For its 10th anniversary, the annual Day on the Hill program offered not only a strong lineup of panels, speakers and site visits, but also new events that proved to be both timely and illuminating. Over the course of just three days this January, nearly two dozen Hobart and William Smith students joined more than 60 alums, parents and friends of the Colleges for an eye-opening journey through the many career paths in Washington, D.C.
The “10th Anniversary Panel,” comprised of Day on the Hill alums, offered students a chance to see firsthand the far-reaching impact of the program. The other new feature on this year’s itinerary was a luncheon with Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen ’69, L.H.D.’01 (R-N.J.) and Congressman Alan S. Lowenthal ’62 (D-Calif.), with a special appearance by Congressman Thomas W. Reed II (R-N.Y.), who represents Geneva and the surrounding area. During lunch and in a roundtable discussion moderated by President Mark D. Gearan, students were able to interact with the Congressmen and engage them in dialogue about their experience in government.
Other events included the keynote address from Vikki Spruill P’12, president and chief executive officer for the Council on Foundations; a series of panels on public policy, advocacy, political strategy and national defense; and the annual reception with students and alums.
“When it comes to reaching out and helping, we have the best alums in the world,” says Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman. “And it makes for a really wonderful experience for students.”
“The fact that our alums give so graciously to our students, offer advice, assistance and suggestions on how to advance in their careers — that has always been the highlight, and this year was no exception,” says DeWayne Lucas, associate professor of political science and associate dean of faculty. “In our 10th year of this program, I’m still impressed with alums and students and the level of effort our colleagues put into making the program better every year.”
This year’s site visits included excursions to the Heritage Foundation, Story Partners, United Nations Foundation, Ripon Society, Partnership for Public Service and the Washington Post. The final day featured a tour of the James J. Rowley Secret Service Training Center Academy and an opportunity to attend hearings at the U.S. Supreme Court, which for Alex LaMonte ’17 was “the highlight of the trip.”
“Last spring, I read a number of Supreme Court cases in the Civil Liberties course I took, so it was really exciting for me to be there in person, listening to the justices speak and watching them interact with one another,” Monte says.
For Rotimi Adeoye ’18, the experience “helped me start thinking about my future, and outlined a clear path to working in the public sector.”
Corey McClintock ’12 — who attended the event twice as a student, once as a young alum panelist and again this year as HWS Associate Director of Leadership Giving — emphasizes the remarkable ways that “alums in the area work to connect students with opportunities and offer advice on careers in D.C. The collaborative nature of this trip between students and alums only further illustrates the beauty of our alumni and alumnae community.”
And as Ami Cammarota Ford ’00 — assistant director of employer development at the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education — notes, “Nearly half of this year’s featured speakers were actually student participants of Day on the Hill during their time at HWS! This is a true testament not only to how effective the program is in preparing students to compete for professional opportunities, but also to the rich tradition of support, respect and generosity that continues beyond HWS.”
“The opportunity is a rare one and the connections you can make are very important,” says Doug Silverman ’16. “But most important of all, the experience means you are now an alum of a tight-knit corps of highly driven members that exists in and around D.C.”
After the events concluded, August Savarese ’17 was waiting for a plane at Reagan International Airport and, in what was “the perfect end to the trip,” ran into New Jersey Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Chris Christie, who was on his way to South Carolina for the GOP National Debate the following night.
When Savarese introduced himself and explained the Day on the Hill program, he recalls, Christie “responded that HWS was a great school and that it was an important and invaluable opportunity for bright young students like ourselves to be down in D.C. learning about possible future careers in the District as well as in politics in general.”