Will Power Will Bolton '20 has made the most of his college years by serving as president of the Executive Committee, doing ROTC training at VMI, traveling to Germany and interning for a U.S. Senator.
“I’m interested in early American politics, so I thought a school named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee would be a great place to study our country’s complicated history.”
~ Will Bolton ’20
Hometown: Harford County, Maryland
Majors: Economics and Politics
Q: What factors contributed to your decision to attend W&L?
I was looking for a tight-knit liberal arts school with strong academics, and W&L fits that perfectly. I’m interested in early American politics, so I thought a school named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee would be a great place to study our country’s complicated history. I also like hiking and being outside, so Lexington and Rockbridge County are perfect because it’s a small town with beautiful scenery.
Q: Why did you choose to major in politics and economics?
In a lot of ways, the two fields study the exact same thing in opposite ways. One is mostly interested in history, institutions and people, while the other is primarily concerned with data, incentives and empirical methods. That difference is really interesting to try to understand. Of course, there is a lot of overlap, so that further complicates the questions being studied. I’ve always been interested in politics and public policy, so the complementary approaches are really helpful.
Q: How did your internship in the office of Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) impact your future goals?
I enjoyed my internship because the opportunity to see politics firsthand allows you to understand it better than just reading about it or watching it on TV. I was fortunate to work in Senator Cardin’s office because he makes time to meet with his interns on a weekly basis and to set us up for great opportunities. The ability to hear a sitting senator’s opinion on the issues that he would soon vote on was a fascinating look at the political process.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved in the Executive Committee, and what have you enjoyed about serving as president of the student body?
I initially decided to get involved with the EC because Heeth Varnedoe ’19 was serving at the time, and he said I should run. Having someone like him to help me run and work through the problems the EC deals with was great even though we didn’t always agree. I enjoy working with the community and my fellow EC members to strengthen the Honor System. Obviously, it is the president’s main responsibility to administer the system but that has to include educating people about it, changing it to reflect the current community, and making sure it treats everyone as fairly as possible. This year, faculty outreach has been my main priority because faculty buy-in is so crucial for a functioning system. It has been awesome to see the positive response we have gotten so far.
Q: How and why did you get involved in ROTC, and how has that enriched your overall college experience?
I joined ROTC because I want to become an Army officer, and Virginia Military Institute has one of the best ROTC programs in the country. Getting to train over there, even though I attend W&L, is a great opportunity. It allows me to experience a different approach to education. I think learning at W&L and training at VMI has prepared me well for post-grad.
Q: What can you tell us about attending Cadet Troop Leadership Training in Germany this past summer?
Cadet Troop Leadership Training is an opportunity for Army cadets to shadow a lieutenant on active duty. Most go to a base in the U.S., but I got to shadow an Air Defense Artillery Platoon Leader in Ansbach, Germany. It’s a great way to see what your job is going to be like so you’re more ready for it. The soldiers I met in Germany taught me a lot about being a good leader and what I want to do in the Army after graduation.
Q: Has anyone at W&L served as a mentor to you?
I’ve been lucky enough to have more mentors than I can name.
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More About Will
What other extracurriculars have you been involved in at W&L?
I was the Maryland State Chair for Mock Convention 2020 and a member of Kathekon and the Outing Club.
What is your personal motto?
I like Mark Twain so it would have to be an adaptation of his quote, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”
Favorite place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
I love the fried chicken from Southern Inn.
What film or book do you recommend to everyone?
I recently started reading “Washington and Lee University: Tradition and Transformation” by Blaine Brownwell, and I’d recommend it to everyone connected to W&L.
Most amazing place you’ve been?
The Salmon River and Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho are great for hiking.
Favorite W&L memory so far?
The first time I floated the Maury River
Favorite W&L event?
All of Spring Term
What is something nobody would guess about you?
My black lab mutt, Abby, is living with me this year.