Igor Volsky, Marist ‘08
Majored in History with a Minor in Political Science
What has your career path been to this point?
Since graduating Marist College in 2008, I've worked in progressive politics in Washington D.C. After spending 10 years at the Center for American Progress, where I focused primarily on expanding access to health care through the passage of the Affordable Care Act, I founded a gun violence prevention organization called Guns Down America. GDA focuses on pushing American businesses to prioritize gun reform and urging lawmakers to tighten our nation's lax gun laws. I've also written two books, including 2019's "Guns Down: How To Defeat the NRA and Build a Safer Future with Fewer Guns" from the New Press.
Can you share an experience from your time at HRVI that stands out as meaningful?
Interning at HRVI truly developed my writing and research skills and broadened my spectrum of academic interest. Before this internship, my research explored American foreign policy and diplomatic history; HRVI introduced me to the American art world and allowed me to develop an appreciation for art as a mechanism of cultural expression and a deeper understanding for how the paintings of Jasper Cropsey and Albert Bierstadt fused modern conceptions of environmentalism and nationalism.
How has your experience at HRVI helped you advance your education or professional pursuits since graduating from Marist?
My time at HRVI improved my research abilities, sharpened my writing, and expanded my general subject matter. Since I spent the first 8 years of my career writing news stories -- about a variety of issues -- my HRVI experience of identifying different themes and building arguments around them helped me do my job!
As HRVI celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022, do you have any advice for future HRVI interns based on your time at HRVI and your experience in your professional field?
Read and write as much as you can -- it will all pay off down the line.