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Home > Senior Earns Prestigious Graduate Fellowship to Georgetown

Senior Earns Prestigious Graduate Fellowship to Georgetown

March 23rd, 2010

By Sarah Pride and David Halbrook

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

Rachel Blum, PHC senior in the Government: Political Theory track and recipient of graduate fellowship to Georgetown University

When senior Rachel Blum was eight years old, she matter-of-factly informed her mother that she wanted to earn a Master’s degree or higher because, “everyone earns a Bachelor's degree.” When she walks across the stage to receive her Patrick Henry College diploma this May, Blum will move a step closer toward achieving that goal. Blum has been offered a prestigious Earhart Fellowship to attend Georgetown University, which includes most of her tuition and a $16,000 stipend, allowing her to pursue graduate studies in political theory.

As a measure of her exceptional qualifications, Blum also received an excellent offer from Catholic University in D.C. But, Georgetown being her first choice, she will matriculate to the high profile campus in northwest D.C. and study under Dr. Patrick Deneen.

A Government: Political Theory major, Blum first met Dr. Deneen during her year as an Honors Fellow with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. During that season of penetrating seminars, exhilarating books, and cutting-edge mentoring by conservative professors from across the continent, Blum began researching graduate programs. She found three schools that taught political theory in the way that she would like to teach her own college classes one day.

“Very few graduate programs study political theory as simply the history of ideas, without an ideological slant,” notes Blum.

Awaiting the results of her grad school applications, Blum nervously checked her mail three times a day, continually refreshing online application websites for updates. Finally, while dining out one evening, her phone rang with good news from Catholic University. With that first acceptance and excellent offer in hand, Blum waited to hear from Georgetown. Again, the news was positive. Blum now becomes the first political theory major from PHC to attend Georgetown University.

“This puts a good foot in the door for future PHC students,” she says.

Moving toward graduation with a deep appreciation of the education she received at PHC, especially the instruction given by Dr. Mark Mitchell, head of the Political Theory track, Blum recalls precisely what drew her to the College in the first place: “PHC had a cleaner feel to it, aesthetically, than other colleges,” she explains.

She also arrived at PHC with scholarship in hand, earned from her high school success in public speaking. Blum won a national high school NCFCA debate championship during one year of high school, and earned second place in another. At PHC, she participated in many extracurricular activities, including debate and student government. In her spare time, Blum became engaged to high-achieving PHC senior Jordan Spencer, himself a scholarship recipient.

Summing up political theory as the broad “study of man and society," Blum notes that, “when a lot of people study politics, they do the very important thing of learning what happens now. But it’s hard to make good judgments about the present state of the world without knowing the underlying principles that make it work.”

Though she doesn’t know for sure where her educational aspirations will lead -- she is looking toward eventually earning a Ph.D. -- Blum confides that she would like one day to teach and conduct seminars on the academic specialties for which she has, in her time at PHC, developed a fierce intellectual passion.