Class of 2023: Jack Buckley
Jack Buckley’s First Year Seminar, From Chaos to Compromise, with Professor Gretchen McKay set the tone for his time at McDaniel — four years of discovery. A Philosophy and Political Science major, Jack zeroed in on studying national security, joining McDaniel’s National Security Fellows Program, and interning with European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, under the Department of Defense. As a member of the Green Terror Battalion, he will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps after graduation.
Jack Buckley is a Philosophy and Political Science major with a minor in Spanish from Stuttgart, Germany.
When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: Uncertain of what would be in store for me at McDaniel and the U.S. as a whole.
The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: Amazed at how much has happened in four years and is excited to see what the future may bring.
Real world experiences: I had the opportunity to intern with European Command under the Department of Defense in Stuttgart, Germany. I worked alongside senior staff officers, NCOs, and representatives of organizations like USAID and the U.N. to understand the role of civil affairs in a geopolitical context and how it works to meet the desired interests of the U.S. in Europe.
My aha moment: I learned about how simultaneously frustrating and valuable time is — you never have enough of it, but what little you do have can make all the difference in the world between appreciating your current circumstances and regretting them.
Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: I hope to be remembered as someone who was willing to look after others despite our perceived differences.
Faculty or staff member who most influenced who I have become: Erin Benevento '15 taught me that a position is one thing, but what you do for others in that position is what makes all the difference. She is a woman that I never saw take an extended break but was always present with a smile on her face — always seeking to brighten up the days of others. During the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, she looked after my friends and I as we were trying to figure out how we were going to get home (most of us lived far from Maryland). She has checked up on my friends and I every semester, without fail. Erin was both a high-performing and kind individual — truly a remarkable person that inspired me more than she may know.
Best class ever: From Chaos to Compromise, my First Year Seminar. Going into college, I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous about how I might measure up to my peers, work at the standards set by my professors, and connect with others. This class was my fondest academic experience of my freshman year. Learning how to work with others in a non-traditional manner going through significant events of history, like the Trial of Socrates and the creation of the Nicene Creed, really set the tone for the years to come at McDaniel. Dr. McKay, the professor running the class, left a very positive impact on my perception of McDaniel as a whole.
Took me totally by surprise: How compassionate some of the professors and faculty are at McDaniel. It is clear that their positions at the college are more than simply a job for them. Their interest in students who care is both apparent and impactful.
My favorite spot on campus: The Englar Dining Hall porch, overlooking a walking area that leads to Whiteford Hall. It is where I held my unofficial office hours Monday through Friday.
Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: The interconnectedness of everything, but specifically with regard to nation-states. The globalization of the world means that a company situated in Denmark can cater to customers in the U.S., but have factories in Malaysia and India, that are then assembled in Russia and Colombia, and can be sold internationally. On an individual scale, it helped me realize just how significant the actions of one person can be in the lives of many, and how that can snowball into something even greater in the larger overarching area.
My capstone title: Political Science: “The Significance of the Arctic Circle in US Security Policy and Economic Viability.” Philosophy: “COVID-19: The Consequences of the Utilitarian Approach on Healthcare Workers in New York City.”
What it’s about in plain talk: Political Science: Breaking down U.S. Arctic Policy into four decades, beginning with the last decade of the Cold War. I discuss the marked shift in priorities as the international sphere of dynamics changed from a bipolar, to a unipolar, to something more closely resembling a multipolar world, to today: an increasingly higher likelihood of a return to a bipolar world. From the Soviet Union to the Global War on Terrorism, to the potential threat that near-peer China poses, the U.S. approach to the Arctic Circle has given modern-day adversaries a foothold in the region. I compare decades and highlight differences in U.S. policy-related approaches in addition to bringing forward current issues that fall within the security and economic spheres of geopolitical strategy.
Philosophy: Looking at the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City through a utilitarian lens, I drew comparisons between Mill’s Utilitarianism and the hospital administrations of the city. From there, I brought in vignettes, or personal experiences, of health professionals during the pandemic and how the carrying out of hospital policies and regulations took a toll on their already dwindling mental health. I discuss the effects of implementing utilitarian-like policies in hospitals on health professionals and what potential steps can be taken to alleviate the toll by providing evidence of methods utilized by some administrations in NYC during the pandemic.
What’s next: Commissioning into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in the Chemical Corps first, then into Military Intelligence. Sky’s the limit for future location assignments.
If you received financial aid, what did that mean for you and your family? The financial aid I received meant that my family could focus on financially supporting my sister for her schooling as opposed to me. It also meant that I would be coming to Westminster, Maryland, instead of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Tell us a little about your activities, including sports, during your years at McDaniel: I kept myself occupied with ROTC and the Honor and Conduct Board in addition to some laid back extracurriculars: chess and weightlifting. These activities helped me structure my day and feel both fulfilled and productive at the same time.
Do you have a family member who also went to college on the Hill? What does that family legacy mean to you? My father, Mark Buckley, graduated from McDaniel when it was called Western Maryland College in 1988. He was also in the ROTC program here at McDaniel. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my father in order to set myself up for success. I figured the first step would be to attend the same college to grow as a person and to develop the right habits and skills that would best serve me in the military.
How will you stay connected to McDaniel? I intend to keep in touch with professors, faculty, and friends via email, phone, and social media. The connections you make here can last a lifetime … provided that you put in the effort on your end.