Michael Wilner got his first taste of the workings of the American government when he was still in high school. In the summer of 2004, he took on an internship in the office of Charles Schumer, the US Senator from New York. Two years later, he worked in the office of Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. This practical experience in the legislators’ offices served Michael Wilner well when in 2007, he entered Claremont McKenna College in the school’s special Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program. Cultivating an excellent academic record, he qualified for the school’s prestigious McKenna Achievement Award, a competitive scholarship for which he earned each of his four years at the College.
During his academic career, Michael Wilner gained a deeper and broader knowledge of current events and those individuals who influence them. For example, he served two broadcast internships, one for CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 in New York City, and another with a correspondent covering the Parliament for the BBC in London. Wilner learned how to conduct in-depth research for news reporting. He assisted with several other tasks, such as managing a news blog and scheduling interviews.
Wilner’s BBC internship came during the fall of his junior year when he participated in the Hansard Scholars Programme, a semester-long course sponsored by the Hansard Society, the organization dedicated to promoting parliamentary democracy. His semester in London followed on the heels of a summer in Singapore where he interned for the Straits Times newspaper. During his time with this newspaper, Michael Wilner received a 10-day assignment to India that generated a serious analysis of US-Indian relations under his byline in the paper’s Sunday edition. In Claremont, California, Michael Wilner served the academic community as Managing Editor of the Claremont Port Side, a print and online magazine oriented to students of current events. He also served the College as a member of the student government’s executive board and as Editor-in-Chief of the CMC Forum, the student newspaper. In this role, he interviewed Mitt Romney, the Presidential candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts.