Name: Philip Ahearn
Field of Study: Politics (Philosophy minor)
Status: Undergraduate student
Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: The Bronx, New York
Why did you choose Catholic University? I discovered Catholic University, and I did so relatively late in the college application process. When I stepped on campus as a high school senior, I knew something was different. I felt as if I wasn't a student on a tour, I felt as though I were already a member of our incredible university community. The camaraderie and friendship among the students was evident to me, and was consequential in my decision to attend CatholicU.
"As a politics student, there's no place like Washington, D.C. to live and learn in."
What activities have you been involved with? During my time at Catholic University, I have been fortunate to be involved as a leader on campus. I've been extensively involved with the University's Orientation Program, first as an Orientation Advisor in 2019, then as one of the two Student Coordinators for Orientation 2020. I am beyond thrilled to be returning to the Orientation staff this year as an Orientation Advisor. I have been involved with the Student Government Association, as a Senator for the Class of 2022, and I am excited to serve as the Student Body Secretary during the 2021-2022 academic year. I am also excited to be a member of CatholicU's Program Board and President's Society during the 2021-2022 academic year.
How has CatholicU's D.C. location contributed to your student experience? Catholic University's D.C. location has been, and will continue to be, one of the cornerstones of my student experience. As a politics student, there's no place like Washington, D.C. to live and learn in. The opportunities to immerse myself in D.C.'s unique culture and gain professional experience off campus with the many internship opportunities available have been an invaluable asset of my student experience. While I am from New York City, I am so grateful to be able to call CatholicU, and Washington, D.C., my home away from home.
Favorite course? One of my favorite courses that I've taken has to be POL 405 - National Elections, with Dr. John White. Offered once every four years, this course has been the most engaging and insightful I have taken thus far. As a student, I was able to learn about our election systems and develop my skills in political analysis. I am extremely fortunate to have heard from a variety of speakers, including Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report, and Ellen Weintraub of the Federal Elections Commission. Aside from the amazing opportunities to engage with experts in the field, Dr. White tasked students with writing op-eds on a variety of topics and issued further challenges for students to see their work published in local or national mediums. Through such exercises, I was able to think critically and write effectively as a political analyst. I would recommend any student, even those not pursuing a degree in politics, to take POL 405 if given the chance.
Is there a faculty or staff member who has made a significant impact on you? One professor who has made a significant impact on my time at CatholicU is Dr. Kevin White in the School of Philosophy. I had the pleasure of sitting with Dr. White in HSPH 204 - Ultimate Questions, and PHIL 311 - Philosophy of Knowledge. In both classes, I was challenged to think deeply and critically about the underlying philosophical questions of the reality of being and those of human experience. Dr. White's dedication to my education, and the education of my classmates, was evident. During the Spring 2020 semester, Dr. White facilitated the transition to remote learning easily and efficiently, and he always managed to keep the class engaged. I have learned a lot from Dr. White, not just about how to write better or think critically, but to think philosophically and, and as Dr. White would say: "to stay phenomenological."
What are your goals for the future? My goals for the future have certainly fluctuated since I became a student at CatholicU. Aside from my hope to pursue a graduate degree, I have combed through desires to work on Capitol Hill as a staffer, or in the White House Press Office, among others. Despite this previous indecisiveness, I have finally settled with the goal of making a career in legislative affairs.
What do you like most about Catholic University? One of the things I like most about Catholic University is the individuality. Catholic is not a particularly large school, where students are lost in a lecture hall during general education courses. I have been blessed to develop long-lasting relationships not just with classmates, but with so many professors and faculty because of the opportunities for one-on-one connection. I feel as if this is an asset of higher education that CatholicU accomplishes in a uniquely excellent way.
Proudest accomplishment: My proudest achievement at Catholic University would, unreservedly, have to be serving as a Student Coordinator for Orientation 2020. When I accepted the position, I never thought a global pandemic would throw a wrench in my experience. As soon as we had hired an amazing staff of Orientation Advisors and experienced the NODA Region VIII conference in Stockton, NJ, the world closed for business. Myself, Sydney Hartman and Steve Kreider moved from planning an in-person Orientation, to a hybrid Orientation, and ultimately to a fully virtual program. Nevertheless, the work I accomplished as Student Coordinator in providing a well-rounded Orientation experience for the Class of 2024, (which wouldn't have been possible without such amazing peers to work with), is definitely what I am most proud of in my time at CatholicU.
What Catholic University means to you: My experience that exemplifies what CatholicU means to me comes from my Orientation experience in 2018. As an incoming first-year student, I was nervous for what the next four years would hold for me. Myself and my parents arrived in Centennial Village, where our car was bombarded by Orientation Advisors, Resident Assistants and Student Ministers. I vividly remember walking to the Orientation check-in table, and an Orientation Advisor greeted me in an unusual way. Instead of the expected "Welcome to Catholic," I was greeted with a passionate "Welcome Home!" It was at this moment that I knew, and I am consistently reminded, that Catholic University, to me, means "Home."