Henry Gaston, Wallerstein Scholar

Henry interned at the Cooper Center assisting with COVID-19-related project—from helping to develop a report for the Virginia Department of Education to participating in the creation of a survey for medical practitioners.

“Working as a Wallerstein Scholar gives you opportunities to really understand the grassroots side of local and state politics - a side which very few get to see."

Henry Gaston

Cooper Center Intern

Henry was a fourth-year undergraduate student studying History in the College of Arts and Sciences and Business in the McIntire Business Institute when he completed his internship.

Why did you choose the Wallerstein Scholars Program?

I chose the Wallerstein Scholars Program over other possible internships because I found that it relevant to my future career in national security consulting. The Wallerstein Scholars Program is designed for people interested in research, local governance, and public service. To me, the type of consulting I will be doing beginning this upcoming summer is an indispensable public service. As such I found that the Wallerstein Scholars Program was the internship path which best embodied my own interests.

What projects did you work on as a Wallerstein Scholar?

I worked on countless projects at the Cooper Center as a Wallerstein Scholar. Some small projects in which I participated included the creation of a survey for doctors and other medical practitioners in the Albemarle County area regarding COVID-19. I also created a report highlighting present and future trends and data visualization. My most memorable project was my engagement with the Virginia Department of Education, during which I submitted a report and presentation concerning how Career and Technical Education instruction and administration must pivot in response to COVID-19.

What was your favorite part of the internship?

My favorite part had to be the people with whom and under whom I worked. My bosses - Meredith Gunter and Michael Phillips - had close working relationships with me throughout my time as a Wallerstein Scholar, and those with whom I worked on projects remain close colleagues to this day.

What did you learn as a result of this internship?

One thing I learned from this internship that I did not expect to learn was how to effectively operate in a remote workplace. This summer provided a unique opportunity for remote work as a result of COVID-19, and this will be an indispensable lesson as I begin working remotely with Guidehouse beginning this summer. I also learned the importance of project management through my experiences of working with Michael.

Would you recommend the Wallerstein Scholars Program to future students?

I would absolutely recommend the program to others interested in government and public service. Working as a Wallerstein Scholar gives you opportunities to really understand the grassroots side of local and state politics - a side which very few get to see. It also is an excellent resume builder, and provides a convincing talking point in any interview.