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Arthur Shemitz ’17

A Path To Policymaking

Arthur Shemitz ’17

Now a self-defined fiscal policy wonk, Arthur Shemitz ’17 found his passion for democracy at Whitman. He was involved in student government and took advantage of internship opportunities funded through the Career and Community Engagement Center (CCEC). Shemitz was able to narrow in on what piqued his interests, while also making transformative change on campus. Now working at the Centre For Public Impact, Shemitz gets to contribute to a mission of reimagining government by improving its effectiveness through new and innovative practices.

Whitman gave me a formal education in gender studies and a practical education in public policy, and I use those skills and lessons every day in my work.

Arthur’s Pathway

AUG 2013 | Came to Whitman with an interest in government and joined the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) earning a senator position for two years.
2013 | Member of the Parliamentary Debate Team
2014 | Digital Marketing and Website Development Intern at Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Library.
2014 | Power and Privilege Symposium: Served as a panelist and returning volunteer for an annual symposium giving space for educational sessions and open conversations about structural oppression amongst a range of topics and identities.
2014 | Waiilatpu Yearbook Publisher
2015 | Served as the Vice President of ASWC
2015 | Policy Intern at the Office of Santa Cruz County: Through funding provided by the Whitman Internship Grant (WIG), Shemitz was able to dive into his interest of public policy. Writing analytical reports while collaborating with major news outlets was the highlight of this multiyear internship opportunity. He was honored with an official proclamation for the time he invested in this cause.
2015 | Intern for Senior Citizens Legal Services
2015 | Whitman Mentor Program Participant
2015Whitman Undergraduate Conference presenter and coach: For three consecutive years, Shemitz presented individual, faculty-sponsored research on topics ranging from gender and identity to race and representation. Later, he had the opportunity to coach others toward success in their own presentations.
2016Faculty-led Research Assistant in Politics: With aid from the Louis B. Perry Research Scholarship, Shemitz spent his summer participating in faculty-led research to explore questions centered around violence, justice and politics.
2016Elected as ASWC President
MAY 2017 | Graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Gender Studies
2017 | Served as an Executive Fellow in the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Following the guidance of the CCEC, Shemitz was accepted into this 10-month intensive, high-level government fellowship. During this time, he gained knowledge in project management, communications and legislative analysis under the supervision of experienced policymakers.
2023 | Master’s Degree in Public Affairs at Princeton University
2023 | Senior Associate at the Centre for Public Impact


“Whitman showed me how I could make a difference as a policy advocate and policymaker,” Shemitz says.

Today, as he continues to empower community members in his everyday work, Shemitz looks back at his efforts as a student. “From my first days at Whitman, I was frenetically producing and advocating for reams of policy positions as an intercollegiate debater, and I spent four years in ASWC advocating to the administration and Board of Trustees to implement policies to improve the student experience.”

Find Other Upward Pathways

Published on Oct 7, 2023
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