Hampstead man to serve internship in British, European politics

December 29, 1993|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

William P. "Skip" Gibson was trying on names.

"Senator Gibson? President Gibson?" The names brought a smile to his youthful face.

The 20-year-old son of William B. and Patricia A. Gibson of Hampstead is in his junior year at Washington College in Chestertown. He really hasn't made up his mind yet what he wants to do with his major in international studies.

He hopes the next nine months will help him decide.

Next week, Mr. Gibson leaves for London, where he will spend 12 weeks studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, as part of the Hansard Scholars Programme.

The Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government sponsors the program, which offers parliamentary and public policy internships in London. Students can work for a Member of Parliament, an official in the European Economic Community, or a British political party or other economic or political organization.

"I've always felt that to get into a decent graduate school, job or whatever, I have to do more than just academics," Mr. Gibson said. "Somewhere in there I need to make myself different from everybody else."

The Hansard Scholars Programme appealed to him because it would give him the chance to work directly with a foreign government and learn firsthand how it works in a short time.

Originally Mr. Gibson had hoped to be an assistant to Gweneth Dunwoody, a Labor Party member of the House of Commons, who frequently takes student interns.

"But when I contacted her by letter, she called me at my dorm at college and said she'd love to have me, but was full and couldn't take any more interns," he said.

Until Mr. Gibson gets to London and has his internship interviews, he doesn't know where he will intern.

"They could put me with another Member of Parliament or in the European Economic Community -- a conglomeration of European countries working together to get rid of tariffs and establish universal money for those countries," Mr. Gibson said.

During the internship, he would probably do research "or something they can really use, not just be a busybody," he said.

In addition to the internship, he will take two classes, "Politics and Public Policy" and "Politics and Parliament," at the University of London.

"The internship and classes will be split," he said. "A lot of what I do will depend on how much responsibility I have with the person I'm working with."

Besides the studies, he will have opportunities to experience the British capital's history and culture.

When the British semester ends, Mr. Gibson plans to stay an extra month to see more of Great Britain, including Wales and Scotland, where he wants to research his mixed ancestry. He may also visit France.

"I'd like to find a summer job in France," he said. "I took French in high school and am taking it again at college. A foreign language is part of the international studies requirement."

But the French job may have to wait if an internship with the U.S. State Department, for which he has applied, materializes.

"I've applied to four departments in the State Department for a summer internship," he said. "That will probably be in Washington or a foreign embassy."

He expects the internships and foreign language to help in whatever career field he finally chooses. International studies also requires economics, political science classes and international classes on the government and politics of other countries.

"I'm interested in politics and government," he said. "With international studies I could go to law school, go into law enforcement, go to graduate school and specialize in one area of the world and work in the State Department."

Immediate plans call for a 1995 graduation from Washington College with a bachelor's degree in international studies and a minor in economics.

Whatever he does after that, Mr. Gibson is ambitious to climb the ladder to the top.

An honor student through high school at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville, and college, he is attending Washington College on a scholarship.

He also was just accepted into the Society of Junior Fellows at the college, an honor organization.

"After graduation hopefully I will know more what I want to do," he said. "For now I'm going to have fun."

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