Campus News

UGA student interns participate in Washington Semester Program this fall

UGA student interns participate in Washington Semester Program this fall

Athens, Ga. – A group of University of Georgia students are spending their fall semester, connecting with leaders in public policy, government and business as participants in UGA’s Washington Semester Program. They begin their internships on Sept. 8.

“This is an outstanding group of students who will be exceptional ambassadors of the University of Georgia,” said Don De Maria, director of the Washington Semester Program. “I am especially grateful for the support of the University of Georgia Foundation for providing scholarship assistance to all the students for the fall program.”

The two-year-old Washington Semester Program offers participants a combination of classroom instruction; internship experience in congressional offices, nonprofit organizations and think tanks; and a variety of cultural and professional networking opportunities. The program, opened to all eligible UGA undergraduates, was established under the auspices of the UGA Office of the Vice President for Instruction.

Students earn at least 12 credit hours, six of which include a traditional course whose focus changes every semester, and a seminar on life, work and culture in Washington, featuring guest lecturers from UGA and the D.C. area. The other credit hours can be applied for directed study, internship and/or research courses through the student’s academic department.

For fall semester, Howard Wiarda, Dean Rusk Professor of International Affairs and department head, will teach a course entitled “American Foreign Policy,” investigating the ways in which U.S. foreign policy decisions are made. Wiarda also currently serves as Senior Scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

“This is a terrific program and at UGA we have excellent students in it,” said Wiarda. “The seminar I teach, along with the internship experience, provides the students with a superb introduction to how politics and policy work in Washington D.C.”

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; Valerie Elston, president of the D.C. Dawgs, a chapter of the UGA Alumni Association; Randy Nuckolls, partner at McKenna, Long and Aldridge who serves as Washington counsel at UGA; and Harriett Melvin, partner at Quinn Gillespie and Associates.

Chiefs-of-staff from the offices of Georgia senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss and Georgia representatives John Barrow and David Scott will participate in a panel discussion as well. De Maria said the panel discussions with key staff have become a staple in the curriculum.

D.C. Dawgs, the Washington, D.C. chapter of UGA’s Alumni Association, also is involved in academic and cultural activities for the program participants. Members serve as mentors, host events or give lectures about their experiences living and working in the nation’s capital.

“Our alumni have embraced the Washington Semester Program,” said Morehead. “I am pleased to see this premier academic program partner closely with our alumni supporters.”

The priority deadline for spring 2010 applications for the Washington Semester Program is Sept. 15, 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 Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. in room 250 of UGA’s Miller Learning Center, will provide additional details on the upcoming spring program.

For more information on UGA’s Washington Semester Program, see

The fall 2009 participants are:

Name / Hometown / Major(s) / Internship placement

Leanna Brown / Watkinsville / international affairs / Office of Sen. Johnny Isakson

Matthew Chambers / Snellville / international affairs / Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

Katherine Cherry / Chattanooga, Tenn. / international affairs, English / Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress

Lauren Dick / Atlanta / international business / Office of Congressman Lynn Westmoreland

Rhapsodi Douglas / Duluth / marketing / Smithsonian Institute, Office of Development

Whitney Jacobs / Columbus / international affairs / Office of Congressman Jack Kingston

Madison Kingery / Columbia, S.C. / public relations / Voice of America-TV to Africa

Patrick Leed / Bogart / political science / Quinn Gillespie and Associates

Katherine Manthey / Tyrone / public relations / National Geographic, Office of Communications

Isabel Otero / Ringgold / international affairs / U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Nathaniel Phillips / Royston / political science, geography / Office of Gov. Sonny Purdue

Elmer Uribe / Alpharetta / international affairs / League of United Latin American Citizens

David Weinstein / Atlanta / international affairs / The Dershowitz Group

Holly Wilson / Salisbury, Md. / political science / Office of Congressman Joseph Pitts

Keya Wondwossen / Tucker / international affairs / Office of Congressman John Barrow