ESU Students Attend Seminars Focused on Government

ESU at the Washington Center Conference

Posted by: Elizabeth Richardson on January 19, 2023, One Comment

A group of ESU students gained firsthand knowledge of how the federal government operates thanks to their participation in two unique government-based leadership seminars.

Eight students and ESU professor of political science Dr. Kimberly S. Adams spent a week in Washington, D.C. for The Washington Center’s Inside Washington academic seminar. Three ESU students also attended a second, virtual program, Lead with Purpose. The two-week program was presented by the Osgood Center for International Studies, a not-for-profit educational foundation.

The Inside Washington program gives college students from around the country a better understanding of how the federal government works and how policy is shaped. Discussions focused on such hot topics as policy, media, business, and politics. Students spent the morning on-site at The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars listening to a diverse itinerary of speakers including Kathy Boockvar, former Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Yamiche Alcindor, Washington Correspondent for NBC News, and anchor/moderator of Washington Week on PBS. In the afternoon, the group traveled to locations throughout the nation’s capital for educational briefings with members of Congress and at other government agencies. They met with Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), chair of the January 6 committee, and the chief of staff for Rep Matt Cartwright.  Students were selected for the seminar based on their interest in government and public policy. Not all were political science or prelaw majors, and some were referred to Dr. Adams, as well.

Elijah Brown, a graduate student in the political science and public administration, management, and leadership program from Bushkill, Pa., said, “From my standpoint, what I took away was understanding the professional realm of politics. I’m also trying to build my network and decide what I want to do after graduate school. There are a lot of internship opportunities in politics—being there [in DC] allowed me to get access to those internships.” He added how incredible it was to hear from Senator Thompson: “You hear about these hearings, or you watch the hearings, but speaking with the person who chaired the committee was eye-opening. He talked about the hearings and what he and his staff members had to go through. He got death threats. He also talked about the January 8 event in Brazil, which was basically like the January 6 event here.”

As a political science and prelaw major, the experience in Washington, D.C. reignited the love of politics for Montserrat Ramirez-Figueroa, a junior from Bloomingdale, N.J. “Being in DC and seeing where policy is made—it makes you feel important,” she said. “It just really reinforced the importance of politics and how it influences policy. The seminars were interesting, but going out to the briefings was really inspirational. Everything we learned in the seminars was applied at the briefings.”

Yasmeen Zaczkiewicz, a senior political science major from Phoenixville, Pa., said, “The biggest thing I learned was how the different organizations work together in DC. We got to meet some pretty amazing people. This is what I want to do. We learned a lot about how our generation is making changes, and how much more we can do to change the world.”

The students agreed it was amazing to be in the nation’s capital the same week as the historic Speaker of the House vote. “I personally followed the Speaker vote very closely, and a lot of the presenters spoke about it,” Zackziewicz said. “You could definitely feel something in the air.”

Brown said one of the biggest takeaways for him was the fact that individuals from all professional backgrounds are needed in the federal government. “Programs need all kinds of people in government. You don’t have to be a political science major,” he stressed. “You might be a chemist and work for the government. All kinds of backgrounds are needed for government positions—that was one thing the presenters kept stressing.”

Besides working on Capitol Hill, Zackziewicsz said she enjoyed getting a glimpse into living in the city.

The Lead with Purpose program allowed attendees to explore strategies, skills, and principles to navigate change within an organization. Alexandra Kossakowska, a junior political science major from East Stroudsburg, Pa., plans to attend law school after graduating from ESU. She said it was valuable to hear from the panel of speakers, many of whom “went off the beaten path” in their careers, as she described it. “On the first day we heard from an Army veteran who works for Google, and a historian who works at the Smithsonian. We heard from people in leadership positions talking about how they got to where they are.” She added, “There weren’t any lawyers speaking, but there were lots of speakers who’d planned to go to law school but didn’t. It showed me even if I don’t go on the path I’m expected to go, I can still be successful. Confidence was a big thing everyone talked about.”

Both programs focused on developing and preparing the next generation of leaders from all backgrounds and walks of life.

For more information on the Washington Center for Internships and Academic seminars and for information about the Osgood Center for International Studies program, please contact Dr. Adams as

One Response to “ESU Students Attend Seminars Focused on Government”

WOW………what a sensational opportunity. Makes a 1970′ ESU graduate want to come back to school and do it all over again. Congrats to Dr. Adams for developing these future leaders and providing access to experiences the average citizen does not have. My check is in the mail.