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Student Spotlight: Thomas Lambert
Lambert pictured with Sputnik
School: Seaver College
Major: Political Science
Career Goal: To work in public service or Constitutional law
Hometown: Fairfield, Connecticut
Unique Interests: The Boston Red Sox, classic rock bands, and Guitar Hero
Thomas Lambert approaches life with a pen in hand and politics in mind. The Seaver College sophomore contributes articles and op-eds to the Connecticut Post and recently completed a semester in Pepperdine’s Washington, D.C. internship program. There he worked for his home-state Representative Christopher Shays and learned a few things about life in the Beltway. Before heading off to his next adventure (a semester in Pepperdine’s London program), Lambert took some time to describe how his time in Washington impacted his life, and how he's taking the reins in his education.
Tell us about your experience in the Washington, D.C. internship program.
I was fortunate to work for an amazing Congressman who represents my home district. Every day I saw him pour his heart and soul into his job to best represent the people of our district. It was really important for me, personally, considering the people I was working to help are my neighbors and friends.
In my internship, I had significant interaction with people from my community. No one realizes his duty to that community more than Congressman Shays, it seems to me. He squeezes the most out of every moment of his day for the benefit of his constituents. I’m really in awe of him and what he does.
It sounds like you had a great experience in your congressional office. What are your impressions of Washington, D.C.?
Before I got to Washington, there were aspects I liked and disliked about the city. After being there for a semester, that is still the case. Perhaps what I found most disappointing is how bureaucracy and politics create a divisive climate. Power can bring out the best and the worst in people, and that’s a lesson I intend on remembering for the rest of my life.
But Washington can be about so much more than politics. Not only is it the center of the political world, but major corporations, learning institutions, and non-government organizations all have an essential role in the make-up of the city. Washington is an incredibly active city that houses a tremendous potential for the achievement of so much good.
In my Pepperdine group, there were interns working for TV networks, the One Campaign, and communication firms. The spectrum of opportunity is so vast, it’s impossible not to find a niche there.
In addition to politics, you've found your niche as a writer for the Connecticut Post. How did your work in that field begin?
There is no doubt in my mind that I inherited my writing addiction from my mother. She worked as the assistant managing editor of the Connecticut Post and is now a journalism professor. She first got me involved in the Post’s teen publication program. The next thing I knew I was interning in the Post’s editorial desk, sitting in on editorial board meetings with local politicians, and asking questions of distinguished public servants.
Then I started writing featured columns about my life as a high school student and, later, college, as well as opinion columns about my views on political issues. I know I’m incredibly blessed to have these opportunities and I constantly look for ways to use them to reach my fullest potential and to inform my peers.
You obviously care a lot about politics. What do you say to your peers who don’t?
I’m of the belief that no one has to like or even care about politics because, ultimately, it is a free country. But, I like to say, don’t expect to be disconnected from politics and then be happy with the results because, like it or not, politics run everything!
The laws of this country affect every aspect of our lives to varying degrees, and when citizens become politically conscious, they can understand just how to make our laws work better for us.
You'll learn about the laws of a different country in your next stop: London. What motivates you to spend a semester there?
College to me wasn’t ever about spending four years on one plot of land in Malibu, or anywhere else for that matter. College is about perspective. It’s about learning. And, ultimately, it is about creating more opportunities for later on in life.
For me, the best way to accomplish these goals was to make the most of what Pepperdine has to offer, both on campus and around the world. The D.C. program helped me understand my major beyond the textbook. I am hoping that London will give me a greater perspective of how our world functions. I hope the London experience strengthens my understanding of politics, and also helps me get perspective on my own life.
I won’t say that I don’t miss Malibu. I had an incredible group of friends last year from my dorm, Peppers Hall, who are now spread across the globe. I look forward to returning junior year and seeing everybody again and continuing to have more fun and learning about each other's experiences.
Reporting by Lyric Hassler