WASHINGTON – Politics and lessons from lectures came to life for Barton senior Kyle Wrightenberry during his summer break as he interned in the office of Third District U.S. Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC), a 1968 Atlantic Christian/Barton College graduate.
Working as a patient-care advocate for a home medical equipment company, Wrightenberry traveled to Washington, to meet with a number of senators and representatives to discuss his concerns for the patients.
“I met Congressman Walter Jones, and he really made an impression on me. He really cared about what I had to say. He cared about people in his district,” Wrightenberry said.
Wrightenberry applied for an internship in Rep. Jones’ office and was accepted. During the four weeks of the internship, he served in the congressman’s office answering phones, greeting visitors, and giving tours.
He also attended hearings including a round-table discussion on national health insurance. Attending this meeting with Rep. Jones, Wrightenberry was given the opportunity to address those present and share his concerns as a patient-care advocate.
Wrightenberry experienced more of the political process as he performed research work regarding the stop-loss policy in the military.
“Stop-loss is basically a back-door draft,” he said.
According to Wrightenberry, the policy extends the service period of military personnel who have already served their contracts.
Wrightenberry explained, “What we’re trying to do is actually limit the president’s powers on stop-loss. Stop-loss can only be issued in a national emergency or time of war; and we’re trying to draft a bill that limits the president’s power, that makes Congress have the final say on whether there should be a stop-loss policy implemented or not.”
Wrightenberry, a political science and business management double major, said, “In college, I really developed an interest in politics.”
In fact, he hopes one day to become a congressman himself: “I want to be different, and I want to bring the concerns of my district to Congress.”
When asked how Barton prepared him for the internship and his future beyond that, Wrightenberry said, “I have to give a lot of credit to Barton College. They provided me, of course, with the education I’ve needed and great teachers.”
He also found Barton’s size to be a positive factor in his educational experience: “The thing about Barton College is you can really interact with your professors.”
Commenting further on Barton, Wrightenberry said, “I think it really gives students the opportunity to succeed because it’s a private school, and you can get more stuff done in those smaller classes.”
Clubs and organizations also enriched his college experience. In addition to being a double major, Wrightenberry served as president of Campus Conservatives, participated in Greek life, and worked as a student manager for campus food services. And, he did all of this while maintaining a 3.4 GPA.
Summarizing his experience at Barton, Wrightenberry said, “I’m ready for grad school. I’ve made connections for life. It’s been an amazing experience!”
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