NDISC Alumnus Spotlight: Charles Sedore ‘21

Author: Notre Dame International Security Center

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Born in Iowa and graduated high school in Connecticut, Charles Sedore’s journey at Notre Dame began the night of his Eagle Scout Board of review—which he passed! Though his college journey didn’t begin with NDISC, he found his way to us through a friend. Now, Charles is a Legislative Aide and Correspondent for a United States Congressman. We were excited to sit down with Charles to talk about his experiences in the NDISC program. 

Why did you go to Notre Dame? 

As soon as I received my acceptance letter, I knew I would be attending the University of Notre Dame. I did not only think of Notre Dame as one of the best schools in the country, but also as a place where I could continue the education of my mind and heart (my high school was founded by the Brothers of Holy Cross). I also saw myself trying out for the marching band and joining in the culture and traditions of the institution.  

Why did you decide to study international relations?  

I decided on studying international relations midway through freshman year. I was drawn to the field because of the “Introduction to International Relations” course taught by Professor Susan Pratt-Rosato and "Russia: Between East and West” taught by Professor Emily Wang. One of my new friends, Martin (who would become one of my best friends), was also studying international relations at the time. We ended up both graduating with a bachelor's degree in political science and Russian.  

How did you discover NDISC?  

Our junior year, Martin was in NDISC. After he described it to me, I looked into NDISC's website, and I knew I would want to join. So, I reached out to Professor Lindley to ask if I could still apply even though I was a little late to the program. Thankfully, he said I could, and I enjoyed my last year at Notre Dame in NDISC—even through the pandemic. I only regret not learning about NDISC sooner.  

Was there a specific class that resonated with you?  

I honestly find it quite difficult to point to a single class, but rather several! The first was “Russia in Revolution” with Dr. Marullo, where I would be first introduced to a greater sense of Russian culture, history, and politics.  

The second was Professor Sebastian Rosato’s “Realism and its Critics.” This course helped to further my grasp of international relations and the theory of neorealism. It also introduced me to Professor Rosato, who was my Senior Thesis Advisor.  

Finally, I must mention my thesis course. I tied everything together from my two majors as my thesis explored theories of why states form alliances and what Russia's future alliances could hold.  

After graduating, you interned at the House of Representatives and you’re now a Legislative Aide. Please describe these roles, your responsibilities, and how you bring your NDISC education to work with you. 

I graduated from Notre Dame in the Spring 2021, and I did not have a job lined up right away. Unfortunately, COVID canceled most programs during the summer 2020, so I was at a slight disadvantage. I decided to apply for an internship with my Congressional Representative, Rep. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids. They offered me a position for Fall 2021, so I moved to Washington, DC in two suitcases with the goal of using my internship to help find a full-time job.  

One instance where my NDISC background came into use was when the Foreign Affairs staffer asked if I knew anything about the Arctic as it relates to national security since the House Foreign Affairs Committee was having a hearing on the Arctic region. I answered yes and assisted with drafting some questions for the Representative to ask. 

Currently, I am a legislative aide for Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio's Second Congressional District. As a legislative aide, I cover policy areas such as foreign affairs, homeland security, judiciary, budget, education, House Administration, and Oversight. Since I cover foreign affairs and homeland security, I rely on my background from NDISC to better understand the complexities and issues the country faces in evaluating legislative proposals 

NDISC provided me with the perfect combination of academic background and practical real-world knowledge needed to be effective in my job.   

What would you tell someone who is considering NDISC, but isn't sure it's the right fit? 

I would recommend reaching out to current students or alumni. Hearing current and past students talk about the program and how it has helped them helps paint a better picture of what to expect.