Associate degree at BGSU Firelands leads to internship in U.S. Senator’s office

By Bob Cunningham

Brent Lander’s decision to stay close to home to begin college has had a profound effect on his career aspirations, and even opened a door to politics in Washington, D.C.

Lander, who lives in Sandusky, Ohio, decided to continue on at BGSU Firelands after accumulating 19 credit hours from College Credit Plus at the Huron campus during his senior year at Margaretta High School.  

He is graduating May 5 with an associate degree in political science and a minor in finance during BGSU Firelands’ May 5 commencement. He will pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science at the Bowling Green campus starting in the fall.

Originally, he planned to be a business major, but changed his mind during the 2016 presidential election when he was inspired to serve the public good. 

“I was able to meet some interesting people during the 2016 presidential election like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Gov. John Kasich, among others,” said Lander, who attended three rallies in Cleveland leading up to the election. “I saw the impact that they could have on the world and the changes they could make to make it a better place. I don’t know if I would ever want to be in their place as an elected official, but I knew from hearing them that I wanted to change my path to public service and to be like them.”   

“I saw the impact that they could have on the world and the changes they could make to make it a better place. I don’t know if I would ever want to be in their place as an elected official, but I knew from hearing them that I wanted to change my path to public service and to be like them.” 

Lander decided to take a political science class taught by Dr. Stephanie Walls, an associate professor of political science at Firelands, as a test to see if he really wanted to change his major.  

“The first class affirmed that I was making the right decision,” he said. “I really enjoyed the class and all the other subsequent classes I took of hers. I’m taking a few online classes at the Bowling Green campus and I can tell they are just as good.”  

After graduation, Lander will begin a summer internship in mid-May, working in the office of Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) in Washington.  

“I’m really hoping that down the road this experience will open doors for me,” Lander said. “I think I would like to work for an elected official, be a member of their staff, be a legislative assistant or something of that sort. I hope I will learn a lot from this internship and it will give me even more direction for my future career.”  

Lander chose to attend BGSU Firelands because it was affordable, close to home and he could get a great head start on earning his bachelor’s degree.  

“I can honestly say I have enjoyed each one of my classes,” he said. “The only reason for that is I have had great professors. It was nice because the classes were smaller in size, so a lot of times it felt like a discussion instead of a lecture. I feel like I’ve gotten a great education so far.

“I really enjoyed the versatility of Firelands because it gave me the chance to maintain my current job at Cedar Point in the cash control department. That kind of flexibility works for a lot of students at Firelands.”   

Lander is confident the transition to the Bowling Green campus will be a smooth one.  

“It seems like it’s the same environment,” he said. “The teachers care and they’re there to help you if you need additional assistance. That’s what I experienced at Firelands, and I am sure it will be the same case at Bowling Green.”