Carnegie Mellon University

CMU/WSP Alumni: Where Are They Now?

CMU/WSP Alumni share where they are now, and how the Washington Semester Program helped them get there.

Victor Tavarez

Victor Tavarez completed the Washington Semester Program in the Spring 2017 Semester.

CMU/WSP Semester: Spring 2017
Major: International Relations and Politics
Internship: House Committee on Small Business; Office of Representative Nydia Velázquez (NY-7)

Current Role: Associate at FSG

"My semester at CMU/WSP was a transformative experience that helped me gain a better understanding of the sectors that govern our society. While working in Congress, I witnessed the day-to-day development of federal policy while interacting with advocates of causes ranging from environmentalism to marijuana decriminalization. Additionally, through my course work I received specialized attention from field experts and mentorship on how best to represent myself through my work. Lastly, living with and attending class with a set group of students working in different sectors in DC helped me learn from their work experiences as well.

"For anyone participating in the program, I would suggest building deep connections with your peers, instructors, and co-workers. They will become your friends and professional allies who will help you seek your success. I'd also recommend taking advantage of the showcase of expertise across the city. There are many free events and activities that you can attend to learn about topics from subject experts, it is a great way to expand your interests and feed your curiosity."

Emmett Eldred

Emmett Eldred completed the Washington Semester Program in the Spring 2016 Semester

CMU/WSP Semester: Spring 2016
Majors: Creative Writing; Professional Writing; Ethics, History & Public Policy
Internship: Office of Representative Brendan Boyle (PA-13)

Current Role: Youth Ministry Assistant, Church of the Brethren

"The Washington Semester Program was my most formative semester at CMU for my career trajectory in politics, policy, and advocacy. Yes, my internship in the office of Rep. Brendan Boyle was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But it went beyond that. The classes were unlike anything I had taken before: some taught or visited by prominent thought leaders, while others gave me and my cohort of WSP the chance to process and build upon our professional experiences in a safe, supportive, and challenging setting. It was also inspiring to be in the place where so much happens. During WSP, I was able to both witness and jump into that world by attending briefings and panels, networking with established professionals, and taking full advantage of the many, many opportunities for free food. I can safely say that without the WSP--the people met and friendships built, the issues experienced and explored, the knowledge and skills gained--I would never have decided to apply to law school to continue an advocacy career first set into motion during that memorable and irreplaceable semester in DC."

Satvika Neti

Satvika Neti completed the Washington Semester Program in the Fall 2014 semester.

CMU/WSP Semester: Fall 2014
Majors: International Relations & Politics; Policy & Management
Internship: Center for American Progress - Education Team

Current Role: Digital Social Justice Advocate at the Women and Girls Foundation

"Participating in the Washington semester program was one of the first times that I truly understood the full value of existing in the liminal spaces between fields, disciplines, and sectors. It helped me broaden my horizons of what was possible in the world and changed what I wanted to do with my life. It was such an impactful experience, both personally and professionally. I had so many experiences I never would have had without it, and know that I would be a completely different person if I hadn't done the program. I recommend it to everyone I meet now, and especially folks that aren't sure that DC or politics is for them - I'd argue that's exactly where we need you."

Max Goetschel

Max Goestschel completed the Washington Semester Program in Spring 2015.

CMU/WSP Semester: Spring 2015
Major: International Relations & Politics; Policy & Management
Internship: U.S. Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President

Current Role: Senior Associate, Data Science, Sony

"CMU/WSP equipped me with information about policy, politics, and the journalists that observe both. If you are interested in advocacy, policy research, or political writing, DC is a great place to learn how to do it. Because I spent my spring in DC, I was able to develop the expertise and connections that landed me my summer internship at the White House.

"Don't assume your degree determines your entire career. You can always reimagine and reinvent!"

Jahque Bryan-Gooden

Jahque Bryan-Gooden completed the Washington Semester Program in Spring 2015.

CMU/WSP Semester: Spring 2015
Major: Decision Science
Internship: Center for American Progress - Education Team

Current Role: Research and Policy Analyst, NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools

During CMU/WSP "I learned the importance of determining what I value in a career and workplace, and to this very day that has helped me determine which positions are right for me and which are not. I believe that my internship and connecting with the guest speakers solidified my career goals - to pursue a career in education policy. In fact, thanks to the Washington Semester Program I secured a summer internship with one of the guest speakers and was so certain of my interest in education policy that I pursued a masters in Education Policy after graduating from CMU.

"Anyone can get an internship but coupling a semester-long internship with coursework and networking opportunities is an experience that will teach you about work-life balance, professionalism, and politics. While at CMU the stereotype was that CMU students are in a bubble. The CMU/WSP is a chance to burst that bubble."