By Sarah Pride
Patrick Henry College
Kenny Ly, PHC senior
One of the first days of his internship, which coincided with the Republican energy protest of August and September, Ly wrangled his way down to the floor of the House with a slew of other visiting observers to get an up-close view of the speeches. When the news about the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hit national headlines a few days later, Ly helped field the close to 400 emails that flooded Pence’s office.
“I became really familiar with all the issues going on at the time, all the details of the bailout,” says Ly, a senior at Patrick Henry College in Government: American Politics & Policy. “Because of the people calling in, I heard all the concerns and conspiracy theories. I was much more up to date on current events, working in the House.”
Congressman Mike Pence first impressed Ly at a meeting for PHC Chancellor Mike Farris’s ‘Tyndale’s Ploughmen’ mentorship group, of which Ly is a member. Recognizing Pence’s deep Christian faith, Ly also noticed that he was “very well-read, very intelligent.”
Explains Ly, “[Congressman Pence] was talking about the importance of treasuring our nation’s heritage, and he quoted Edmund Burke on the French Revolution: ‘Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposing beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.’ That’s not the normal Burke quote you hear.”
When it came time to apply for his senior-year internship, Ly applied only to Pence’s office. Having looked him up on the Internet, Ly sent an application, and then called the office a few times to follow up. After he was awarded the position, his supervisor told him, “Yeah, you were that annoying kid who really wanted an internship.”
Altogether, Ly was encouraged to find just how well PHC had prepared him for the rest of life. “I hadn’t realized how few other people know how to write,” he marveled, citing “the sheer caliber of the conversations that go on at PHC.”
As his graduation in May quickly approaches, Ly says that he would enjoy applying to Congressman Pence’s office for an actual job—or possibly to another job on Capitol Hill, with a recommendation letter in hand. If not, he says he would be fulfilled, as well, returning to his church in China where he has spent recent summers working with the youth group, or sticking close to the College for one final assignment.
“I could apply for Resident Director at PHC and keep my sister Tia company for her last year,” he grins.
No matter his post-graduation decision, this past semester—as with his many-faceted undergraduate years at PHC—has given Kenny Ly a rich taste of history in the making.