Pictured from left to right: Kaci Morin, Avery Adams, Emmanuel Thombs, Sophia Spriggs, and Caroline Marlow.
Five Wittenberg students gained valuable experience this past semester by participating in the Lutheran College Washington Semester (LCWS) program in Washington, D.C.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Wittenberg’s partnership with the LCWS program. Students first started participating in the fall 1992. Students attending this past fall included Avery Adams, class of 2022 and a political science major from Ripley, Ohio; Caroline Marlow, class of 2023 and a history and political science double major from Rensselaer, Indiana; Kaci Morin, class of 2022 and an exercise science major from Amanda, Ohio; Sophia Spriggs, class of 2021 and an political science major from Springfield, Ohio; and Emmanuel Thombs, class of 2022 and financial economics and political science double major from Raleigh, North Carolina.
The 14-week program allows students to work at an internship four days a week and take two evening classes. In addition, students attend weekly field trips, do community service, and occupy apartments in Rosslyn, Virginia, where the program is located. Operating the program is a consortium of small Lutheran schools collectively called the Lutheran College Washington Semester, where former political science professor at Wittenberg and 1997 alumnus Ed Hasecke recently took over as dean and executive director.
“The Washington Semester program guides students as they develop important professional skills that prepare them for life after college,” he said. “In addition, we expose students to a wide variety of uniquely D.C. experiences that come through the local food scene, the performing arts, national museums, and the history of the nation's capital. As a small program, we get to know each student and mentor them as they define and pursue personal and professional goals.”
The LCWS program is open to all students regardless of major. Internships can be found that are relevant to any major and typically will count as credit toward the completion of the major (although this varies by department). Recently, students have interned with the White House and on Capitol Hill, with major news organizations (Fox, CNN, etc.), political parties, interest groups, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Students are encouraged to find an internship that closely fits their interests.
For example, music major and program participant Shante Leslie, class of 2022 from Bowie, Maryland, is currently interning at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, one of the premier performing centers in the country. Leslie is assisting with event planning and organizing auditions for various performances.
“I think the Witt in Washington, D.C. semester program is one of Wittenberg’s best kept secrets,” said Catherine Waggoner, professor of communication and digital media, who is the campus representative to the Witt in Washington program. “While many on campus have thought this experience is just for political science students, that is not the case. Like our study abroad programs, this is open to students from all majors.
“In addition to taking courses, students work in exciting internships that match their interests and majors. They also network with members of the Wittenberg Washington, D.C. alumni chapter. This is a life-changing experience for many of our students, and any student with the slightest bit of interest should contact me now so we can see how it might fit in your program of study.”
Students are invited to apply during the spring semester prior to the year they wish to participate. The process is competitive, although this should not deter anyone from applying. The application deadline is March 1. To be considered, students must fill out an application and return it to Waggoner at email@example.com. For more information or to apply, click here.
Students who attended the LCWS program this last fall took time to share their thoughts below:
Avery Adams ’22, majoring in political science with minors in justice, law, and public policy (JLPP) and sociology, interned with the U.S. Marshal Service, the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States. At Wittenberg she is an academic services tutor, a member of both the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, the American Sign Language Club secretary, serves on Student Senate, and is the 2022 class president.
“I decided to take the plunge and participate in the LCWS program to see what was waiting for me outside of my coursework. I have many passions and aspirations, and sometimes I struggle to narrow them down to find what is next in the cards for me. I figured going to D.C., the hub of politics, would help me narrow down my interests and help guide me to my future career. The opportunity to have an internship in the nation's capital was something I couldn't pass up.
“My favorite part of this experience was my personal growth. I can see many differences in myself since arriving in D.C. in September, including being more comfortable in professional settings. I am better at making connections, more confident in my abilities as a young professional, and so much more. It truly was a transformative experience. Aside from that, my favorite experience was going on a Segway Tour of the National Mall our first week there. I had never been to D.C. before, and this allowed me to see everything at once essentially. It was so hot, but it was so fun! My next favorite experience was my trip to the top of the Washington Monument during the last full weekend. I was able to look down the National Mall toward the Capitol building and have a whole "wow, I really just lived in D.C. for three whole months" moment. Between the two experiences, I feel like everything came full circle for me.
“I had the opportunity to intern with the United States Marshals Service (USMS), and I would say that this trip helped me decide whether I wanted to pursue a law degree or a master's in public administration (MPA). From this experience, I can successfully say I would like to get my MPA after working for the government for three months. The program was very transformative for me, and I would love others to have this experience. “
Caroline Marlow ’23, history and political science double major on the pre-law track, interned with the Bramer Group, which is rooted in the defense and national Intelligence communities with keen political insight into Congress and the executive branch, and leverages it to assist public, private, and nonprofit clients. At Wittenberg she is the president of the Kappa Delta Sorority Alpha Nu chapter, a member of the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, and is a member of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.
“I participated in the Washington Semester program because I knew it would provide me with amazing opportunities to get a head start on my career. It’s also always been my goal to go to law school and live in Washington, D.C. later in life. This program helped me become more comfortable with making that goal a reality. I worked as a government relations intern with the Bramer Group, LLC, a bipartisan consulting firm focused on foreign affairs and veterans’ healthcare. This role helped me make some decisions about what I want to do later in life. I now have my sights set on obtaining a constitutional or civil rights law degree after graduating from Wittenberg. I hope to work either with a federal government agency or at a private law firm that partners with civil rights activist groups. While I took two classes and worked at my internship, I made so many important professional and personal connections that I will value for the rest of my life.
“I have so many amazing memories that it’s hard to choose just one that was my favorite! Of course, all of our trips to museums and national landmarks were exciting, but one of my favorite places to go was the Eastern Market. While tourist attractions are great, we wanted to find some more local places to support. Eastern Market had multiple vendors selling everything from rugs to jewelry to clothes to paintings to candles to books and even the best breakfast sandwiches you will ever find.
“My second favorite thing I got to do was attend a women’s march for reproductive rights. It was a very powerful and empowering event, and I was glad I had the opportunity to stand up for what I believe in along with thousands of others. I also really enjoyed our trip to the Kennedy Center, where we watched the Hadestown musical performed by Broadway actors. I was also able to go to the congressional baseball game where I saw President Joe Biden make an appearance. Lastly, spending the beginning of the holiday season down at the wharf watching a holiday boat decoration competition parade, ice skating, and listening to the best 2000s throwbacks by a local cover band was definitely a night to remember. LCWS provided us with unlimited U-passes for the metro and buses that made exploring so much easier. Also, the variety and quality of food you find in D.C. is amazing! I would recommend that any student interested in this program spends a semester in Washington, D.C. You won’t regret it!”
Kaci Morin ’22, exercise science major and a minor in biology, interned with Aquila Health. The group works to enable organizations to achieve greater health and well-being efficiency, inspire fitness engagement with consumer-centric services and applications, and improves health outcomes. At Wittenberg, Morin is a member of Alpha Alpha Alpha, Alpha Delta Pi, and is a student leader fellow.
“I chose to participate in the Washington Semester program because I was not able to study abroad in Germany as I had originally planned. I also received encouragement from my roommate, along with the current dean of the program, Dr. Ed Hasecke, to step out of my comfort zone and attend the program.
“My favorite part of the trip was being able to see all of the national history located in D.C. I have never previously been to D.C., and I never took much time to dive into everything the city has to offer before this experience.
“I had an internship at Aquila Health and Fitness. This company provides fitness services to different government agencies. My internship was virtual; however, I was able to learn a lot and apply many of the things that I have learned in the classroom. This experience has boosted my confidence in myself in succeeding in the workplace. I have learned how to manage team projects, communicate effectively, and balance a full-time internship while also in school. There really was no better real-world preparation for the future than this.”
Sophia Spriggs ’21, political science major with minors in Spanish and economics, interned in the office of Rob Portman, Republican senator for Ohio.
“I participated in the Washington Semester program because coming to Wittenberg, I knew I wanted to study abroad, but with COVID, some of the opportunities were unavailable to travel outside of the country. One of my professors asked if I was interested in possibly studying in D.C. The opportunities and trips we did within the program were extremely interesting and very cool. My favorite part of the trip has been the field trips that the program plans for the students. My internship this fall has been on the ‘Hill’ with Ohio Senator Rob Portman. The internship has been such a great learning experience and very enlightening. This experience has benefited my future career by the network I have obtained from my internship, and it has been insightful for what I would like to do after I graduate and farther down the road.”
Emmanuel Thombs ’22, political science and international political economy double major, interned at the Embassy of Bahrain in Washington, D.C., the diplomatic mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States. Thombs, named the Campus Compact 2020 Newman Civic Fellow and the 2021 Charles B. Rangel Scholar, is heavily involved at Wittenberg as a member and president of Student Senate, a writing center advisor, a resident advisor for the Witten ‘burbs, a member of the Entrepreneurship Fellowship program, and involved in Minority Men Striving to Succeed.
“In D.C., I really wanted to learn more about things I may not be necessarily interested in and get out of my comfort zone. This allowed me to reconsider my current path and be more open to other opportunities I may not currently be considering. This internship helped me develop the writing and research skills critical for work in public policy. In the future, I hope to apply the skills I learned at the embassy in the private sector, working as a consultant or assisting a corporation with policy-related initiatives. Before I went to D.C., I didn't quite envision this as my career path; however, my time in D.C. was invaluable in helping me realize my true passions. Additionally, I really wanted to focus on networking. Overall, I believe that this experience will be invaluable in my educational experience.”