Piklapp’s sense of poitics influenced by the pros

Piklapps sense of poitics influenced by the pros

by Kate Paulman

One Simpson student has found a way to live out his dreams, and it doesn’t involve being a millionaire or slacking off.

Junior Garrett Piklapp is an intern at the Office of the Public Liaison in the White House. This opportunity came through his membership with the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

“I came here wanting to learn and do anything I could to assist the President and his vision,” Piklapp said. “I wanted to test my limits, expand my horizons and further my intelligence in all respects.”

Piklapp received the Richard A. Ports Public Affairs Award, which is given to one member of ATO each year. After competing against other ATO members from across the country, Piklapp went through a series of short essays, a background check and an interview with members of the administration.

“I am very fortunate and feel honored to be the 2002 Ports recipient,” Piklapp said. “This award is a wonderful opportunity, and has been everything I had hoped for and more. Being in Washington, D.C. and working in the White House is an honor.”

While working in the White House can be a drastic change from life at Simpson, Piklapp says that his experience so far has been unbelievable.

“Indianola is quite different from Washington,” Piklapp said. “But the people here have been phenomenal. I couldn’t ask for better friends. The people I am surrounded by at work and the people that I chooseto surround myself with outside work are truly special people that have been a blessing to me.”

Piklapp works specifically for the associate director of OPL and the special assistant to the President and Deputy Director of OPL. These divisions work to reach out to specific groups on behalf of the President.

Piklapp said there was little he could do to prepare himself for what awaited him in Washington, but that being an active member of campus was advantageous to his new position. In his first two years at Simpson, Piklapp was involved with College Republicans, Pre-Law Society, Varsity Tennis, ATO, intramural sports and Campus Activity Board.

“College, in general, along with being involved with several activities has taught me effective time management skills and how to prioritize,” Piklapp said. “But being here [in Washington, D.C.] for a semester has enhanced both qualities 100 percent.”

“Trying to explain how to prepare for interning at the White House would be a lost cause,” said Piklapp. “It’s an experience that can only by explained by actually working long hours, making sacrifices and staying organized during complete chaos.”

Piklapp said he feels that this experience has brought him closer to his aspirations.

“What once were distant dreams have now become a reality,” Piklapp said. “I have been places and met people I once only saw on television. I’ve helped set up events that took place in the West Wing and in the mansion. The experience has been nothing short of a miracle. This will be something that I will cherish forever.”

After Piklapp’s internship is over, he plans on returning to Simpson. But his political interests will not be left behind when he returns to finish his degree.

“I would love to work on the President’s re-election campaign in Iowa,” he said.

Piklapp said he feels that this experience has inspired his future plans, as well as given him a refined respect for President Bush.

“After Simpson, I am still planning on attending law school, but now I’m thinking seriously about coming back to D.C. for my law degree.This experience has only furthered my hopes to one day become a politician,” Piklapp said.