/ Washington Honors Semester

Student Testimonials

“The Washington, D.C., semester is an experience that will challenge and shape your views of vocation, morality and politics unlike any other experience at Hope College. Throughout my internship on the Hill, I saw the formation of public policy firsthand, which considerably deepened my understanding of the government and its inner workings. Outside of my internship, my classes pushed me to reflect on how I want to interact with the world after my tenure at Hope College. Equipping students with the knowledge, network and sense of vocation necessary to enter the workforce confidently, the Washington, D.C., semester is something every political  science student should consider.
Shelby Smego ’24

Three female Hope College students eating ice cream and smiling

“From freshman year, I knew studying off-campus in D.C. had to be a part of my four-year plan at Hope College. I couldn’t say why or what I wanted to gain from the experience. I just knew it was something political science majors often do, so I thought it’s something I wanted to do. Little did I know then how much this experience would solidify my passion for public policy and research, and even lead me to my first big career step post-graduation. As an intern at the American Enterprise Institute, I got to experience a world of political thought that drives domestic policy. And through the class readings and discussions, I had a chance to reflect on what morality is and how different events in my life have shaped, and continue to shape, the lens in which I view the world. Finally, engaging in interviews with alumni in D.C. helped me to network and think more expansively on the opportunities out there. While I was thinking narrowly about the kind of jobs I would be eligible for, the interview introduced me to different kinds of jobs that utilize and apply the same fundamental skills and values of research. Although I saw myself as some sort of research assistant at a think tank, I am happy to be working as a research associate at a public relations and strategic communications firm called Pinkston. My advice for students and upcoming students at Hope would be to take advantage of the opportunities that Hope provides and to allow these experiences to help shape their future endeavors.”
—Sanny Yang ’22

 “As a news-addicted kid from Holland, Michigan, I had dreams of walking the halls of the capitol building and White House grounds. When I committed to Hope College it was largely due to the stories I heard about the Washington Honors Semester. I count myself so lucky to have had that same amazing experience in Washington, D.C. In my internship for Congressman Bill Huizenga I was able to network, engage with voters and even run bills down to the House Floor. In short, I got to live my dreams. I was overcome by the kindness of the hundreds of Hope alumni living and working in Washington, capping off with an unforgettable trip to the White House to meet with a Hope alum working in the Biden Administration. D.C. is an amazing city, but it was made so much better by the community of Hope that accompanied me on that journey. Getting to live and work with fellow students who became close friends and confidants was such a transformational experience. I am so thankful to Hope College and the political science department for the spring semester of junior year in Washington, D.C.”
Reed Rosado ’23

“A blip of a thought while on my first visit to Hope College nudged me to ask, “Should I do that D.C. thing?” Three and a half years later, I embarked on the most memorable experience of my collegiate years. Interning on Capitol Hill for the U.S. House of Representatives in Congressman Tim Walberg’s (MI-05) office was an incredible combination of professional and educational moments with welcoming Michigan staffers. From plenty of writing and research to working the TikTok hearing, I had a thoroughly well-rounded time on the Hill. Simultaneously, our Wednesday Policy Interviews were pivotal in introducing me to new career paths, helping to narrow down my fields of interest while reminding me of boundless opportunities that await me post-graduation. As summer came around, I was not quite done with D.C., and I began my new role as a special litigation intern for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. I was able to work under some of the best attorneys and investigators in the nation, while contributing meaningful, hands-on work in the criminal justice system. My time in D.C. provided me with lifelong friendships and a significantly more well-rounded view of our government and its intertwining systems.”
—Alana Policastro ’24