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Leading with loyalty to self and core values

April 09, 2018

Kyle Clahane, ’18

Kyle Clahane, ’18

Last Independence Day, Kyle Clahane, ’18, sat picnicking with fellow interns on the National Mall, discussing foreign affairs and public policy, and sharing anecdotes from different chapters of their lives. The conversation was light and the laughter flowed. Fireworks began to go off all around them as the sun sank into the reflecting pool of the Washington Monument.

“This was the stuff that only happened in The West Wing,” Clahane thought contentedly about his summer experience, “and I’m living it.”

Clahane, who is in his second year at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M pursuing a Master of International Affairs, spent his summer interning at Creative Associates International, a development firm in Washington DC. After extensive searching and help from Bush School professor and former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Andrew Natsios, Clahane landed his internship at Creative, which is a contractor for USAID. At the Bush School, Clahane is on the International Development and Economic Policy track.

“This past summer at Creative was really cool because they worked on tailoring my internship toward my background,” he said.

Path to the Bush School

Kyle Clahane, ’18, selfie at a baseball game

Kyle Clahane

Before arriving at the Bush School, Clahane graduated from Florida State University with dual degrees in interdisciplinary social sciences and interdisciplinary humanities. After that, he remained in his home state of Florida for a year working on a congressional campaign and managing one mayoral campaign before deciding to take his career down a different path.

While working on the campaigns, Clahane noticed that candidates tended to assume a line of rhetoric that would get them elected—not necessarily one that included a nuanced discussion of hot-button issues. By coming to the Bush School, he hopes to change this.

“I really enjoyed the campaign side of things—the fast-paced lifestyle, but I felt like there wasn’t enough expertise provided on the campaign trail,” he said. “People made decisions off the short-sighted and present situation. I wanted enough background to say ‘no, this is how things actually work in the world.’”

Staying loyal to a sense of self

Remaining loyal to his personal values has always been important to Clahane. The campaign trail sometimes made this a difficult task, but being surrounded by people at the Bush School who share similar values makes staying loyal to one’s core values simple. And for Clahane, his values are closely aligned with the Aggie values.

two people standing in front of the nation's capitol building

 

“I think the environment here is very special,” he said. “It’s unique in that we all hold each other to the highest of standards.”

Clahane cites loyalty to himself and others as one of the factors that has helped him get to this point in his life. It’s what pushed him to a career in public service, he said.

“None of us go into this field thinking it’ll be the most lucrative of career paths,” Clahane said. “But we have a core set of ideals—mine center on compassion, selfless service, and the search for common ground—that help us push through many of the challenges we might encounter. Loyalty is, in short, my inner compass.”

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