Internship opportunities brighten under new administration

Meghan Parmentier

Eight students who travelend to Washington D.C. for the inauguration held a panel discussion to share their experiences on Friday Feb. 6, on campus.

Professor Scott McLean is the Washington D.C. Programs Faculty Liaison, and works with students and departments to set up semesters in Washington for Quinnipiac credit. This is the first time McLean has hosted this type of event.

“I put on this event because for the first time in many years, I see college students excited about the new Obama administration and interested in career opportunities in public service,” McLean said.

Pictures and video from the class’ experience were playing behind the students as they spoke. The students answered questions from McLean and their small audience of students and professors.

The students agreed that the most important thing about the trip was the opportunity to network. Sophomore political science major Louis Venturelli is very interested in working in Washington, D.C. or attending graduate school there.
“My main purpose was networking and I did just that,” Venturelli said.

“Washington is going to start spending a lot more money and opportunities will be opening up,” McLean said. “These will be going to people with experience–people who had internships. Internships are the primary doorway into jobs in politics, administration and journalism in Washington.”

“I was surprised how accessible everybody was,” Kerry Dolan, a senior history major, said. “I thought they were all so removed from the public even though they work for the public. But they really do want to talk to you.”

“Many of our students attended the Obama inauguration two weeks ago and I wanted to tap into their enthusiasm. I led 16 QU students through an intense seminar on the new president for 10 days in Washington and I wanted to let the students talk about it,” he said. “They learned a lot about the opportunities for young people in Washington and the political science department wanted to spread the word about the internship possibilities on Capitol Hill, the White House, the pentagon, media and issue advocacy.”

Answers about their favorite speakers included the ambassador of Pakistan, Ted Koppel and Press Secretary Dana Perino.
“It’s a semester-worth of work in 10 days and puts it in perspective what life is like in Washington,” senior media production major T.J. Fitzpatrick said.

All the students raved about the living accommodations and experiences on the trip. They stayed in the new residences available to the program, located in Rockville, Md.

“Even though we were only there for a seminar, we got a taste of what it’s like to be in that environment; getting up every day and commuting in our business clothes,” Dolan said.

Quinnipiac is affiliated with two Washington D.C. institutions, The Washington Center and American University, which provide onsite classes and internships. Any major can enroll in the program for credit. A 3.0 GPA is required for participation, as well as clearance by the department of the student’s major. For those interested, a recruiter from the Washington Center is coming to campus Feb. 23 for an information session on Washington D.C. semester programs.

“There’s just so much a textbook can do. Learning outside of the classroom is extremely effective and Washington is the way to do it,” Venturelli said.