Skip to Content

College of Arts and Sciences

Local party internship leads philosophy student to presidential encounter

photo of a crowd with a man smiling near Jill Biden
Philosophy teaches you how to learn anything, including how to argue toward the pursuit of truth and resolution.

- Ethan Wilson

It’s not every day you get to meet the first lady of the United States and hear the president and vice president speak in person. For Ethan Wilson, it was a highlight of his time at the University of South Carolina.  

Through his internship with the Richland County Democratic Party, the senior philosophy major connected with local and national politics and other community members in ways he hadn’t imagined. One example was when his work brought him to a rally earlier this year and he met first lady Jill Biden in person. 

But working with politics at the local and grassroots level has also made a big impression. Wilson says his internship showed him just how much time and volunteer power it takes to drive political action. He’s found empowerment in that realization. 

“A lot of people who work on campaigns are normal people, volunteers who have found a reason to be involved,” says Wilson. 

Wilson helps organize rallies, registers voters and serves on an action and advocacy board. Though he began his internship with little organizing experience, the adaptable learning skills he has built up as an undergraduate philosophy student are serving him well in his role. 

Wilson says his liberal arts background has also helped him have constructive conversations surrounding politics. 

“Philosophy teaches you how to learn anything,” he says, “including how to argue toward the pursuit of truth and toward a resolution.” 

It’s a pursuit that is driving him towards his future career. Wilson plans to complete a Ph.D. to become a philosophy professor and has begun applying to graduate programs in Georgia. 

As for what he’s taking away from his time with the RCDP, he says both politics and philosophy are integral to navigating today's world.  

“We can’t always say with 100 percent certainty what is right or wrong, but I would say there is a great deal of practical value in trying to get there.” 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.