The Roundtable Washington Scholars award expands access to students who might otherwise not be able to spend a semester working and studying CMC’s Washington Program by defraying the cost of living expenses.. This unique program enables students to take courses from CMC faculty in Washington, DC, while interning full-time in a breadth of areas, such as legislating and policymaking, journalism and communications, international relations and foreign policy, and civil rights and legal affairs. Students gain valuable internship experience and make the connections needed to become leaders in their chosen field. This award is provided through the generous support of the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Fall 2016 Roundtable Washington Scholars
Rebecca Ayala is a junior at Claremont McKenna College studying government and history. During her time on the Washington D.C. Program, she worked at EMILY’s List in the Research Department. EMILY’s List is an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to local, state, and federal office. While at EMILY’s List, Rebecca gained research experience that she learned is vital to a candidate’s success. During her time in DC, she also had the opportunity to travel and volunteer for nearby congressional and senate races. She is excited to use these skills and continue working on campaigns after graduation. When she wasn’t working hard before the election, she spent time exploring the many museums around D.C. Rebecca has enjoyed her time in Washington D.C. and is excited to return in the Spring.
Mohamad Batal is a junior double majoring in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE) and Government at Claremont McKenna. During his semester in DC, Mohamad is interning in the Governance Studies Research Program at the Brookings Institution, primarily working with Senior Fellows William Galston and E.J. Dionne. He has particularly enjoyed working on columns with both scholars, editing E.J.’s biweekly Washington Post column for grammar, flow, and content, while periodically conducting targeted research for Dr. Galston’s weekly Wall Street Journal column. Issues covered ranged from election predictions to criminal justice reform to the role of religion in politics, and the think tank setting has taught him a great deal about the changing role of research in policy making. In addition, he has been able to attend timely and thought-provoking events at Brookings and around DC, draft useful research memos, and publish his own piece (entitled Toward Better Refugee Camps) on the Brookings-affiliated Lawfare Blog. The D.C. Program was certainly strenuous, but Mohamad is confident that he learned a great deal about himself and his future career path because of it.
Andrew Blanchard-Reed is a junior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in Government and Philosophy. While in Washington D.C., Andrew worked at Future of Privacy Forum as a communications intern. As a communications intern, Andrew helped develop a strategic plan for the department, generated content for FPF’s website, and sat in on negotiations with vendors. Future of Privacy Forum is a non-profit organization that promotes the responsible use of consumer data, and while working there, Andrew learned an incredible amount about the intersection of privacy and emerging technology. He also saw how a top-notch organization operates in a cutting-edge industry, and was able to think about communications on a higher level than he had at previous internships. Through his participation in the Washington Program, Andrew built some valuable connections and learned a lot about what life after graduation might look like.
Spring 2016 Roundtable Washington Scholars
Christopher Humphreys worked with the Government Affairs team at the Center for American Progress (CAP), completing research and participating in lobbying efforts related to issues such as healthcare, criminal justice reform, and higher education. In particular, Christopher enjoyed learning about the interplay between different political organizations, and getting some first-hand experience in strategically working to accomplish policy goals. His work at CAP was relevant to the material covered in both the foreign and domestic policy classes, which gave him perspectives he would not have been able to (fully) appreciate taking classes back on campus. While the workload was trying, the overall experience has better prepared me for a career in the political world, and I am very appreciative of my experiences here in D.C.
Victor Lopez is a third-year student at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) studying government and legal studies. While participating in CMC’s Washington DC Program, he worked for the LGBT Team at the Center for American Progress (CAP). CAP is a liberal think tank that works on creating and advancing progressive policy. While at CAP, Victor conducted legal research on LGBT dignitary harm, worked on a rule recommendation for Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, worked on a LGBT data collection project, and began a study on immigration detention data. He also did research on anti-LGBT bills in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. During his time in DC, Victor learned about the role of think tanks in public policy and got inspiration for his senior thesis.
Steph Wong is a junior majoring in Government at CMC. She spent her semester in DC interning on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who represents Massachusetts’ third district. She walked past the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress every day to get to work. For her internship she conducted research, wrote memos, attended briefings, and coordinated office operations. One particular focus of hers was federal management of natural resources (the Congresswoman is a member of the Natural Resources Committee). When she wasn’t running around the House office buildings, Steph spent time preparing for class, attending rugby and soccer matches around DC, and visiting the Smithsonian museums. She especially enjoyed taking Professor Haskell’s class on the evolution of the political parties. Her internship helped her form a better understanding of how the government works and the role the parties play in its daily operation. She has enjoyed her time in Washington and is excited to return back to campus in the Fall.
Fall 2015 Roundtable Washington Scholars
Grace Lee is a junior majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. During fall 2015, Grace interned with the Human Resources Subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. Her responsibilities were primarily centered on assisting committee staff with research on programs and legislation within the jurisdiction of the subcommittee. Grace verified legislative drafting changes to a major proposal to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to aid staff in preparing to introduce the bill to the Committee. She also conducted research on state and federal spending on safety net programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Tax Credit, child support, foster care, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Finally, Grace developed and designed graphics and charts for highlighting challenges in reforming safety net programs using the 2014 U.S. Census Poverty Data for the Committee’s website and blog. One of the most meaningful experiences in her internship was assisting Subcommittee staff in preparing for and operating multiple congressional hearings. Through being immersed in the Ways and Means Committee, she learned about the legislative process in great depth, from understanding the role of committee staff versus personal office staff and the process of negotiations between the Republican and Democratic staff for major bills, such as the reauthorization bill for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Eugene Nandwa is a junior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in International Relations with a concentration in International Economics. During the Fall 2015 semester, Eugene participated in the Washington Program where he worked at Squire Patton Boggs, a law and public policy firm. Eugene worked as a public policy intern who floated between many different practice areas, but served mostly the international policy, education policy, and healthcare policy groups. Eugene was able to conduct policy and legislative research as well as attend client meetings with staffers and members of Congress on Capitol Hill. In addition to the internship Eugene attended classes with Professor Haskell and Professor Peek and wrote a research paper regarding the presence of Al-Shabaab in East Africa for Professor Wolfson. While the combination of school and work was stressful at times, Eugene learned the importance of doing good work each time it was asked, no matter how trivial or elephantine the task.
Tamara Skinner is a junior majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. In Washington DC, Tamara interned for Congressman David Schweikert who represents Arizona’s sixth district. Through her internship, Tamara gained exposure to the inner workings of a Congressional personal office. She conducted research on bills, put together memos on policy issues, and drafted constituent correspondence. In addition, Tamara attended various hearings, markups, and briefings on behalf of staff. Her daily tasks also included compiling news clips, logging constituent mail, and assisting office staff with other administrative duties. Working on Capitol Hill allowed her to strengthen various professional skills and to witness first-hand the federal political process in action. Not only did Tamara gain knowledge about how Congress operates, but she also learned more about the national issues important to Arizona citizens. Tamara enjoyed coming to class and engaging in discussions on the very same political matters she dealt with each day at work.