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

2015 First-Year Fellow: James Fair '18

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At the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), I learned what it means to be part of a large, multi-faceted organization united by a single goal and committed to cogent policy-making. I was lucky enough to work with the three major components of CRFB and its sister organization, Fix The Debt (FTD).  FTD mainly reaches out to candidates and increases the saliency of the federal debt early on in the 2016 presidential election cycle. I also worked with the legislative office, where I learned the importance of reaching out to Congress to educate them on our nation’s fiscal future. The third part of my internship, where I also spent the most time, was working with our “policy cube” on the papers and ideas that offer fodder to our fiscal think tank.   

Riley Collins '18 (left), Julia Decerega '18 (second from left) and James Fair '18 (right) visiting the office of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).

The most significant thing I learned this summer was that a successful career is not necessarily something that can be charted from the beginning in a straightforward path. While certain actions like an attaining undergraduate degree or an networking can set you on the right path, nobody I talked to in DC could have imagined the precise path that brought them to their dream job. In fact, it is often an unpredictable, circuitous path of factors both within and out of our control. Especially in DC’s culture of ever-shifting jobs and carefully-maintained relationships, the common denominator I saw in alums I met was a willingness to work hard, and passionately.
-Written by James Fair '18
This series introduces the 2015 First-Year Fellows. Each fellow reflects on his or her experience in Washington DC as a First-Year Fellow working with a mentor in public policy. 

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