Six Carnegie Mellon University undergraduates interested in international and public policy have arrived in Washington, D.C., to begin study in CMU's revamped Washington Semester Program (WSP).
The effort leverages the strength of faculty networks and their policy expertise in the nation's capital.
Under the new format, CMU solely operates all aspects of the program, from academics and internships to events and housing.
"This new Carnegie Mellon program allows us to shape the entire intellectual policy experience in Washington, D.C., for our students instead of having them attend capital-area universities for a semester," said WSP Director Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the university's Center for International Relations and Politics (CIRP), which sponsors the program.
"Many top-tier research universities have a presence in Washington that includes an undergraduate education component. This will give CMU students direct insight into how the government works and interacts with NGOs and other organizations in D.C."
Skinner and Joseph E. Devine, associate dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will each teach a course this spring at CMU's new Capitol Hill office.
Under the new program, CMU will help the students secure internships that match their interests and strengths.
Chloe Hawker (DC'15) is an international relations and politics major who will intern at the Near East Asia Center for Strategic Studies.
Hawker interned on Capitol Hill last summer as a Friedman Fellow and said programs like WSP are vital.
"Opportunities like this make me feel like I will be extremely competitive in either the professional or academic world, whichever I decide to go after leaving CMU," she said.
To complement CMU's offerings in D.C., the university is in the process of joining the University of California Washington Center (UCDC), which provides students and faculty from the UC campuses and guest universities with research and work opportunities.
"Eventually, we will offer a core course and a variety of electives taught by Carnegie Mellon faculty for both CMU and UCDC students in D.C.," Devine said.
For more information about the program and D.C. opportunities, visit the Washington Semester Program website.