Chance Kennicutt came to Nebraska Wesleyan intending to major in business. He thought law school might be in his future but wasn’t certain. But a class taught in an Old Main classroom became his window to the world.
He vividly recalls his first semester when he was enrolled in Kelly Bauer’s comparative politics class.
“Dr. Bauer’s course opened my eyes to a whole new world,” he fondly remembers.
That same semester he learned about Nebraska Wesleyan’s Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP) and amble study abroad opportunities. He declared a major in political science and was ready to fill his Nebraska Wesleyan career with countless worldly experiences.
In August 2017, Kennicutt was awarded a prestigious Gilman Scholarship that sent him to Poland for a semester to attend the University of Wroclaw. There he studied the country’s political shifts.
“There have been a number of experiences at Nebraska Wesleyan that I’ve learned from and, as cliché as this might sound, study abroad has to be one of the most important experiences for me,” said the senior from Sutherland, Neb. “I learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined.”
Kennicutt has spent his final semester at NWU in Washington, D.C. participating in CHIP and interning at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).
“I knew when I started at NWU that I would find a way to participate in CHIP, it was just a matter of when,” he said.
Kennicutt credits his experience in Poland to landing him an internship with CEPA where he assists with event planning, creative briefs and policy analysis. The organization focuses on Central and Eastern European issues, specifically the role of NATO and countering Russian meddling in the region.
His internship provided him the opportunity to participate in a ministerial forum that included eight foreign ministers from Central and Eastern Europe along with Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio.
At one point during the forum anti-NATO protestors stormed the building lobby. Of his experience with CHIP, he says, “It has taught me new analytic and academic skills, sure, but it has also taught me to be adaptive in uncertain situations such as that while keeping a professional demeanor.”
Kennicutt’s worldly experiences won’t stop on May 11 when he crosses the stage at Commencement. Thanks to the prestigious Boren Scholarship, he will spend seven months in Riga, Latvia at the Baltic Center where he will study Russian. The selective Boren Scholarship provides students up to $20,000 to acquire language skills and experiences in countries critical to the future of security and stability in the U.S.
That aligns well with his career aspirations. Kennicutt’s goal is to work in the national security arena for the United States.
Kennicutt has also been accepted into the London School of Economics (LSE) Master’s Program in Public Policy and Administration — considered to be one of the most competitive master’s degree programs in political science. He’ll enroll there after he returns from Latvia. He credits his professors for encouraging him to apply to the prestigious program.
“Chance is intelligent, dedicated, hardworking, and a genuine pleasure to be around,” said political science professor Kelly Clancy. “He has an enormous intellectual curiosity.”
“I’m incredibly humbled and excited to attend LSE,” said Kennicutt. “The odds of admission were beyond ridiculous, but I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t get there on my own, and a huge reason for that stems from the support given to me by my friends, family, and professors at NWU.”
—Story by Kelsea Porter, public relations intern.