An LVC Senior’s Political Pursuits

Lebanon Valley College student Ryan Dennehy

Ryan Dennehy’s ’22 interest in political science began in high school thanks to the rhetoric of his AP Government teacher. After enrolling at LVC, Dennehy started as an applied history major with hopes of becoming a high school teacher in the subject.

“After my first semester, I decided to drop the education component (of the major) and filled my schedule with political science courses,” Dennehy said. “I began to develop a fascination in public policy, and in the fall of my junior year, I declared political science my second major after a course on international relations with Dr. Chris Dolan [professor of political science].”

Dennehy foresaw political science as a promising career avenue and completed an internship at the Pennsylvania State House Archive, which helped him complete graduation requirements and provided beneficial professional experience. 

“They throw interns into the mix as real team members,” Dennehy said. “I processed donated papers and objects from former representatives, performed biographical research, and fulfilled various requests from caucuses, legislators, and staffers.”

At the same time Dennehy worked as an intern in the House, he took a course with Dr. Michael Schroeder, professor of history, on public history.

“The two experiences complemented each other excellently,” Dennehy said. “I got to experience government from a unique perspective, filling in some of the practical gaps and answering some of the questions I developed while studying politics.”

Dennehy also served as a member of LVC’s Student Government, learning how to advocate for the population he represents and coming to understand how policies govern his life and the lives of his fellow students.

Alongside his practical experiences, Dennehy has also relished interacting with other professors, too. Thanks to guidance from Dr. Will Delavan, associate professor of economics, Dr. Philip Benesch, chair of social sciences and associate professor of political science, and Dolan, he has completed research that has shaped his collegiate career and charted his path beyond LVC.

“This spring, I defended my proposed honors thesis to my committee,” Dennehy said. “It represented the culmination of two semesters of research into poverty economics, alleviation, and welfare policy. I also presented my findings at Inquiry.”

In the fall, Dennehy will enter the Political Science Ph.D. Program at the University of South Carolina. He plans to study public policy and administration.

“Afterward, I hope to gain a policy researcher or advisor position,” Dennehy said. “I am open to any work through which I may best serve my nation and community, preferably in the public sector.”

 

-- Josh Hildebrand, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant