The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Bethany Burns '20

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As a Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow, Bethany Burns ’20 interns at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) under the mentorship of Cathy Solomon ’81.

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As a Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow, Bethany Burns ’20 interns at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB).

Bethany Burns '20 graduated from Signal Mountain High School, located in a suburb of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was the class of 2016 Valedictorian, a National Merit Finalist and a six-time Carson Scholar. She holds an International Baccalaureate Diploma and was an AP Scholar. Bethany served as the Tennessee State President of the Technology Student Association and is a seven-time national champion in events ranging from public speaking to multimedia challenge. She also served as the Senate Pro Tempore for the Tennessee Youth in Government program. In addition to her academic endeavors, she was the captain of the two-time state championship golf team and was named First Runner-Up in the Tennessee Distinguished Young Woman Scholarship program.

At Dartmouth, Bethany plans to pursue a major in Computer Science with a minor in Economics. In addition, she is a member of the Dartmouth Women's Varsity Golf team.

As a First-Year Fellow, Bethany interned at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) under the mentorship of Cathy Solomon ’81. As one of four interns in an office with a staff of fifteen, Bethany had the opportunity to work with each component of the organization and nearly every employee in the office. During her fellowship, she was assigned a multitude of different projects and tasks ranging in size. Smaller tasks consisted of posting op-eds and other publications on the CRFB website, fact-checking reports for accurate numbers, updating spreadsheets with new information, and editing blogs.

One of Bethany’s main projects allowed her to develop her coding abilities. “When the Social Security Administration Trustee’s Report came out in July, I was tasked with updating the online tool that allows users to see how old they will be when the Social Security trust funds run out. This required preparation in the days leading up to the report, including becoming familiar with the code for the tool. Once the report was released, I worked on a spreadsheet for the data then updated the tool appropriately.”

According to Bethany, “The most rewarding part of the experience was feeling that I had made a difference in Washington. Even though my work might have seemed small in the grand scheme of things, I felt that the work I was doing was important and impactful.”

After graduation, Bethany plans to attend law school specializing in legislative policies in the area of fiscal responsibility.

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