About us

Director, Howard Ernst, Ph.D.

The program is designed and implemented by Professor Howard R. Ernst. Professor Ernst is a nationally recognized political scientist who serves as the Seiden-Levi Fellow of Public Policy at Gettysburg College's Eisenhower Institute, Senior Scholar at University of Virginia's Center for Politics, and Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy. Dr. Ernst is an award winning author of six books on American government, including The Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. His work has been highlighted in numerous media outlets, including: The Washington Post, C-SPAN, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and PBS Frontline. Dr. Ernst is passionate about teaching American government and makes use of a highly participatory lecture and discussion format. Professor Ernst designed the American Government Leadership Program and leads all aspect of the program.

Guest Professors

Guest professors and policy experts play an integral role in the program. Guest professors typically join the program for a day and are invited to share their research and expertise with the students. In previous years, Professor Bruce A. Larson (Ph.D., University of Virginia) presented his research on interest groups and political parties. Professor Brendan J. Doherty (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) discussed his recent book on presidential travel and the "permanent campaign."

RAsResident Advisors

Participants will live in a Gettysburg College residence hall with resident advisors. Resident advisors are advanced college students who are selected based on their expertise in political science and their maturity and experience. Resident advisors work with students in and outside the classroom to support the goals of the program.



Howard Ernst

"I saw a lot of people were just as engaged in politics and public policy as I was, and I made some great friends along the way."

Chris Condon, 2014

"I would recommend the program to anyone interested in politics or becoming a leader in society."

Aaron Finkel, 2014