Meet alum Craig Anderson '09! Craig discusses what he has been doing since leaving Rabun Gap, the faculty members that had the biggest impact on him, and his hopes for the school in the coming years.
Tell us what you have been up to since leaving Rabun Gap? College, job, location, life changes?
Life has flown by since leaving RGNS in 2009! After graduating from the University of Alabama, I got my foot in the door with a Congressional internship. Soon after I was hired by Congressman Austin Scott and managed to work my way up the totem pole from staff assistant to legislative director, where I oversaw his policy team and primarily focused on his agricultural portfolio. After almost 8 years in Washington, D.C. and working for the U.S. House of Representatives, I recently began my new role as the director of government affairs for the Georgia Forestry Association.
How did Rabun Gap help to prepare you for your current or future job and/or what made you decide to pursue a government job in Washington D.C?
Rabun Gap offered the incredible opportunity to grow and study with people with unique backgrounds from all across the world. It’s hard to imagine a better place to learn that it’s ok to have differing thoughts and ideas but at the end of the day you should treat people with respect and work to find common ground. That was a core principle of mine working in Washington, D.C. and one that I will continue to live by.
Is there a specific faculty member, coach, or dorm parent who had a particular important impact on you?
This is the question I was dreading. I was lucky to have numerous faculty members and staff that supported me throughout my time at RGNS and many that I still keep in touch with. While I would love to give a shout out to each and every one of them, it would be an exhausting list and no one has time to read through that. Given my career path, I would say that Doc Truslow and Mark Henning sparked a profound interest in me for government affairs and challenged me to think outside of the box.
What advice would you give to a current Rabun Gap student?
My advice to current students would be to cherish the time you have at RGNS and take full advantage of the resources there. Don’t be afraid to take risks, your fellow classmates and teachers will be there to help. This is the time to begin thinking about what interests you and what kind of career could pair well with those interests. Don’t wait until junior or senior year, start brainstorming now. Once you have some ideas, take advantage of the school’s alumni network. I’m sure many of us would be more than happy to help you with your journey.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Rabun Gap?
As a day student, I always envied the bonds that were made by the students who boarded at RGNS. So some of my favorite memories were made when we had our intersession trips to places like Savannah; Washington, DC, the Appalachian Trail; and of course Disney World. The long bus rides, and limited movie selections, always made for a great time to get to know people in my grade that I didn’t always have the opportunity to know as well as others that I shared classes, sports, or extracurricular activities with. One of my favorite memories was when I decided to lighten the load of my backpack (and encouraged others to do so) while on the Appalachian trail by chucking giant cubes of cheese off a cliff. For those on my trip that craved cheese, I sincerely apologize but have zero regrets.
What are your hopes for Rabun Gap in the next 10-20 years?
My hope is that the school continues to thrive as an institution that embraces a diverse student body and one that will allow students to be able to have differing opinions. Letting students learn from one another could hopefully allow them to see that the world isn’t nearly as polarizing as one might think from watching the news.
Anything else you would like to say?
Thank you for the opportunity! I’m a proud alumnus and look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making some new ones at future events.