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First Offering of DC Lab Course

Washington, D.C. is the laboratory for anyone studying American government and politics or analyzing the policymaking process.  In the May Intersession, Dr. Kathy Hill, Director of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies offered a new class, DC Lab:  Politics, Policy, and Analytics,  which provided CAGS students an opportunity to spend an intensive week in DC exploring the theory and practice of democracy and citizenship in action in Washington.  Highlights of the week included a number of events involving Hopkins alumni.  DC Lab students spent one day on Capitol Hill with an insider's walking tour and lecture on the History of Media and Covering Congress by Matt Laslo ('11) followed by an alumni panel of current Hill staffers:  Clinton Britt, Kenny Ames, Sadaf Khan, Ashleigh Phillips, and Carrie Swope.  Brianna Besch, a current student in the MS in Government Analytics program who works in the Office of Global Affairs and Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) organized two panels of analysts and scientists that provided a closer look at the inner workings of the agency.  Alexander Goldberg ('15) who works at the U.S. Department of State on the Korean Affairs desk arranged a briefing and discussion about Korea and Demilitarization and followed this by engaging the students in an excellent workshop on Efficient Writing and Verbal Messaging that included preparing "walk and talk" briefings the students prepared and gave to State Department officials.   Morgan Ortagus ('13) who was recently appointed to be the Spokesperson for the Department of State stopped by to meet with the DC Lab students as well. 


The week also included sessions at Gallup, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the Brookings Institution.  While in DC, the students met with their advisors and others as they worked on their research papers for the class.  At the end of the week, Dr. Wolfson who gave the students a lecture on the Founding Fathers with a particular emphasis on George Washington's role in establishing the presidency and our nation accompanied the class on a day-long visit to Mount Vernon which included special sessions with the historian of Washington's papers and an interactive exercise to "Be Washington."  It was an exhilarating week and CAGS plans to hold additional courses like this in the future.  Classes like the DC Lab can provide students who are either distance learners or residing in the DC area an opportunity to come together and study in-person with faculty and other students for a week and then complete the remainder of the course online.                          


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