2006 Institute on Business and Government Affairs alumnus Bryan Wood always had a deep appreciation for politics. Through his TFAS internship at the Aerospace Industries Association, Wood was allowed to regularly attend hearings and markups on Capitol Hill. While a lot of people are fascinated with the status that comes with being a member of Congress, seeing the multitude of Hill staff run around behind the scenes and firing back answers to tough questions in briefings is what piqued Wood’s interest.
Six years later, Wood is the senior policy advisor for Rep. Robert Hurt (Va.). He has been working on the Hill since graduating from the University of Virginia in 2007. Wood worked in the offices of both Rep Virgil Goode (Va.) and Rep Brett Guthrie (Ky.) before landing his current role with Hurt.
“The great part of the IBGA course curriculum is that it provides students with great practical knowledge for the public policy debates that face our nation,” said Wood, who firmly believes that an understanding of the functions of government and its ever-evolving relationship with business is essential in order to serve as an effective leader.
With classes focusing on the application of free-market economic principles and offering spirited debates on major policy initiatives that were moving through Congress, I had the opportunity to better understand the founding principles, and as a result, my core belief in them was strengthened,” said Wood.
This past year, Wood was selected to participate in the TFAS Leadership Fellows Program, a yearlong educational fellowship comprised of networking events, academic discussions and professional development sessions.
“I firmly believe that the Leadership Fellows program is the pinnacle of the many opportunities that TFAS provides to alumni.”
Through this program Wood listened to guest speakers, traveled to Civil War battlefields, dove into Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and analyzed the 2010 mid-term elections. However, of all the aspects of the program, Wood said the highlight for him was building personal and professional relationships with the other participants.
Wood continues his involvement with TFAS by serving as a student mentor. The program allows TFAS students to interact with the professional community in Washington, many of whom are TFAS alumni themselves. Wood plans to continue mentoring TFAS students in years to come to help guide them as they start their careers.
The commitment TFAS has to its alumni, especially in making its network of students, alumni and friends available impresses Wood. At a recent gathering of TFAS alumni on Capitol Hill, Wood said he was surprised to see the number of people in attendance and was particularly floored to find former coworkers that he didn’t even realize were TFAS alumni at the event.
“At its heart, Washington is a small town, and I’ve learned that TFAS has very deep roots here,” Wood said of the experience.
Wood lives in Washington, D.C. and is committed to the values of The Fund for American Studies and continues to be an active advocate for all that TFAS represents.