The Honors Community
- Richmond, Va.
Rodrick Brooks has always envisioned a life in politics, but it wasn’t until an experience at Virginia Commonwealth University that he realized all of the options that existed in the field.
During his sophomore year, Brooks, an honors student majoring in economics, decided to enroll in Virginia Capital Semester, a combined state government internship and policy-making seminar offered by VCU.
He spent the semester with Albert Pollard, delegate for Virginia’s 99th District in the Northern Neck, researching past and present legislation, evaluating how existing laws interact with proposed legislation, and communicating with constituents.
“I got to sit in on a lot of committee meetings and meet a lot of high-level government officials,” Brooks said. “I got a first-person impression of how the General Assembly works.”
Virginia Capital Semester also gave Brooks a chance to apply his classroom experiences in The Honors College to real-life situations. The skills he learned in his rhetoric and Philosophy of Science courses were especially beneficial when Brooks had to write a bill as part of the program’s policy-making component.
“Prior to the rhetoric class I hadn’t done any real research,” he said. “Now I realize I definitely enjoy it. And the philosophy class helped my critical thinking and taught me to make better arguments.”
Brooks has a long-standing interest in government and plans to enroll in law school after graduating from VCU. He planned to get involved with politics, as a lobbyist, policy expert or adviser to an executive or legislator, but his experience in Capital Semester led him to explore career options he hadn’t previously considered.
“When I met the commonwealth’s attorney for the city of Richmond, he told me I should consider running for office because we need people out there with good ideas,” he said. “I also hadn’t really thought about venturing into state government, but now I see all of the opportunities that state government could give me.”
“Now I see all of the opportunities that state government could give me.”