Christian A Butts
Wharton undergraduate Christian Butts knew he was interested in politics since he was in elementary school. Growing up, he participated in various youth leadership conferences in Washington D.C. and Boston, watched the presidential debates with his parents in 7th grade, and joined academic clubs to expand his knowledge of U.S. and international politics.
Now in his second year at Wharton, Christian is pursuing a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Business Economics & Public Policy (BEPP). Christian will also be one of Penn Wharton PPI’s inaugural class of Public Policy Research Scholars (PPRS), an interdisciplinary certificate program for students with a background in economics, who want to explore the impact of U.S. public policy on the domestic economy.
“When the details were released about the [PPRS] program… [I thought] it aligned very well with how I envisioned my academic time at Penn playing out,” said Christian. “I want to be able to understand the issues that America faces and how I can apply what I am learning to make a positive impact.”
In his efforts to gain understanding and experience in public policy, Christian has also spent the past two summers working in legislative offices. Last summer he had the rewarding experience of working in U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s office in New Jersey. According to Christian, the staff made it clear that the legislature’s primary role is to serve its people. His experience working in Senator Booker’s office offered him a greater appreciation for government and a deeper understanding of its complexities. “There was never a moment when I felt that the staff was not going above and beyond to understand and tackle the problems at hand,” remarked Christian.
When asked about his aspirations for the future, Christian acknowledged that he had a strong interest in going to law school. Whether that happened right after college or after a few years of work experience and career exploration, however, remained up in the air. Nevertheless, he agreed that public policy would definitely play some part in his future career goals.
“I want to leave my post-Penn career up to where my passions take me over the next few years,” said Christian. “But public policy is so pervasive in everyday life that it has its place in almost any career path. Whether it is a large or small part of what I see myself doing [in the future] is yet to be determined.”
While public policy and politics have been avid interests of him since he was a young boy, Christian also has a deep love for music. He sang in choirs throughout elementary, middle and high school. At Penn, he is a member of the all-male a cappella group The Penchants. “It’s really encouraging to see the way that music can break through so many cultural barriers and help things to work in harmony,” said Christian towards the end of the interview. “I’m sorry I ended on such a corny note…but I try not to B♭.”