Each year during winter break, the Day on the Hill event highlights for student attendees the array of successful careers Hobart and William Smith alums pursue in and around Washington, D.C. And with returning speakers and panelists alongside recent graduates — many of whom are Day on the Hill alums themselves — the program’s 10th year promises to be the most wide-ranging and illuminating trip yet.
Students will be led by Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas and Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman in conjunction with the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional, and Experiential Education. During the event’s three days, the group will see a broad cross-section of D.C. professional life — in governmental and nongovernmental sectors, on Capitol Hill and off, at the liberal and conservative ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between.
“What began as a one-day event where we arrived at 8 a.m. and left by 5 p.m. now has evolved into this three-day extravaganza with many opportunities for students to learn from and interact with people who are working in and around D.C.,” Lucas says, “We’re doing a number of things differently this year to commemorate the 10th anniversary.”
The 2016 Day on the Hill event will begin on Monday, Jan. 11 with a keynote address from Vikki Spruill P’12, president and chief executive officer for the Council on Foundations. Panels later that day will explore living and working on the Hill with information about careers inpublic policy, advocacy, political strategy and national defense.
The site visits the following day include excursions to the Heritage Foundation, Story Partners, the United Nations Foundation, the Ripon Society, the Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service.
In the evenings, students will have the opportunity to engage with alums, parents and other Day on the Hill participants during two receptions, including the special 10th Anniversary Reception and New Year Gathering sponsored by Joanne Lyons Dunne ’73 and featuring President Mark D. Gearan.
On the final day, Wednesday, Jan. 13, students have the option to attend demonstrations and a tour at the James J. Rowley Secret Service Training Center Academy or attend hearings at the U. S. Supreme Court.
Beyond the special reception, this year’s itinerary features lunch with Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen ’69, L.H.D.’01 (R-N.J.) and possibly other members of Congress, as well as a special event titled “Where are They Now? 10th Anniversary Panel,” during which Lucas, Deutchman and students in the audience will engage with young alums about their post-Day on the Hill, post-graduate career paths.
“It’s a great chance for students to hear a variety of perspectives,” Deutchman says. “They get to meet people with long and distinguished careers, and also people on the alum panel in their late 20s and 30s. It’s important for students to see someone who graduated six or seven years ago and is on track to be a partner in a law firm. They see what options are available.”
As they reflect on the history of the Day on the Hill event, Deutchman and Lucas both emphasize that Hadley Sosnoff ’06, a partner at the D.C. consulting firm The Majority Group, and Will Cox ’06, a senior associate at Hickey & Associates, LLC., bear a good deal of responsibility for the program.
“They were senior political science majors looking for jobs in D.C.,” Deutchman recalls, “and they came to me and DeWayne and said, ‘There are obviously a lot of HWS alums that you know — you guys should arrange a day or two in D.C. where you take seniors or juniors, people looking for jobs, and introduce them around.'”
“They both went off to D.C. and continued the conversations with me and Iva and became integral in setting up meetings, finding spaces in the Capital, identifying great speakers,” Lucas says.
After last year’s event, Sosnoff, now a longtime participant, remarked how impressed he has been each year “with the students that participate in the program. It’s been extremely rewarding to see so many of those students transition to fascinating jobs in diverse fields in Washington, D.C. We’re also very fortunate to have so many committed HWS alums willing to extend their experiences and counsel about Washington, D.C.”
Between the returning Day on the Hill panelists like Sosnoff, and the recent graduates and new D.C. transplants, Deutchman and Lucas anticipate “the firsthand experience” and the “exposure to different perspectives” coming together as in past years to showcase the thrills and challenges that the nation’s capital has to offer.