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February 20, 2018 | Spotlight

Beyond the Classroom: An introduction to my semester at the Institute

Beyond the Classroom: An introduction to my semester at the Institute

Writer: Varad Dabke

How do you explain the value of public service? This is the framing question I will explore as an intern in the Office of Communications at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Throughout this semester, I will research and discuss special projects handled by the various branches of the Institute. Just to hint at a few: these projects can include anything from on-campus lectures to statewide initiatives in security and economic development.

Over the next few months I hope to apply a lens—a student’s perspective—to the intricacies of state and local government. In addition to reporting on the current projects I hear about, the idea is to take concepts I’ve learned in class and illustrate how they are dealt with and applied beyond the classroom.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in understanding the value of public service is in realizing how it bridges the gap from abstract theory to real-world impact. Just within my first week at the Institute, I have already found a diverse set of new initiatives taken by the University of Georgia and the Institute to better serve state and local governments.

As a student, it’s only natural to overlook the broader missions established by UGA while still adjusting to the new challenges of college life. That’s why programs like the Public Service and Outreach Student Scholars fellowship (through the UGA Office of Service-Learning) go a long way in helping students get involved in important work happening in our eight Public Service and Outreach units. In my upcoming blogs, I’ll illustrate some of these real-world impacts through conversation, observation, and analysis of public service at the Institute of Government. 

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Varad Dabke is a third-year English and international affairs major from Columbus. He is the public and alumni relations chair for the UGA Undergraduate Mock Trial program and serves as an expert witness in simulated trial competitions. Varad also was selected for a faculty-sponsored research assistantship with the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. After graduation, Varad hopes to pursue a career in the legal field.