When Patrick Aimone came to college, he was looking for a rich academic environment with opportunities for personal development and holistic education. He was a Tocqueville Fellow throughout his four years at Notre Dame and said that the program helped to create spaces for debate and dialogue, while also offering him academic opportunities and close friendships.
“I have people ask me about the Tocqueville Fellowship all the time, and what I always tell students is that Tocqueville is the best community on this campus where you can seriously think about questions of political thought over four years. Because Tocqueville does such a good job bringing together a diversity of students who are united by their interests in these subjects, you can think through things more subtly than you would be able to otherwise,” he said.
Aimone graduated with a major in political science and minors in Constitutional Studies, the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, the Glynn Family Honors Program, and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Of the 30 political science classes he took, he enjoyed his political theory classes the most.
“My favorite classes throughout, from my freshman year humanities seminar to a senior seminar I took this year, have all had in common a focus on close-reading and in-depth analysis of political theory,” he explained.
During his freshman year, a friend encouraged Aimone to apply for the Tocqueville Fellowship. “I was fortunate to encounter the fellowship that early, because I think if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have had a sense of just how expansive the opportunities for studying political theory are here at Notre Dame,” he said.
As a student, Aimone founded the Student Policy Network, held a leadership position in the College Democrats club, and volunteered for local political campaigns. “If you think that political theory matters, you have to participate in policy debates,” he explained, “That’s why I founded the Student Policy Network–because the alternative is that political theory and practice continue to be siloed apart from each other.”
Aimone spent the summer after his freshman year doing direct service at the US-Mexico border, and immigration is an issue that remains close to his heart. “I’ve chose to focus on immigration in both a policy aspect through advocacy, as well as through my academic studies,” he said. Aimone wrote his senior thesis, which was advised by CCCG Director Phillip Muñoz, about religious freedom in the sanctuary movement.
As a Tocqueville Fellow, Aimone participated in colloquia on topics such as immigration, the political thought of Frederick Douglass, and abortion. He explained: “[These colloquia] are exactly the kind of fora that you wish all of our political discussions could be happening in. They were informed, intelligent, honest, and a really good model for political discussion.”
“As I grew as a person at Notre Dame, a big part of that was my exposure to role models in other students–older or simply more mature–that the Tocqueville Fellowship brought together. I’ve been super thankful for that,” he said.
Aimone will spend two years working as an international trade specialist for McDermott Will & Emery before matriculating to Harvard Law School in 2024 as part of the law school’s Junior Deferral Program.