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University Report 2015-16 | Students

Students Participate in Political Convention Seminars

"I can’t think of a more meaningful way to take part in political discourse."

Seven SJU students joined 350 others from colleges and universities spanning the country for The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars’ Democratic and Republican National Convention programs in July. Two-week sessions were held in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention and in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. Through academic partnerships with Temple University and Baldwin Wallace University, students attended guest lectures led by prominent political leaders and scholars and then volunteered on the convention grounds.

politics“The Washington Center Academic Seminars at the RNCC and DNCC provided our students the invaluable experience of witnessing and actively participating in the process of nominating our presidential candidates,” says Becki Scola, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of political science, who accompanied the SJU students to the DNCC in Philadelphia. “The seminars and related events were true experiential learning opportunities, and students fully immersed themselves in convention activities. As interns, our students were an integral part of many organizations, including CNN, Fox and the Convention Host Committees, just to name a few.”

International relations major Gage Huber ’17 and communication studies major Erin Cooper ’17 attended the Republican National Seminar in Cleveland. “I had a chance to meet some of the great movers and shakers of our country,” says Huber, “and learn about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making a national convention run smoothly.”

Five students attended the Democratic National Convention seminar in Philadelphia, including political science major Christina Ciconte ’17. “The best part of the program was my placement in the building allowed me to hear all the speeches for four days and encounter many politicians walking to their seats,” she says. Political science majors Max Barrile ’18 and Matthew Slavoski ’17, as well as history majors Julian Chalifoux ’17 and Matthew Sibona ’18, also attended.

“The conventions give students an insider’s perspective on the political process and a front-row seat to history,” says Washington Center President Mike Smith. “This seminar is an immersion into the campaign world, giving students numerous opportunities to study the nomination process from start to finish. I can’t think of a more meaningful way to take part in political discourse."