The Washington, DC Program is an annual 3-day intensive study tour for first-year MPP students that uses Washington, DC as a case study to map the breadth and depth of the public policy field and showcase the vast career opportunities available to MPP students across industries and sectors.
This year’s program began with attending two oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in the cases of Stoekling v. United States and United States v. Simms/United States v. Stitt. Following arguments, Justice Alito met with MPP students to provide an overview of his duties and day-to-day responsibilities, and students had the opportunity to ask him questions. Students also heard from a panel of lobbyists from both the public and the private sector, including the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Office of Legislative Affairs, and various consulting groups.
Next up, students walked to the Senate Building to meet with Senator, Tim Kaine (D-VA). He discussed his objectives, the challenges he faces as a senator, and a firsthand perspective of the policymaking process. He also welcomed questions from students which covered a range of topics from foreign policy, mental health, and the U.S. military.
After a short metro ride, students arrived at the William & Mary Washington DC Center in Dupont Circle to hear from a panel of MPP alumni about their experience in the program, post-graduation journeys, and present employment. They offered valuable advice on being successful in the MPP program and navigating a future career in public policy. Following the panel, students got to network with alumni and Board of Advisors members from many different fields during a reception, making good use of the nice weather and the W&M DC office’s lovely balcony!
“The DC trip was a phenomenal experience that exposed me to the real world paths that a public policy major can take. From practicing law, to conducting research, to enacting policy, the program revealed the massive variety of applications for a public policy degree. Also, the trip helped introduce us to important contacts across different field, providing us with crucial resources as we begin looking into summer jobs and future careers.” ~Will Neely (BA/MPP ’20)
On the second day of our 2-day trip, we heard from Ambassador Tom Shannon, a private consulting panel of alums from the MPP program, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Students gained valuable insight into a variety of different fields within public policy.
Although the trip was filled with many professional and learning opportunities, it was also a time to decompress and relax with other fellow students! Students enjoyed spending their free time exploring DC restaurants and watching some Monday night football together.
This annual trip provides many students clarity and guidance in their effort to define policy areas and issues of interest and identify organizations they may want to work for in the future. The experience can serve as a pivotal time of discovery for our MPPs!
“I am so thankful to be a part of the William & Mary Public Policy Program. The Washington DC trip exceeded my expectations with days packed full of networking and discussions with a variety of policy makers. The highlight for me was definitely visiting the Supreme Court and further enhanced by the opportunity to have a Q&A session with Justice Alito. The fact that he not only took time out of his busy day to meet with us but answered all of our questions reiterated the wonderful opportunities that this program provides to its students.” ~Christa Martinez (MPP ’20)
The Washington D.C. Program is an essential aspect of this degree program as well as a treasure trove of opportunity for our students to experience just two months into the program. It allows for students to network and make these connections early on so they can begin to cultivate relationships and mentorships throughout the program, summer internships, and ultimately their careers. Although the program sets up MPP students for success by offering these amazing opportunities, it is ultimately up to students to capitalize on the opportunity and take the initiative to achieve their goals. As you can see from our current students’ own words and the success achieved by our alums, it is clear that students continue year after year to choose to invest in themselves and take advantage of the many opportunities afforded to them through the Washington Program. We couldn’t be more proud!
To learn more about past Washington Program trips, please visit us at The MPP Washington Program.
While the Washington Program is surely a highlight of our academic year, we have a lot going on all year long. Be sure to keep up by following W&M Public Policy on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram (@wmpublicpolicy).