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On the Hill

  • Tracy Kamen ’17 is spending her spring semester in Washington D.C. through an internship with the Washington Center.
    Tracy Kamen ’17 is spending her spring semester in Washington D.C. through an internship with the Washington Center.
April 13, 2015
During her internship at the Washington Center, Tracey Kamen ’17 is living, working, and learning in the heart of Washington D.C. For a political science major, what’s not to like?

Spending a semester in the thick of things in Washington, D.C., is a thrill for any student interested in political science. Salt that experience with the chance to work with like-minded peers from all over the world, the opportunity to research and write papers presented on Capitol Hill, and get face time with the vice president’s wife, and you have some idea of how much fun Tracy Kamen ’17 is having this spring as an intern at the Washington Center.

Kamen, a Washington College political science major with a minor in business management, is earning 16 credits while studying and working with about 60 other students in the Politics and Public Policy track at the Washington Center. With a range of career tracks and hundreds of partner organizations—from AARP to the Peace Corps—the center places hundreds of college students each semester in a broad assortment of internships in everything from the arts and international affairs to communications and technology.

As part of her internship, Kamen has been working for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, researching specifically the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning and writing informational papers and material on the problem for members of Congress and various federal departments.

“I knew nothing about this when I started, because my background is in political science, not physical science,” she says. “So this has been really interesting.” It was through this research that she met Jill Biden and had the opportunity to hear First Lady Michelle Obama speak; both appeared at a program about suicide prevention among military veterans that Kamen also attended.

In addition to research, Kamen says she keeps track of what Congress is doing on the issue, attending hearings and helping connect advocates for the foundation to members of Congress. She also writes a daily column for the foundation’s website, and has written mock grant proposals to learn how non-profits can most successfully approach donors.

“It is a lot of writing, and I’m so thankful for it because it just makes my writing skills even better,” she says.

Every Friday, she and other students attend a LEAD Colloquium: “There are 16 to 18 students from all different tracks and backgrounds and we discuss our experiences, and then in the afternoons depending on our interests we break out into different sessions. I’m in the Politics and Public Policy track, and we’ve had different panelists talk to us. For instance, we had someone from the Department of Education talk about higher education; we had a panel on political campaigns with someone who had worked on Anthony Brown’s campaign.”

“It’s very busy and it gets hectic but it’s very enjoyable,” she says. “We have students from all over the world in our track. My academic class is probably half international students. We just did a group project and members of my group were from Japan, Singapore, and Mexico. I had to take the lead because my English was better, but they are all very smart and very talented.” Kamen and the other students in her track live in Northeast Washington, D.C., where they share apartments.

Another aspect of the internship at the Washington Center is community involvement. To that end, Kamen is training to be a hotline volunteer for RAINN, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, which she will be able to do when she returns to campus. She’s also volunteering eight hours a month for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Kamen, who’s graduating a semester early in December 2016, has already secured a summer internship with the organization Running Start, which she learned about through Melissa Deckman, her advisor at WAC and the chair of the Political Science Department. Based in Georgetown, she will be working with female high school students who are interested in a career in politics.


Last modified on Apr. 20th, 2015 at 3:01pm by .