Photo of Tim Embree

If you work for the federal government, it’s easy to get discouraged by the hyper-partisanship, drama, and general rancor of today’s Washington. That’s what happened—for a moment, at least—to one of Tim Embree’s colleagues recently at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Oh, this is a dark day,” she said.

Embree, a graduate of Georgetown’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, tried to reassure her: “It’s really not as bad as when the vice president tries to overthrow the government.”

That made her feel much better.

Or maybe not. But, for the record, Embree was referring to former Vice President Aaron Burr, who was tried unsuccessfully for treason in 1807 for allegedly planning to create an independent nation in parts of what is now the Southwestern United States and Mexico. (He also shot Alexander Hamilton a few years earlier, so the point is: It could be worse.)

Embree may be an optimist, but he’s hardly a naive one. His worldview comes from years of experience in government, politics, and the military, including two tours of Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and a two-year stint as Special Assistant to former St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

In his work as a Congressional Relations Officer, Embree liaisons with eight North Atlantic state congressional delegations and is a staff member for the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

“We’re fortunate. We deal with a very bipartisan—nonpartisan, really—committee,” he said. “That makes a world of difference.”

He chose the Master’s in Liberal Studies program for its similarly evenhanded—and rigorous—approach to subjects such as history, philosophy, economics, business, and law. For his Capstone, he explored the origins and development of republicanism, America’s form of government.

Georgetown’s rigorous program attracts people from all walks of life, but they have one thing in common, Embree said.

“They appreciate the opportunity to be held to that level of excellence.”