Aaron Whitehead developed an interest in practicing law while still in high school. Given his career aspirations, majoring in Political Science at the U seemed like the logical choice. After taking an anniversary trip to Boston with his wife and exploring the Freedom Trail, Whitehead quickly declared History as a minor.
Given his areas of interest, Whitehead inevitably spent much of his university experience in the old OSH building on campus. Whitehead often found himself in front of the bulletin board outside of the Hinckley Institute, looking at the different internship opportunities available.
In addition to his many other campus involvements, including serving on the Government Relations Board for ASUU and working as Station Manager at K.U.T.E Student Radio, Whitehead completed two Hinckley internships. Whitehead interned with the Utah Museum of Natural History as a political intern, researching federal funding of the arts. He also worked as a legislative intern during the 1997 Legislative Session. Whitehead found his legislative experience particularly impactful.
During this internship, Whitehead worked with former Governor Mike Leavitt, specifically with the elections department and constituent affairs. During his internship, Whitehead had the opportunity to shadow then Lieutenant Governor Olene Walker for a day. He recounts a particularly fond memory of driving her down to Ephraim where she was scheduled to speak at a chamber of commerce meeting. As they were driving down the highway, Whitehead spotted his dad’s car ahead. Whitehead told Walker that it was his dad’s birthday, and Walker insisted they pull the car up next to his dad.
As I pulled up next to my dad, she rolled down her window, leaned out, waving both of her arms yelling, "Happy birthday, Jay! Happy birthday!" My dad looked down with the most confused look on his face and then saw me and broke out in laughter. Olene Walker and I talked the entire time down and back. She spoke of her love of education and the people of Utah. She is one of the most genuine people I have met. Years later, she spoke at Olympus, I went up and re-introduced myself. She was just as genuine as she was twenty years prior.
Whitehead graduated from the U in 1999. He was encouraged to look into teaching by his wife, who was an elementary school teacher. He found his place in the classroom and has been teaching ever since. He teaches at Olympus High School and primarily teaches U.S. Government and Citizenship. Whitehead’s Hinckley internships taught him the importance of real world experiences and the value of learning from industry experts. He has brought that insight into his classroom over the years by having guest speakers, such as governors, U.S. senators, judges, attorneys, and state legislators speak to his students.
My time at the Hinckley Institute provided me with firsthand experience. I wanted the same for my students.
In addition to teaching, Whitehead is entering his twelfth season as the head football coach at Olympus, where they have won seven region championships.