By Monica Regan ’23
When a College of the Holy Cross student thinks of internships, the Career Center, Career Fairs, and Handshake come to mind. However, student organizations on campus also serve as a unique way to network, cultivate your interests, and surround yourself with people who will help and inspire you to succeed. Joining a club akin to your interests can lead you to find mentors who will help you navigate the professional world. The Alexander Hamilton Society (AHS) is a prime example of this. More than a student-led foreign policy organization, AHS provides invaluable internship advice and connections to key networks, helping to advance the career paths of its members.
Will Poplawski ‘20, founder of Holy Cross’ chapter of AHS, and Kaitlyn Romaine ‘21, current AHS President, shared some insight on how the organization has opened the door to many opportunities. Poplawski was inspired to start the HC chapter to “fill the void” of the lack of foreign policy organizations on campus. He and Romaine built the HC chapter into an organization that has earned the award of AHS’s Best New Chapter and whose most recent speaker event on campus attracted over one hundred attendees.
Poplawski participated in the AHS Chapter Officers Summit while in Washington, D.C. during his semester abroad. “From there, AHS connected me with think tanks, congressional offices, and executive branch officials,” he told me. “I ultimately found my way into the Department of Homeland Security and had a front-row seat and participated in the Department’s China Working Group created by the Acting Secretary. During the change in Administration, and after a range of interviews AHS helped me secure, I took a role working at the Pentagon on a contract for the Under Secretary of Intelligence and Security.”
Poplawski noted a parallel between the strong alumni community that sets Holy Cross apart and the alumni connections he has formed through AHS. “When I was going through rounds of interviews to get my first job, they connected me with AHS members in a variety of positions to advocate for me,” he recalled. AHS has surrounded Poplawski with intelligent people who share his passion for foreign policy and who are genuinely interested in his ideas. Being a member has opened the door to opportunities that changed the trajectory of his career path.
Similarly, AHS helped Romaine narrow her interests within foreign policy and cultivate the skills and knowledge to pursue a career path in this sector. She realized her interest in think tanks through AHS, and last summer, she interned at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense. She credits AHS for the available professional resources that she used to perfect her application. Romaine noted that if AHS has a connection to an organization where a member is applying, they will try to reach out and flag that specific application. She explained that many of the internships HC students apply to “…receive hundreds of applications for very few positions, so making sure that they even look at your resume can be huge.”
Romaine has also been able to network through the numerous speaker events hosted by AHS. She was even sponsored by AHS to attend the Student Leadership Conference in the nation’s capital, where she engaged with members from all across the country. Most recently, she was accepted to the Ronald Reagan Institute – Alexander Hamilton Society National Defense Fellowship. She attended an intensive foreign policy boot camp and will also be sponsored by the organization in her trip to California for the Reagan National Defense Forum (RNDF). There, Romaine will have the opportunity to “interact with Secretaries of Defense, Directors of CIA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Combatant Commanders, and industry executives.”
Last month, the AHS Holy Cross chapter hosted a career workshop where students could construct resumes and review best practices for job applications, networking, and interviews. A comprehensive list of government agency internships complete with application due dates and security clearance information required by most federal jobs was also provided for all attendants. Additionally, Romaine and other members established an AHS mentorship program in November. She looked up to the older members of the club, especially Will Poplawski, who helped guide her through the world of internships and D.C.. She hopes for current members to experience the same type of relationships she did through this new program.
Participating in AHS provides students with unique opportunities to begin a career in foreign policy. I encourage you to push past your fears of feeling like you don’t know enough on the subject or of feeling like you don’t know anyone and join a club on campus like the Alexander Hamilton Society. Beyond making connections with other HC students and expanding your knowledge, joining a student organization can provide you with unique opportunities and help guide you towards a desired career path.
More information about AHS student programming and opportunities, including those not listed in this article, visit:
Reach out to the HC chapter at email@example.com with any questions!
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