Cory is one of only two students nationwide to earn a full scholarship to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute’s Leadership and the American Presidency (LATP) program.
Cory Ott, a psychology major from Bordentown, N.J., expects to graduate in May 2018. He is one of two students nationwide to earn a full scholarship to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute’s Leadership and the American Presidency (LATP) program for Fall 2017, and he has spent the fall 2017 semester in Washington, D.C., learning from leaders in the fields of business, government, and nonprofit sectors.
Cory says that his philosophy is simple: "I want to make a difference in the world, and I am striving towards that goal one day at a time. During my three years at Stevenson University, I have been on the executive board of the Student Government Association, Co-Lead for Relay For Life, a Peer Educator for the Wellness Center, a Resident Assistant for Residence Life, and a Mission: I’m Home student leader. All of those roles have taught me valuable lessons about leadership and what it means to work toward a goal."
Cory calls his current internship at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics "a truly life-changing experience," noting that he has learned a great deal from his peers and mentors in the program. "I am getting a firsthand experience of what it is like to work for the government."
The path to his internship started in early 2017 when Cory was named Stevenson University’s Newman Civic Fellow, a community service fellowship through Campus Compact. While a Fellow, he was given the opportunity to apply for The Fund for American Studies Program in Washington D.C. Cory was awarded a full scholarship from The Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute worth $13,000 to live, intern, and take classes in Washington D.C.
"Today, I intern for the Office of Government Ethics during the day and take 12 credits worth of classes at George Mason University in Arlington, Va. at night for the fall semester," he explains. "The students in the program also participate in special events such as briefings with members of Congress, exclusive conferences, and workshops on professionalism."
Among some of the many benefits the internship has provided has been learning how to look critically at research. “One of the projects I am working on is providing content analysis of peer-reviewed articles on ethical behaviorism for trainings given to government employees. Also, as an intern, I am able to sit in on international briefings where ethics officials from other countries visit the United States and ask questions to learn about our ethics system.”
He says that there is no such thing as a typical day at work. "I help multiple departments with projects, which includes reading research, finding trends in questionnaires that were sent to ethics officials, and giving a presentation on quarterly accomplishments to the entire office. I have also been given the opportunity to observe congressional hearings, read and reply to mail sent in by citizens, and take notes during meetings throughout the day."
Overall, Cory credits Stevenson University with for this extraordinary experience. "I gained the opportunity to become a Newman Civic Leadership Fellow through Stevenson University, which led me to this internship in Washington D.C. I am positive I would not be here now if it was not for the support and opportunities from the people at Stevenson."
Cory now works as Program Manager at Generation Vote.