a potential student. I am so thankful for his support, and I look forward to connecting with Arunabh after the conference to debate even more than we already do.


In academic news, I am days away from registering for another semester's worth of coursework. While nothing is finalized, it seems my coursework will revolve around classes in constitutional law, communications law, macroeconomics, public relations research, and political communication. I am joining the Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP) at IU and will work to earn their honours certificate. The program combines business courses with the traditional arts and sciences curriculum in the college. (Both Jacob deCastro and Sara Kress can take credit for convincing me to apply; it was a great suggestion, and I'm excited to get started with the program).


So that is what's ahead. Keep in touch on my blog and other social media accounts for more details in the following months! I’m vaccinated, and I hope you are too or will be soon. I wish you and your families a fun and safe summer. Let’s do this.