Department of Public Policy Leadership

University of Mississippi

Christian BondsChristian Bonds

B.A. Public Policy Leadership ‘18

Master of Public Policy Student at the College of William & Mary

During my junior year of high school, I was searching for universities and opportunities when I discovered the Lott Institute’s Summer Program for rising seniors. I was accepted and spent the month of June studying political science and public speaking, learning about the university and the institute, and spent the final week traveling to Washington D.C. to meet my senators and congressman with the rest of the cohort. The summer program was a life changing experience that tapped into a love for policy and a proclivity for public speaking that I did not know that I had. The following year I finished high school in metro Atlanta and moved to Oxford to pursue my B.A. in PPL.

While on campus I was a Lott Scholar, on the Drumline for the Pride of the South Marching Band, Captain of the Debate Team, Member of Beta Upsilon Chi Fraternity, Member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Intern for the Rand Paul Presidential Campaign, Vice President of Minor Hall Community Council, and Member of the Baptist Student Union.

With the Debate Team, I was able to travel and compete in over 14 tournaments for four years. Tournament locations included Washington D.C., San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, and Cape Town. I competed in World Style British Parliamentary Debate, a limited preparation event, against the finest universities in the World. This experience refined my public speaking skills, understanding of global issues, and ability to identify with opposing points of view.

I participated in two Lott Institute Summer Study Abroad opportunities. The first was with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa studying human rights. The other was with Tecnológico de Monterrey in Pachuca, Mexico studying social entrepreneurship. These experiences ignited my passion for international development and helped me to focus my education towards that field.

I am currently a Master of Public Policy student at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. I am focusing on international development and work in communications at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute.

I recently returned from Kajiado, Kenya where I had a summer internship with two international NGOs. I worked on issues of water security, women’s & children’s rights, education, and local government coalition building. Our main objective was combating FGM and child marriage. Both are illegal in Kenya, but the government does not have the resources to combat it alone. We helped the police conduct rescue missions, sheltered rescued girls, trained local stakeholders to cooperate and use resources efficiently, and collected data to help develop more nuanced solutions.

I spent this previous semester working on a research team for USAID developing cyber security policy for the Ukrainian Judicial System. We focused on personnel level cyber hygiene solutions that the courts could implement cheaply and efficiently. We are in the process of preparing our research to be published in an international cyber security journal.  These experiences are propelling me toward a career in international development or community development.

The Public Policy Program at the Trent Lott Leadership Institute has prepared me for leadership in a public policy setting. My graduate school peers lack the intangibles that are instilled in each student at the Lott Institute. PPL is really a graduate level education that is not easily replicated elsewhere. I take every opportunity I can to give back to the institute and pay forward the grace that was given me. The Lott Institute will always be a major part of my life.