Chris Waldeck

Class of 2011
Major/Minor: Economics & Mathematics

When he was looking at colleges, Chris never expected to be part of a live broadcast with the President of the United States. He didn’t expect to be an economics major, either, but Chris is all about embracing opportunities.

In September 2010, Chris and classmate Lauren Lawson were selected to be in the audience at an exclusive town hall event in with the President, moderated by CNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent and WC honorary alumnus John Harwood. Mr. Harwood, who curates the College’s Richard L. Harwood Program in American Journalism, secured two spots for Washington College students.

“I got a phone call asking if I was interested in a media opportunity,” said Chris, who was shocked to find out it was for an event with the sitting President.

He was also surprised when President Obama echoed one of the tenets he learned from economics classes.

“We always say: ‘Smart and honest people can disagree on this point.’ Obama actually said that while he was speaking, so as an econ major, that really resonated with me,” Chris said.

Chris and Lauren weren’t among the four or five people called upon to ask questions, but they were prepared. Chris wanted to hear the President’s ideas on how to get American businesses to stop sitting on nearly $2 trillion of financial capital and invest it in the nation’s economy.

It’s not the kind of question he would have been able to ask as a reserved freshman, when he was planning to major in English and philosophy.

“I decided to come to Washington College after visiting for Sophie Kerr weekend, but I am here to learn as much as I possibly can. I like the way of thinking in economics; it trains you to look at people from a different perspective,” he said.

Chris, who serves as treasurer of the College Republicans, started getting involved in politics his freshman year, when he tagged along with a group of students attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He also joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity, where he met some of his best friends.

In his junior year, he studied abroad in Egypt.

“It was completely out of this world,” he says of the experience. “In the beginning, there’s a really steep learning curve. You have the language and culture issues, new holidays, a new calendar — you can’t even read the numbers there. But it’s beautiful.”

Chris had opportunities to travel within the region, visiting museums and the ancient city of Petra.

“You see things you’ve only seen in textbooks,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

Chris plans to study petroleum economics in graduate school and hopes to return to the Middle East.

“Washington College won’t automatically make you have awesome experiences, but it will give you all the tools and opportunities you need to create them for yourself,” he said.

Campus Involvement

Q & A

Hometown? Finksburg, Maryland