Service Near Home: Emmitt Sklar ’21

Emmitt Sklar ’21

Emmitt Sklar ’21 has always been most interested in the foreign policy side of his political science studies, but he now finds himself looking through the local lens. The Brooklyn, New York native is making a difference in countless lives close to home.

As a student, Sklar received the John M. Belk scholarship. He participated in the Davidson in Washington program, studied abroad in Amman, Jordan, and went to Poland on a Chaplains’ Office-sponsored trip called “Exploring Our Jewish Identity.” It was on this trip when Sklar learned about colleges and universities shutting down due to COVID-19. Eager to help, he became a co-chair of the COVID-19 Response Team upon his return to campus and also helped by designing and implementing a fundraiser to support the college’s Student Emergency Fund. 

He was a member of the Student Government Association (SGA) three out of his four years at Davidson, serving as president his sophomore and junior year. During his two terms at the helm, the SGA worked to eliminate fines in the Student Conduct Code and replace them with a restorative justice policy; initiated an off-campus shuttle service system; and created a micro-grant program where students could receive funding to support sustainability projects. 

As a campus leader, some experiences stand out as particularly impactful. For Sklar, one of those moments involved an issue between the Town of Davidson police  and a Davidson student. His efforts to defuse a tense situation inspired him to pursue a job related to police misconduct. 

Starting in the summer of 2021, immediately following graduation, Sklar worked as an investigator at the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, investigating police misconduct. He reviewed body-cam footage, deposed officers and wrote recommendations based on his findings. 

“It was really impactful and interesting work, and I liked it a lot … even if it was sometimes tragic work,” he said.

In December 2021, he adjusted his direction and began working as the director of communications and public engagement for New York City District 7 Council Member Shaun Abreu. 

“It’s exciting work, and it keeps me really busy,” Sklar said. “I love getting the chance to work for someone I really respect and believe in.” 

Some of Sklar’s tasks include writing speeches, doing press conferences and interviews and helping formulate Abreu’s policies and advising on how to present them. 

Though he always thought he would get into foreign policy work right away, this path has allowed him to see a different perspective and learn from leaders near his home. 

“It’s exciting for me too, growing up here, to be able to impact my community as much as I can through this job,” he said. “Local politics is very small-seeming sometimes because it’s [about] trash, sanitation, snow and that kind of thing, but sometimes our work is exactly what affects people’s actual day-to-day lives.” 

Looking ahead, Sklar is pretty sure any career moves will keep him in New York. 

New York, luckily, is a very international city,” he said. “Even on the local side, there is a lot of involvement with different groups of people and different places, so I think I’ll find [the foreign policy aspect] in the context of the city.”


  • February 24, 2022