Alumnus Tommy Wrenn became interested in politics during the 2008 election when he saw political science as a path to understand “how it all works”: how decisions are made, how the public can influence decisions and how to participate in the decision making, especially surrounding issues he cared about.
“I chose the Political Science (BA) program because I knew it would let me investigate these questions in a variety of ways,” Wrenn said. “I had a lot of flexibility within the major to try out different types of political science courses, and to explore communication and sociology courses.”
During his time at Appalachian, Wrenn was involved in the Student Government Association, LGBT Center and Red Flag Campaign. He said that his participation prepared him for his career – teaching him how to educate voters about difficult issues, how to handle the logistics of events and meetings and how to network.
Wrenn had a taste of the inner circle of political life in Washington, D.C., when he spent a summer interning for The White House, working in the Visitor’s Office managing tours and events.
“The previous summer I interned with a non-profit lobbying group, so while I was in the Washington mix I wasn’t ‘inside,’” Wrenn said. “(Interning in D.C.) taught me a great deal about the many ways that the more social aspects of a place like The White House play into politics.”
After graduation, Wrenn worked as a Young Fellow for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a lobbying group for Quakers in the U.S. As a fellow, Wrenn developed and led a program that teaches young adults to engage in constituent lobbying for peace and justice. This included a conference that brought 300 college students to lobby Congress for action on climate change.
Now, Wrenn is starting a new role with The Nexus Fund, a foundation focused on preventing mass atrocities around the world.
In this role, Wrenn serves as the assistant to the executive director, providing support for programs across the organization and organizing international conferences on hate speech.
Even though he is taking the world by storm, Wrenn still finds time to come back up the mountain.
“It’s hard to stay away,” Wrenn said. “I have many great mentors (at Appalachian) who have been so helpful as I’ve been through job searches and faced the challenges of building new networks.”
Tommy Wrenn ’14 was involved in the Student Government Association, LGBT Center and Red Flag Campaign – all of which, he says, prepared him for his career.