UVA Today: How Philip Potter Navigates 21st-Century National Security Policy

Philip Potter directs the National Security Policy Center, which fosters a dialogue between students and faculty members on Grounds and decision-makers in Washington. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

[UVA TODAY] November 07, 2019- Since its inception in 2018, the National Security Policy Center at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy has made something of a name for itself.

Under the direction of Batten School associate professor Philip K. Potter, who also holds a dual appointment in UVA’s Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics, the center has managed, in only a short amount of time, to forge new partnerships on and off Grounds, become a leading resource for government agencies and spearhead new courses aimed at enhancing students’ knowledge of security challenges facing the U.S. today. The center’s active role in the defense community demonstrates its high level of engagement and its ability to play an important role in shaping national security policy in the 21st century.

UVA Today had the chance to sit down with Potter to discuss how the center has matured in the last year, upcoming projects, the significance behind some of its most recent partnerships and academic programs, and what the future holds both for the center and the current national security policy milieu.

To access the full article, please visit UVA TODAY to learn about Professor Potter's insights on National Security Policy in the 21st Century.

Life After Politics 2019: Global Edition

What can you do with a degree in Politics? What is life like after graduation?

Life After Politics is our annual event featuring alumni mentors, panel participants, and networking opportunities. Presented by the Department of Politics and The Career Center, this year’s Life After Politics: Global Edition invited four politics alumni to share their experiences working in various fields, as well as offer insider advice on how to navigate the “life after politics,” demonstrating the great diversity of career choices a politics major can lead to.

In this year’s Life After Politics: Global Edition, the panelists also shared their personal stories and anecdotes from working in various locations and organizations around the world. Many of them mentioned the global perspectives they gained while studying at UVA (and abroad), which proved to be influential throughout their careers.

Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director, House Of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs

Jason Steinbaum serves as Democratic Staff Director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Previously, he was Staff Director for the majority and minority of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere from 2006-2012. He has also served as Washington Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the early 1990’s, Mr. Steinbaum worked for Senator Donald Riegle (D-MI), having served as his Legislative Assistant for foreign affairs and defense.

During his career in Congress, Mr. Steinbaum wrote the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 and the law providing normal trade relations with Albania, has been a leader on policy toward the Balkans, and has monitored elections in numerous countries.

Megan O’Donnell, Assistant Director, Gender Program and Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Global Development

Megan O’Donnell is the Assistant Director of the Center for Global Development’s gender program and a Senior Policy Analyst. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion, gender data and measurement, and development effectiveness. Prior to CGD, O’Donnell worked at the ONE Campaign, an international advocacy organization focused on sub Saharan Africa, where she led the development of ONE’s gender and inclusive growth-focused policy recommendations to donors and country governments. Before joining ONE, she coordinated CGD’s gender research program and has also worked with the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Center for Research on Women, CARE USA, Banyan Global, and the Middle East Institute. She has a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and French from the University of Virginia.

Jerry Rubin, Senior Counsel at Williams Kastner & Gibbs

Jerry Rubin is currently senior counsel at the Seattle law firm of Williams Kastner & Gibbs. Jerry’s law practice concentrates in the area of labor and employment law. Jerry began his legal career as a Federal Government Trial Attorney. Over the past 40 years, he has represented private and public corporations and governmental entities throughout the United States and Asia. Jerry holds a B.A. in Political Science from UVA (1966). His daughter Julia graduated from UVA in 2010.

Christian Yarnell, Brookings Legislative Fellow, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

Christian Yarnell is currently a Brookings Legislative Fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, focusing on Europe and Russia. When not on loan to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chris is a career State Department official, most recently serving as the deputy director of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs’ Office of Policy and Regional Affairs, which covers political-military, arms control, and nonproliferation issues in Europe. He has served overseas at our U.S. Embassies in Lithuania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria working on a broad range of political and economic matters. Chris has an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in foreign affairs from UVA (2002). He is, however, married to a Hokie.

Life After Politics: Global Edition

Friday, October 25, 2019 11:30am to 3:00pm
Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium, Recruiting Room, 1815 Stadium Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

Engage with alumni from the Department of Politics who will speak on a panel and be available for “flash mentoring” sessions afterwards. Learn about their career paths and hear them share their best career advice for current and contemplating Politics majors. Alumni work in a wide variety of careers, including global pathways, and students will gain excellent knowledge about what they can do with these degrees.
This event is co-sponsored by the UVA Career Center and the Department of Politics in partnership with Global @ UVA Week: http://www.virginia.edu/uvaglobal/iew/

2019 Agenda:

11:30 am – 12 pm: Student Registration Opens and Complimentary Lunch

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12 – 1:30 pm: Alumni Panel

Panelists:
Jerry Rubin: senior counsel at the Seattle law firm of Williams Kastner & Gibbs
Jason Steinbaum: Staff Director, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
Christian Yarnell: Brookings Legislative Fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
Megan O’Donnell: Assistant Director, Gender Program and Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Global Development

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1:30 – 3 pm: Flash Mentoring
Alumni from the Politics Department in a variety of careers will be available to speak with students in small groups to make connections and answer individual questions. This is a great way to get to know people who are doing the jobs you want to do in a few years and to learn more about career paths in many fields, especially related to government, policy, humanitarianism, and media!

Pi Sigma Alpha Returns to the Department of Politics

Starting this semester, top students in the Department of Politics again will have the opportunity to join the Pi Sigma Alpha honor society. Membership in Pi Sigma Alpha is an acknowledgment of outstanding academic performance in the department within the Foreign Affairs and Government majors, and at the University more generally. The honor society connects students to a network of serious scholars in the field as well as political science alumni.

Professor James Todd, a member at UVA during the early 80s says "Pi Sigma Alpha, which was founded 98 years ago, is a national honorary for students who excel in political science courses. In addition to recognizing their academic achievements, it provides them with opportunities to interact with faculty outside the classroom."

Without a sponsor, the department's involvement with the society fell by the wayside during the 90s. Until now. Professor Allen Lynch is stepping up to provide direction and management. Professor Lynch says "the national network of scholars and alumni can be useful to students and give them access to APSA events and publishing opportunities. The benefits continue after graduation throughout their lives."

In addition to Pi Sigma Alpha, the department has advanced opportunities for scholarship through its Distinguished Majors Program, currently helmed by Professor Pete Furia, the Honors Program by Professor Sid Milkis, Political Philosophy, Policy and Law, by Professor Colin Bird, and the Political and Social Thought program, by Professor Michael J. Smith.

The department will hold its (re)inaugural ceremony at the end of April or early May.

Professor Stephen K. White’s Farewell

The faculty and staff of the Department of Politics celebrated Professor Stephen White's distinguished career on Friday, January 26. Speakers included John Owen—Chair, Paul Freedman—Associate Chair, and Professor White's peers in department's political theory subfield, Lawrie Balfour, Colin Bird, George Klosko, and Jennifer Rubenstein.

The department is pleased to announce that the Virginia Senate introduced a bill commending Professor White. The bill was drafted by a former student of Professor White's, graduate alum Ross Mittiga, now Assistant Professor at Instituto de Ciencia Política, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The bill was introduced in the Virginia Senate by Senator Creigh Deeds and and in the Virginia House by Delegates Steven Landes and David Toscano. The  bill is Senate Joint Resolution No. 316.

The event was held in the Dome Room at the Rotunda.

We are honored to have worked with Professor White.

Read his students' remarks here.