HAPS Students: Dylan Gleeson, History major

By Susan Gettlin | March 1, 2015

Intellectual curiosity and academic interests pursued outside of the classroom

History major and economics minor Dylan Gleeson ’15 says one of his favorite stories from his summer internship at the National Constitution Center (NCC) in Philadelphia is how he was assigned to work on the history of the hoagie.

“It started off on Hog Island,” he explained, laughing. “It was during the Great Depression, and there was this guy looking to start a business and he saw all these guys on the island, naval dockyard workers, just eating so much…so he started making ‘hoggies.’”

His time spent on the history of the hoagie, ultimately part of the special Wawa Hoagie Day festivities, was not Dylan’s only responsibility at the NCC. Working in Philadelphia once a week while simultaneously working in the Arcadia Ambassador’s office as a co-director of training and recruitment, Dylan contributed to other research for exhibits, including one on Pulitzer-Prize-winning war photographers, and he even instructed visitors to the NCC on how to make paper using methods from the colonial era.

Pulling his educational experience outside of the classroom was a form of intellectual curiosity fostered by Dr. Peter Siskind and his course FDR to Obama: U.S. Politics and Reform. It was that class that led Dylan to declare a history major. “After that class, I really did develop a passion for history and politics,” Dylan reflected. “I became a subscriber to The New York Times and The New Yorker. Dr. Siskind got me to do both of those…reading them and actually going beyond what you learn in the classroom in to more depth about the subjects.” Dylan also cites Economics Professor Dr. Wayne Morra as having encouraged a subscription to The Economist, engaging him in conversation about the material he read.

In the spring of 2014, Dylan explored his intellectual curiosity in history and politics all the way to London, where he worked as an intern to a member of the British Parliament “on the floor three days a week, with a full suit and tie, a briefcase…the real deal.” His work entailed preparing briefs on news in the Middle East and Africa for his MP, Ian Lucas, as well as attending meetings and greeting visitors, which he said, “brings me in contact with some very interesting people.” He found his work exciting, and he expects the practical experience will further his potential career interests in foreign affairs.