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Less than six months after Commencement, government and law graduate Jennifer Gibbs ’02 found her perfect job in Washington right in the heart of the federal government. She joined Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff as special assistant to the Vice President’s deputy chief of staff Oct. 1. She works in the Old Executive Office Building in the White House complex.

“There are two sides to this job,” Gibbs says. “On one side there are the routine responsibilities, such as the keeping of schedules, submitting clearances, reading, editing, writing, and attending meetings. On the other more interesting side are the unexpected, the daily interaction, the making of decisions, and thinking on one’s feet. Regardless of how young or old, everyone is able to contribute. This is most comforting to a kid right out of college.”

“This job is a far stretch from ‘The West Wing,'” she adds. “It is a quiet place, where people sit and do their work. Occasionally there is a bit of running around, but not like the marathons you see on television.”

Gibbs interned in the office of Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Cheney, the fall of her senior year. Among the people she worked with was Debra Romash Dunn ’78, chief of staff to Mrs. Cheney.

“I believe my experience there, coupled with the people I met, had a large role in my returning,” says Gibbs. “Debbie Dunn was one of the finest individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. She offered guidance throughout my internship, and advice when I realized that I wanted to return.”

Gibbs came to Lafayette expecting to study government. She added a double major in art after taking an art history class with Robert Mattison, Metzgar Professor of Art. “I found his enthusiasm contagious,” says Gibbs. “He taught me to look at the world with a different eye, to try to understand and appreciate the work whether or not I agreed with the message or style.

“College is not just about taking classes, it is about growing as a person,” continues Gibbs. “For me the idea of seeking understanding in all that I do is a lesson I will always carry with me.”

She conducted an honors thesis under the guidance of Bruce Murphy, Kirby Professor of Government and Law, on unmanned micro air vehicles that are proving useful to the military, but also have the potential to invade ordinary citizens’ privacy.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles