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York College paves way for Political Science major’s march to White House

July 11, 2017
Brandon S. Sherman
Brandon S. Sherman ’01 currently serves as the Senior Counsel to the Assistant Secretary for the office of Civil Rights in President Donald Trump’s administration.

Brandon S. Sherman remembers standing on the White House lawn and waiting for the president. He was getting a chance to shake George W. Bush’s hand and meet his boss before the commander in chief made his way onto Marine One, the presidential helicopter.   

Today, the Class of 2001 York College of Pennsylvania graduate says he was privileged to be presidential appointee, as Special Counsel to the General Counsel. 

“I felt lucky to have the position in the first place,” Brandon says“Although it was brief, it hit me that I was meeting the most powerful man in the world.” 

He worked his whole life to get to that moment. Now, after a few years in the private sector, he’s returned to government as the Senior Counsel to Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff for the Office of Civil Rights in President Donald Trump’s administration. 

Brandon says he fell in love with politics as an early age. It was practically a given for anyone who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. In high school, he had an internship with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and was eventually drawn to study Political Science at York College. 

Developing a love for law 

His time on the York College campus helped hone his abilities and put him on the direction toward furthering his education.  

“My professors nurtured that interest and encouraged me to go to law school,” Brandon says. “The rigorous curriculum at York, especially in the Political Science classes, helped me develop my writing.” 

The late Dr. Melvin Kulbicki, a former chairperson of the History and Political Science department, left an impact on Brandon. Being in a class with someone like Dr. Kulbicki at York College meant he could develop a valuable relationship with his professor. 

As he worked his way to graduation in 2001, he knew he had to find a law school. His connection in D.C. showed him that a lot of people from Michigan State ended up in the nation’s capital, so headed north. 

“I wanted to experience a different part of the country,” he says. 

Brandon says his experience at York College helped him succeed at Michigan State. 

“Developing my writing and critical thinking skills really prepared me for law school and my career,” he says. “Being in a small school environment provided greater access to professors and have rather substantive discussions in class, which prepares you for law school and your career.” 

Starting a career 

As his collegiate career was winding down, Brandon started volunteering in George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. He started making connections. 

He got his first job out of law school working for the New York-Based law firm of Paul Weiss in D.C. He helped handle large telecommunications mergers on the anti-trust side.  

Then, the call came. The Bush administration wanted him, and he was excited to sign on.  

“It was a goal of mine,” he says. The work was fast-paced and intense. “You feel tremendous responsibility to the president and as a public servant to carry out the president and the secretary’s wishes. But, you’re also committed to the public.” 

As a political appointee who joined the administration in 2006, he tried to do as much as he could in a fleeting period of time.  

“You don’t know if you’re ever going to have that opportunity again,” he says. 

As Bush left office and the Obama administration moved into the White House, Brandon found work in the private sector again. He worked for a law firm, doing things like representing colleges trying to comply with federal regulations.  

“It was very interesting and challenging,” he says. “At times, it could be exciting.” 

He was helping schools deal with new policies as far as online learning and in other areas. He’d meet with members of congress and their staff. He was busy and enjoying himself. 

And government called once more. This time, it was the newly forming Trump administration that sought him out. He was more than willing to answer their call. 

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