A group of 21 Hobart and William Smith students rounded out their winter break with a three-day excursion to Washington, D.C., as part of the Colleges’ 11th annual Day on the Hill program. The trip featured panel discussions and site visits with more than 30 HWS alums, allowing students to gain a glimpse into the wide range of career opportunities in the nation’s capital.
“No matter a student’s set of career interests, there was an HWS alum ready to share his or her knowledge, advice and experience,” says Mary Kubinski ’17. “As a senior interested in a career in D.C., the ability to talk to young alums about their academic to career transitions offered invaluable ‘real world’ insight.”
The D.C. visit was led by Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas, Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman, Assistant Director of the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education R.J. Rapoza and Assistant Director of Career Services and Pre-Law Adviser Lindsay McGloon. The program kicked off with a reception at the Majority Group in which students had the chance to talk to alums who offered advice about careers in D.C., networking at the Capitol and what to consider throughout the Day on the Hill experience. Students then heard from keynote speaker Peyton Craighill ’94 who serves as State Department Chief of Opinion Research, Division Chief, Europe and Asia. Later that day, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen ’69 (R-N.J.), L.H.D. ’01 gave a talk about contemporary politics.
The program continued with a series of themed panel discussions, allowing alums to share their experiences breaking into and thriving in a diverse set of politically oriented careers. Panels ranged from “Policy and Advocacy” to “Sustainable Development” and “Elections and Campaigns,” demonstrating the many paths alums have pursued. In addition, alums reflected on the influence of their liberal arts education and provided students with advice on how to take advantage of every opportunity to get a head start.
“Like past years, alums impressed upon current students the values of a liberal arts education, networking, and persistence in staking out a career in Washington,” Lucas says. “Reflecting on their college experiences, the alums stressed developing writing and quantitative skills, awareness of historical and contemporary events – and how they relate to one another, and a broad education in the intersections of the world.”
Students also visited alums in their workplaces, including tours of the U.S. Secret Service Headquarters, the newsroom at the Washington Post, the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, Heritage Foundation and more. For many students such as political science and English double major Clayton Lyons ’17, the site visits provided insight into how the theories and themes discussed in the classroom are employed in careers across the political spectrum.
“I enjoyed getting a taste of the environment and culture in D.C.,” Lyons says. “I’ve studied politics but am starting to understand how that applies in the real world.”
Students also met individually with alums at networking events. “HWS alums love to give back and help our students and this was a very valuable experience for them all,” says Lucas.