As a legislative correspondent to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Courtney Bradway ’15 ’16 has had plenty of “pinch me” moments since going to work in the Capitol. She’s seen Sen. Bernie Sanders in the congressional cafeteria and President Trump in a back hallway.
“I said, ‘Holy cow, this is awesome,’” she said. “That’s one thing that never gets old. I really do feel blessed to work here.”
Bradway graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science–pre-professional legal studies and a master’s degree in political science with a concentration in American government.
In talking with other students about their college experiences, Bradway said that she realizes how well Appalachian’s Department of Government and Justice Studies prepared her for her work on the Hill.
“It’s a very integrative model of teaching that makes everything so much more real,” she said. “It’s one thing to learn about something in the classroom and another thing to come to Washington D.C. and meet with Sen. Burr’s legislative director and talk about finance policy.”
While taking part in the department’s Washington at Work course, which combines studying the people and institutions of the nation’s capital with an exploration of the city, Bradway made crucial connections. She met people who worked for senators, think tanks and lobbying firms, some of whom she’s still in touch with.
In graduate school, she went to the 2016 Iowa Caucuses as part of an Appalachian course called the Iowa Project. There she realized she enjoyed politics and studying policy issues. That insight provided her with a clear path to take after graduation, she said.
She came to Washington as a legislative intern and has worked as a staff assistant and legislative correspondent for two U.S. Representatives before joining Sen. Corker’s staff.
She counts Dr. Ellen Key, an assistant professor of political science, as a valuable mentor. Bradway completed her graduate assistantship with Key, she said, and Key advised her on her undergraduate thesis about the Supreme Court and criminal procedure cases.
During her graduate program, Bradway worked with Dr. Paul Gronke, then the Daniel B. German Endowed Visiting Professor of Political Science, and another student on a research project exploring the topic of legislative polarization.
“The writing and research I did in graduate school has really prepared me for work on the Hill,” she said. “Ninety percent of my job is writing and data. Every piece of legislation has some sort of data. It’s nice to know that I can understand that data so when the senator or senior policy adviser has a question, I can provide answers.”
About the Department of Government and Justice Studies
Appalachian State University’s Department of Government and Justice Studies offers undergraduate programs in political science and criminal justice, and graduate programs in political science and public administration. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the department has over 600 undergraduate majors and more than 70 graduate students. Learn more at https://gjs.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.