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Participants in UGA’s Washington Semester Program head to capital on Sept. 8

Fall participants in UGA’s Washington Semester Program head to the nation’s capital on Sept. 8

Athens, Ga. – Against the backdrop of the upcoming presidential election this fall, University of Georgia junior Lucas Puente will have the opportunity to serve as an intern in the office of Senator Barack Obama through UGA’s Washington Semester Program. Puente and the other UGA participants will start their fall internships Sept. 8.

“The Fall 2008 class once again represents the best of UGA,” said Don De Maria, director of the Washington Semester Program. “These bright, motivated students will have great opportunities at their internships, in the classroom and beyond. I am grateful for the support of our faculty, alumni and friends who make this a unique and defining experience for our students.”

Launched under the auspices of UGA’s Office of the Vice President for Instruction one year ago, the Washington Semester Program provides participants with classroom instruction and internship placement in congressional offices, nonprofit organizations and think tanks.

The students enroll in 12 credit hours, six of which include a traditional course and a seminar on life, work and culture in Washington, featuring guest lecturers from UGA and the D.C. area. The other six credit hours can be used for directed study, internship and/or research courses through the student’s academic department.

Joel Clark, director of the University of California, Berkeley’s Washington Program, will teach a course entitled, “Washington Ethics: Crisis, Reform, Reaction,” a course he specially created for students in academic internship programs in D.C.

“The interdisciplinary course explores several facets of politics in D.C., including ethical issues involving Congress, lobbyists, the president and his advisors, judiciary, and the media,” said Clark. “The elections will be a special topic of discussion this semester as we delve into topics such as campaign finance, fundraising and how the media reports on the presidential candidates’ public and private lives.”

The speakers who will be featured during the seminar will include Jere Morehead, UGA’s vice president for instruction; Thomas Lauth, dean of UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs; Joe Whitley, who served as the first general counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Randy Nuckolls, partner at McKenna, Long and Aldridge who serves as Washington counsel for UGA; and Elaine Bunn, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense University.

Chiefs-of-staff from the offices of Georgia senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, Arkansas senator Mark Pryor, and Georgia representatives Jack Kingston and John Barrow also will be speaking.

In addition, members of D.C. Dawgs, the Washington, D.C. chapter of UGA’s Alumni Association, are involved in academic and cultural activities for the program participants, serving as mentors, hosting events or giving a lecture about their experiences living and working in D.C.

“I am very impressed with the scope and variety of internship placements and the superb quality of students selected for the fall class,” said Morehead. “I look forward to lecturing and meeting with this outstanding class later this fall.”

The priority deadline for spring 2009 applications for the Washington Semester Program is Friday, Sept. 12 with first consideration given to those students who apply by then. Applications will be accepted after the priority deadline until all program spaces are full.

An information session, scheduled for Tues., Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. in room 350 of UGA’s Student Learning Center, will provide additional details on the upcoming spring program.

More information about the Washington Semester Program is available online at

The fall 2008 program participants are:

Name Hometown Major Internship placement
Ansley Fox Savannah political science, international affairs Office of Congressman Jack Kingston
Barclay Hendrix Columbus political science Office of Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Lucas Puente Wilmington, N.C. international affairs, finance Office of Senator Barack Obama
Bryan Strickland Norcross political science Center for International Trade and Security
Zachary Matthews Jackson, Miss. economics Office of Senator Johnny Isakson
Sharon McCoy Evans international affairs, Spanish Center for American Progress
Evangeline George Marietta political science Office of Congressman John Barrow
Shuyuan Hu Covington international affairs Office of Congressman John Lewis
Tyler Smith Beaumont, Texas political science Office of Governor Sonny Perdue
William Hayes Buford international affairs, telecommunication arts Institute for National Strategic Studies
Alexis Ruiz Acworth political science, French Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund