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Student Participates In Washington Semester


Tucker McDonald

Special to the Brackety-Ack

Some of Roanoke College’s most impressive educational offerings exist in their study abroad programs.   Students are literally able to pursue interests around the world.  Although opportunities exist in locales such as Japan, Uganda, and Peru, I have found that one of the most rewarding is stationed domestically.  The Lutheran College Washington Semester, situated in the nation’s capitol, provides students with experiences not available in any other program or city. 

This semester, students can obtain internships at the Department of Justice, the EPA, CSPAN, NCIS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in the Speaker of the House’s office to name a few.  I landed an internship in a Pennsylvania Congressman’s office. My responsibilities are attending Congressional hearings and briefings on behalf of the Congressman and his staff and developing memo’s summarizing salient points of review in order to establish or adjust the positions of the office.  Additionally, I conduct special research projects, manage constituent contacts and correspondence, and perform required administrative duties.  This position allows me to directly contribute to the political process as well as develop a broad understanding of the workings and complexity of our civic structure. Outside of the office I have met various members of the House and the Senate, listened to the heads of the Intelligence community speak, and have plans to tour the Pentagon and White House.

The LCWS program requires four days of internship per week, two night classes, and a weekly field trip.  These field trips allow students to network with high ranking members of the government, corporations, and various organizations.  Furthermore, these weekly trips take you to locations often overlooked on the average field trip to Washington D.C. such as the Newseum, the State Department, and the Supreme Court Building.

Overall this has and continues to be a unique and rewarding experience.  I have to admit, when learning about this study abroad program freshman year I was not impressed after learning about the other global opportunities.  I could not have been more wrong.  This experience has proved to be invaluable in terms of my education and future professional prospects. I have met people from diverse backgrounds and will always remember my time here.  For more information I would encourage you to get in touch with Todd Peppers in the Public Affairs department