Gareth Rhodes: Public Policy / Political Economy

Gareth Rhodes

B.A. June 2011, Summa cum Laude

Home College: City College

Faculty Mentors: Profs. Karen Struening & Vincent Boudreau, Political Science, City

Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Colin Powell Leaders’ Fellowship

Skadden, Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies

Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship

Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for International Study

Peter J. Sharp Academic Scholarship

Dean’s List

Gareth Rhodes was born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley and attended Warwick and Kingston High Schools. After graduating in 2006, he worked for a water-well drilling business and a small home-renovation contractor. Rhodes started college in 2007 at CCNY and enrolled in CUNY BA in the 2008. He assembled two challenging areas of study that included multiple honors courses, independent studies, study abroad in China and Argentina and internships with Congressman Charles B. Rangel, the White House, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo – both as Attorney General and in the Executive Chamber – and the Roosevelt Institute (where he authored Does Minnesota Have the Answer to Campaign Finance Reform? for New Deal 2.0).

Why government? He explains, “The divide between the American public and government, as shown by the magnitude of the public’s dissatisfaction with government, threatens to undermine our political process. We need stronger connections between citizens and government so policymakers can be more responsive to the needs of the public.” Rhodes’s policy capstone project for the CCNY Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies focused on opportunities for responsible campaign finance reform. He explains, “I believe in strong disclosure measures and robust public financing laws that allow candidates to spend time focusing on the issues rather than fundraising, while freeing candidates from relying on the wealthy interests currently necessary to be competitive in campaigns.” In regard to the end goal of his campaign finance reform plan, Rhodes’s objective is “a stronger democracy where electoral and political power is dictated less by money and more by public support.”

In addition to his full-time course load, he was a news editor for the City College student newspaper and active in the award-winning Model U.N. Team, in addition to participation in other student clubs and organizations. After his first year of college, Rhodes took a year off from school to work for The Bowery Mission’s retreat center in Bushkill, Pennsylvania, and he also spent two summers working at Mont Lawn Camp, a summer program that serves kids from underprivileged communities. He also volunteers for local Harlem mentorship programs. Rhodes served two years on CUNY Baccalaureate’s Governing Committee.

In 2011, Rhodes was selected for the highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship. He intends to pursue a joint Master’s of Public Affairs and law degree, to “translate big legal theories into practical reality.” After graduate school he intends to continue public service work through government. Rhodes prowess as a scholar and leader and his aptitude for understanding and articulating government policy is immense; there is no doubt of his future success.