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Keeping up with Altmans: Rachel Altman Leads Unifying Think Tank on Campus

October 08, 2020 5:15 PM

Rachel Altman of the 2021 cohort has taken on the role of Executive Director of the Wave Center for Policy and Enterprise. The Wave Center is a student-led think tank that unites students of diverse backgrounds and intellectual traditions to seek innovative solutions to society's most pressing problems. Rachel says that rather than focusing on polarizing political views, members of the Wave Center “create an environment that welcomes diverging opinions -- we find it's much easier to respect another member's perspective when we understand that it comes from their own research and personal philosophy rather than malice for the ‘other side.’”

As the Executive Director, Rachel works to achieve this mission of building unity across the political lines. She says:

“I lead the most amazing, passionate team of Tulane students you could imagine. So far this semester, we've put out blog posts on our website about climate change, artificial intelligence, and more. We've published two longer policy primers -- one on federal policing reform and another on restoring international higher education. We've tabled on McAlister to raise awareness of civil liberties issues that affect New Orleans and held a large virtual event on immigration policy. We were also lucky enough to receive an international 'Event of the Year' award for a summit the Wave Center organized at Tulane in 2019. 

Rachel passing out flyers to raise awareness around civil liberties issues.

“But to me, our greatest achievement is the group of students we've recruited. When I started doing political activism at Tulane, I'd go to meetings with 3 people in the room. Now, I work with a brilliant and motivated team of over 40 to engage Tulane in policy and enterprise and create a culture of nuanced, empathetic dissent on our campus.”

Rachel is certainly well-suited for this position. After her junior year abroad studying in Mexico and Colombia, Rachel took on a position in Washington, D.C., as a press intern for Senator Rand Paul. Among her many duties, she conducted research and made recommendations regarding policy, edited Government Waste Reports, and tracked media contacts. Rachel said this about her experience at the Capitol:

“Under the mentorship of the Senator's press and communications team, I learned a great deal about how congressional offices track and build upon communications strategies. 

Rachel in Washington, D.C.

“I'll never forget the constant support and friendship I experienced working in this office. Working alongside such an intelligent, open-minded staff was a wonderful intellectual challenge for me. I'm so grateful for their mentorship and dedication to my personal and professional growth."

Rachel has drawn upon her internship experience and landed a part-time job this semester. She has taken on the role of a Grassroots Associate with the non-profit Americans for Prosperity, where she will be directing the organization’s community engagement work in New Orleans. She will also expand outreach efforts to Latinx communities in the area. Rachel says, “I'm extremely proud of that mission in particular, and I have no doubt that the skills and experiences I cultivated during my junior year abroad through the Altman program are what made it possible."

We’re so proud of Rachel and all that she has accomplished in the past year, and we can’t wait to see where this work leads after graduation next year!