Focused on Creating Change

Ethan Barnes '26 in front of the capitol.

Student Snapshot: Ethan Barnes ’26

Ethan Barnes ’26 (political science, history) was recently sworn in as the youngest person in Carlisle’s history to serve as the town’s civil service commissioner. He’s also a student-director for Reform Alliance, co-chair of Ballot PA and president of the Pre-Law Society, who’s interned with the American Civil Liberties Union. Barnes is also volunteering on a congressional campaign and wrapping up a research fellowship through Georgetown University that focuses on police de-escalation training and its effects on juvenile detention rates.


Washington, D.C.


Political science and history.

Clubs and organizations:

Political Science Majors Committee, History Majors Committee, Ballot PA (co-chair), Reform Alliance (student-director of policy strategy), congressional campaign for Janelle Stelson, Pre-Law Society (president), civil service commissioner of Carlisle and Georgetown University Research Fellow.


Eastman Scholarship and Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Stipend and Conference.

Best thing about my majors:

History helps me understand how past events shape our current world, while political science offers insights into how we address problems through governance.

Favorite professor:

I've really liked the interdisciplinary aspects of Associate Professor of History Emily Pawley's classes. She does a great job of making her classes interesting through unique short readings from a wide range of writers from various backgrounds. I would definitely recommend taking a class with her if you can.

About my involvement in the local community:

In December I was appointed by the Carlisle mayor to serve a three-year term as a civil service commissioner, becoming the youngest person in Carlisle's history to do so. On the Civil Service Commission, I do things like approve civil service exams for officers, help establish qualifications for police positions, review promotion credentials and sit in on police interviews. For Reform Alliance, I help develop and implement strategies to influence public policy on criminal justice reform around the country. Recently, I've been working with a team of lobbyists and the offices of Congresswoman Sewell and Congressman Frost to encourage the implementation of diversion programs on a federal level. Though the adjustment to my responsibilities has taken time, I've really enjoyed my experience so far. 

Proudest accomplishment so far: 

Recently, I've worked with Reform Alliance to help pass Senate (PA) Bill 838, which will reform many aspects of probation in Pennsylvania. I care deeply about criminal justice reform, so having the opportunity to work with politicians to create change in Pennsylvania has been awesome.

About my internship:

My favorite internship was with the ACLU's National Political Advocacy Department, where I worked as a legislative research intern. Researching topics like gerrymandering helped me increase my understanding of policies that exacerbate racial inequalities in voting.

About my research:

This semester, I will be conducting research as part of a fellowship at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, specifically at the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform. My research will focus on how police de-escalation training affects juvenile incarceration rates in Washington D.C.

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published March 6, 2024