Caroline Dorminey, Research Associate, Cato Institute

Cato Intern Class Spring 2016

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How did you learn about the Cato Institute? What made you want to be an intern?

I finished up my master’s degree and told my adviser that I wanted to move to DC to get involved in policy. After failing to convince me to do a PhD instead, he told me to work for Cato — as it’s the “only place in DC where you won’t lose your soul.”

How did the internship affect the way you think about public policy and/or political philosophy?

When I first started at Cato, I knew very little about policy options outside of my field. The internship lecture series was a great introduction to issue areas I had no familiarity with.

What kind of work are you doing now?

I’m still working at Cato, as a Research Associate for the department I originally interned with (but I don’t deliver the newspapers anymore). I focus on the defense budget and American involvement in the international arms trade. Hopefully y’all will see articles and PAs with my byline soon!

What advice can you offer to fellow alumni who want to secure a job like yours?

Mentorship can make all the difference. Focus on building meaningful relationships with people you admire and those will generally be the same people willing to stick their necks out for you during hiring decisions.

What’s a change — a policy perspective, a philosophical point, a messaging strategy, anything — that you would like to see in the libertarian community?

I wish the libertarian foreign policy community could rebrand “restraint” to something with a stronger, positive connotation but I think that ship sailed long ago.

Are there any important ideas (policy, philosophy, or something else) to which you subscribed for a long time, but now believe to be erroneous?

I grew up in the public school system but I’m now a firm believer in school choice.

What makes you feel most optimistic about the future of liberty?

Our growing voice at major news outlets, ensuring that our viewpoint will reach more of the general population.