Wendy currently serves as the Foreign Policy and Defense Legislative Assistant for Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. In addition to handling the Senator’s foreign policy and defense portfolio, she serves as the primary liaison to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She is a Truman Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. In 2004, she finished her Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Her graduate work focused on international security policy, specifically US foreign policy. During the summer of 2003, she served as a Deputy National Security Issues Coordinator for John Kerry’s Presidential campaign. Prior to her matriculation at Columbia, Wendy worked as a research consultant to David Gergen at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a political consultant for Senator Mark Pryor’s 2002 Senate campaign in her home state of Arkansas . Wendy served as Deputy Director of External Affairs for former U.S. Ambassador Swanee Hunt with a global initiative “Women Waging Peace” at Harvard’s Kennedy School . During this period, she spent time in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Cyprus, India, No. Ireland, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Russia, and Rwanda. Wendy also has a Masters degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University. She graduated with a BA in religion from Hendrix College and was a 1994 Thomas J. Watson Fellow.
What is your current occupation?
Foreign Affairs/Defense Legislative Assistant to Senator Frank R. Lautenberg.
In what ways did your Hendrix experience or politics major prepare you for your current occupation?My years at Hendrix taught me to step beyond my intellectual and political comfort zones, to want to sift through complexity instead of dismissing it out of either impatience or a need to make things easy. I learned to poke and prod arguments, find their holes, think more creatively about how to solve problems. While at Hendrix, I also learned to reach intellectually and emotionally beyond Arkansas, and ultimately the United States. It was during a study abroad semester that I began to crave a more experiential, intimate knowledge of the world. It was this intellectual curiosity, nurtured and encouraged at Hendrix, and the combined support of my family and Hendrix mentors (Ian King, Stella Capek, and Jay McDaniel) who pushed me to apply for the Watson Fellowship.
What was the most memorable course you took at Hendrix? What made it memorable?
The most challenging course I took during my tenure at Hendrix was “Global Politics” taught by Ian King. Dr. King had high expectations, as did I for myself, and I spent the semester digesting theories of international relations and analyzing patterns and trends in global politics but, perhaps most importantly, I learned to think critically about the sources of this knowledge. Dr. King raised pertinent questions about foreign affairs and political systems but what proved most helpful to me was the fact that he also raised important epistemological questions about the formation of that knowledge. Dr. King ultimately taught me how to think more critically and there is nothing on which I have relied more since I left Hendrix College.
What advice would you offer current students?
To push yourself while at Hendrix. Write down a list of five to 10 goals you would like to accomplish each year. I started such a list towards the end of my sophomore year; the writing down of important goals made them more real, somehow more achievable. I wanted to read War and Peace, to act in a play or two, to run five miles without stopping, to write an article for The Profile, to get to know well professors I respected, to cook a wonderful meal for a group of friends, to party but to do it with care, to seek others’ opinions about my future, to hone my mind, to deepen my spirit, to not regret. Simply put, you will never have a time like this again in your life. Use this time, and use it well.