Congressman to graduates: ask questions, compromise

The scientific method should be the guiding framework for decision making, Congress’ only physicist said at a joint ceremony of two GW graduate programs Saturday.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., urged graduating students from the College of Professional Studies and the Graduate School of Political Management to think critically and evaluate all potential outcomes when crafting policy.

“Questions answered empirically and verifiably, it’s really wonderful. You can do it, I can do it, any fifth grader can do it, a member of Congress can do it,” Holt said, inciting laughter from the crowd.

The five-time Jeopardy winner who has represented New Jersey’s 12th district since 1999 called on the audience to imagine how debates would unfold on Capitol Hill if legislators asked questions “before we start yelling.”

Daily interactions should circle around the principles of scientific thought, Holt said.

“Science really is, at its core, democratic,” he said. “Not all ideas are equally good. I don’t mean that. But one person’s idea clearly presented and weighed against the evidence is clearly as good as another’s.”

In an address to her peers, student speaker Carrie Adams shared stories of her demanding schedule, balancing work and classes.

She joked that she did not have plans for her first free Tuesday in two years, after the weekend’s ceremonies.

But the graduate, who received a master’s degree in political management, told her classmates in caps and gowns not to slow down their pace.

“After catching our breath, after recovering from the hectic world that is graduate school…we will be pursuing the greater impact of our lives, toward which we have been investing all along,” Adams said.

Christina Dargis, who graduated with a master’s in paralegal studies while being employed full-time, said Adams’ speech was inspirational.

“I was glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one that had lots going on,” she said. “I had no idea, because I was an online student, so I had no idea whether other people had full-time jobs or if they were just doing this.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.