CONTACT: David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
When Ben Williamson (General Government, 2015) visited PHC during his final year of high school, he had all but decided to attend another school. But seeing the College, its culture and academic environment, changed his mind. He loved the drive and passion he saw in the students and he chose to enroll at the school, becoming roommates with his high school friend Blake Meadows.
When Meadows’ father Mark, a business entrepreneur from North Carolina, decided to run for congress, Williamson volunteered for his campaign and frequently talked about the election with Blake. He knew he wanted to intern in Meadows’ office if the campaign was a success, and when Meadows was elected in January 2013, Williamson looked toward the summer of 2014 to follow through with his plan.
Since starting his internship at the beginning of the summer, each day has been unique, particularly since Congressman Meadows’ office makes a point of giving interns tasks that go beyond the mundane, like making coffee and copies. Rather, Williamson has found himself frequently drafting constituent letters, attending congressional briefings, and leading tours of the Capitol.
Working in Meadows’ office has also helped teach Williamson how to balance hard work and finding time to relax. He has likewise found that pairing flexibility with diligence goes a long way in an office environment.
Williamson knew the Meadows family in high school, which has put him in the unique position to observe the political habits and character of Congressman Meadows, a man he says he had always deeply respected for the way he cared for the people around him. This past summer, he says, his respect for the representative has doubled.
“Knowing him before he was in Congress gives me a perspective for where he is now,” he said. “He hasn’t changed himself at all since being elected. He pours himself out for others.”
As for his time at PHC, Williamson says he is deeply grateful for his education and the opportunities it has presented to him.
“I’ve probably become more driven at PHC,” he said, “because I’ve come to realize what you have to do to succeed. It’s given me more drive in both work and in academics, and it has also made me realize how important it is to make connections and impact people through relationships. That’s impacted me more than any class: learning to appropriately value relationships and friendships.”
After graduation, he hopes to attend medical school to be a doctor or physician’s assistant.