D.C. study program now accepting applications

by Jackie Tempera / Beacon Staff • February 2, 2012

When Kathryn Lagreca heard the familiar beep of her Blackberry’s email notifier at work, she glanced down to check the message. 

The sophomore political communication major said she was surprised to find an email announcing her acceptance to the Washington D.C. program. 

“It was very anticlimactic,” said Lagreca. “But I did have a celebratory Boloco dinner after work.”  

Lagreca and up to 19 of her peers will have the option to spend the Fall 2012 semester at the growing four-year-old Washington Center study program interning and engaging in two four credit seminar style classes, currently accepting applications on a rolling basis. 

David Griffin, director of international study and external programs, said that while the number of applicants to the program increases annually, a large amount of applicants is expected this year because of the upcoming presidential race. 

“We haven’t yet reached our target goal of 20 students every fall term, we had 14 last fall,” said Griffin in an email to the Beacon. “So in practical terms until we get to 20 or more applicants a year, which I believe will happen this year, every ‘qualified’ candidate will be accepted.”

Emerson students must compile their applications and submit copies of the paper work to the International Study and External Programs Office for approval before the April 1 deadline. After campus liaisons check over the applications, they are submitted electronically to The Washington Center. Students are notified with a decision within two weeks, said Griffin in the email. 

The interns live in apartment style Washington Center housing, located in the “NoMa,” or North of Massachusetts Avenue district of D.C., according to Richard West, the communication studies chair and a new member of the The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminar’s advisory board. 

Students also participate in two four credit courses, one seminar based course taught by Emerson alum and the other a leadership series taught by members of The Washington Center. 

West said he believes the two greatest parts of the program are the internship opportunities and the intimacy of going with a small group. He said the program’s size allows for many one on one meetings between students, faculty, and alumni. 

“Emerson College students are always viewed as the top interns,” said West. “We have a stellar reputation.” 

West said five previous attendees of the program have lined up post graduation jobs with their internship site.

“The primary way to set yourself apart is an internship,” said West. “It is the number one issue.”

Micaeli Rourke, a senior political communication and journalism double major, spent last fall at the D.C. program. She served as a paid intern for CNN’s Washington Bureau. 

“It is primarily work-based, and you really get insider access,” said Rourke. “I am very interested in politics, so this program is perfect for that.” 

As an intern Rourke said she reported on many politically driven stories. She also interacted with many reporters and hosts. One of her favorite experiences was writing the teleprompter for The Situation Room and gained the nickname “Freckles” from host Wolf Blitzer. 

“It was an inspirational three months in a vibrant city,” said Rourke. 

Lagreca, who hopes to work in D.C. upon graduation, said she is very excited for the program and would like to intern with a federal agency, the White House, or a congressional office. 

“I am thrilled, just the energy I expect to be down there is incredible,” she said.  “It is an experience I won’t have again for a long time.”