Archive for the 'SWP' Category

 

Jul 12 2010

National Gallery of Art – Washington DC – June 8, 2010

by at 10:53 am

​I am by no means an art major or have any authority in discussing art, but it does not take an expert to notice and appreciate the extraordinary collection of gems at The National Gallery of Art. Overall, the collection of exhibits in this museum offers such diverse pieces as to offer the public a well-rounded experience of the arts. Names such as Davis, Demuth, Dove, Monet, and Picasso adorn the labels of the paintings throughout the building. It is with the echoing success of these names that the world of the arts is able to exist. It is with programs like the Georgetown University Semester in Washington Program that we students get to experience these fantastic places.
​One of my favorite exhibits of this museum was the “German Master Drawings from the Wolfgang Ratjen Collection, 1580-1900.” It is amazing what the human hand can do with some chalk, a pair of eyes, and a great mind. The exhibit featured works by Adam Elsheimer, Johann Rottenhammer, and Hans von Aachen among others. Additionally, the collection, which was put together by Wolfgang Ratjen, focused on the portrayal of the human figure. The level of detail put into these works is absolutely astonishing, even in small canvases where one could consider that level of intricacy impossible. Moreover, the depiction of pastoral scenes was also a common appearance. These examples illustrated panoramic views of lush countryside and forests. Aside from those fabulous works, this experience broadened my perspective in regards to the world in general. It was a great opportunity to learn about something outside the context of scholastic work.
​Ultimately, the purpose to come to Washington DC is to expand one’s points of view and to learn new things. Opportunities like these help students get out of the stressful environment that comes with schoolwork. Thus, the primary thing that one can obtain from going to The National Gallery of Art is not the further memorizing of facts, but to just escape into a new environment where one can be free from pressure and judgment. Like I said, without programs like these, this would not be possible.

No responses yet | Categories: SWP,SWP Summer 2010

Jul 11 2010

Semester in Washington Students Visit the National Press Club: A Luncheon Ashley Judd Style

by at 11:52 pm

Recently a group of students and I had the amazing opportunity of visiting the National Press Club for a luncheon with renowned actress and spokesperson Ashley Judd. I am so thankful for the opportunity to travel to DC, study here at Georgetown and take advantage of such awesome opportunities, like Press Club luncheons. From Judd and other events I have learned a lot about myself, the systems at work in our society and my individual role within a broader worldly context.

I am unabashedly Southern. I hold doors, love pastel colors to an excessive degree, grew up on biscuits with grits and have been known to say “hello” or “hey y’all” to the average passersby. But, regardless of what elements of the southern United States’ stereotype I choose to personally identify with, I am most importantly rooted in a sense of place: the south, my home. Ashley Judd and I have this in common.

Experiencing Ashley Judd speak about her Kentucky roots borders on the edge of the intersection between a scene from Steel Magnolias and a summertime front-porch bluegrass concert. The cadence of her speech is eerily reminiscent to the steady plucking of a Kentucky banjo; full of colorful inflection, rhythm, ease and bends. As charming as Judd’s dialect and humorous asides about distilleries and moonshine are, what is most striking about her is both her love of Appalachia and her relentless passionate defense of her homeland from what she says is quickly destroying all she came to love as a child: coal mine mountaintop removal.

According to Judd, this evil is tearing apart Appalachia and leaving natural and human habitats contaminated, deserted and irreversibly tarnished. Every body of water in Kentucky is under the threat of contamination because of the human search and quest for coal, she says. Not only is the dynamiting away of some of the oldest mountains in the world horrific in and of itself, the results are irreversible and are threatening a way of life in a part of the country that, according to Judd, depends on the destruction of their natural world for income.

In many parts of Appalachia, coal mining once existed as an insular industry that kept afloat hundreds of families during the first half of the twentieth century and resulted in relatively thriving mountain communities. All of this changed as our national consumption of coal decreased in return for more readily accessible and or environmentally conscious alternatives.

“The coal mining industry will never be able to sustain the entire region as it once did,” Judd says.

The people of the mountains Judd loves so dearly are caught in an economic catch-22; they are forced to weigh their love for their natural worlds and their families at home who depend on coal mining jobs to bring home food to the table. And, as Judd will tell you, the good people of Appalachia have sided with their families for the last century. Because the coal few alternative industries exist in the regions in which MTR (Mountaintop Removal) is ravaging the natural splendor of the Earth, most livelihoods depend solely on low-paying and extremely dangerous employment with several conglomerate coal companies Judd describes and “ruthless.”

“To speak out against the mines is to be unpatriotic,” Judd says. Judd says that the people of Appalachia not only have little political clout, but also rarely speak out for fear of losing their jobs. This lack of representation and this cause is what Judd has forthrightly committed herself and her spotlight of attention to.

Judd says that she wants to use her fame and spotlight to spread awareness about what is going on in her homeland. She took up this cause recently while attending the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government where, she says, only one other peer there had ever heard of this travesty. She expressed her frustrations in trying to bring awareness to the topic while studying at Harvard and remarked that the corporate leaders of the numerous coal companies that dot the region refused to accept countless invitations to speak at the school and elsewhere.

Judd’s ultimate goal, besides increased dialogue and press attention, is concrete governmental action and investment in new industry throughout the region to provide the nail in the coffin for coal companies: employees with valid options of work elsewhere.

As an aspiring journalist and politician, Judd’s work and words of hope for her home are deeply moving. She is doing what I hope to do in a career in either journalism or political service: give a coherent voice to a people and a story that have no way of spreading their perspective with the world.

No responses yet | Categories: SWP,SWP Summer 2010,Uncategorized

Jul 06 2010

Ken Mehlman, Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Speaks to Semester in Washington Program Students

by at 5:29 pm

Ken Mehlman visited with Semester in Washington Program students in Professor Sam Potolicchio’s academic seminar class on American Politics on February 19, 2010.
Semester in Washington Program students engage in political discussion with Ken Mehlman, former Republican National Committee chairman, in Healy Hall.

Semester in Washington Program students engage in political discussion with Ken Mehlman, former Republican National Committee chairman, in Healy Hall.

 
“Ken Mehlman is someone who epitomizes what we try to do with this program,” said Potolicchio. “He reached the pinnacle of politics and he practiced his craft with substance and intellectual heft.”
 
Mehlman lectured on the evolution of the party system and party politics since World War II. He engaged the students in a wide-ranging discussion, touching on an array of issues from the personal to the political.

“Ken Mehlman’s intimate conversation with the eight of us was nothing short of extraordinary,” said Semester in Washington student Jason Cain. “The amount of political insight that we received in this class was equal to what most students get during their entire undergraduate education.”

Mehlman also advised the students to carve out careers that are enjoyable even on the weekends, because happiness makes success.

“I am amazed by how much information I received from one extraordinary individual, who has a passion for education, progress, and personal growth,” said student Sharon Mona. “Mehlman’s visit is my most memorable event here in my experience in Washington.”

Among his many jobs in a storied career of public service, Mehlman served as the White House Political Director, campaign manager for President Bush’s re-election, and chairman of the Republican National Committee.

 Following the discussion, the group gathered in front of the John Carroll statue (from left to right) - Marco Saavedra (Kenyon College), Sharon Mona (Point Loma Nazarene University), Nick Sprague (Kenyon College), Hannah Griffin (Illinois Wesleyan University), Jason Cain (Yellow Ribbon Program), Soroush Damsaz (Point Loma Nazarene University), Ken Mehlman (guest speaker), Brittany Taylor (Point Loma Nazarene University), Sam Potolicchio (visiting assistant professor), and Mike Mancini (Illinois Wesleyan University).

Following the discussion, the group gathered in front of the John Carroll statue (from left to right) - Marco Saavedra (Kenyon College), Sharon Mona (Point Loma Nazarene University), Nick Sprague (Kenyon College), Hannah Griffin (Illinois Wesleyan University), Jason Cain (Yellow Ribbon Program), Soroush Damsaz (Point Loma Nazarene University), Ken Mehlman (guest speaker), Brittany Taylor (Point Loma Nazarene University), Sam Potolicchio (visiting assistant professor), and Mike Mancini (Illinois Wesleyan University).

For more information on the School of Continuing Studies Semester in Washington Program, visit washington.

No responses yet | Categories: SWP,SWP American Politics,SWP Spring 2010

Jul 06 2010

Students Connect with Former Secretary of Energy and Former US Senator of Michigan Spencer Abraham

by at 5:26 pm

The Semester in Washington, D.C. Program American Politics class had an intimate political discussion with former Secretary of Energy and former US senator of Michigan, Spencer Abraham. Abraham was a founder of The Federalist Society, the founder of the Harvard Law Review on Public Policy, and the former Chairman of the Republican Party of Michigan.

APPA Spencer Abraham

Abraham spoke to students about his early interest and involvement in politics at the state level, his service in public office in both the legislative and executive branches, and his transition back into private life where he is CEO of The Abraham Group, an international consulting firm. Abraham addressed the students’ questions on the contemporary political landscape including the upcoming midterm elections, immigration, the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and pending legislative items. Ultimately, Abraham encouraged the students to pursue their passions and counseled them that when the time came to move on, to move on without regrets.

Visiting Assistant Professor Sam Potolicchio noted that Abraham’s expertise perfectly supplemented the week’s theoretical readings. “In our studies this week, we have looked at the branches as part of a separated system,” said Potolicchio. “The conversation really tied together our week’s lesson with an unparalleled insider’s account of our government.”

Student Nick Sprague noted, “Spencer Abraham’s perspective having been a party chairman, a Senator, and the Secretary of the Energy, provided for enlightening observations about the differing mindsets of the people who work in these distinct positions.

No responses yet | Categories: SWP,SWP American Politics,SWP Spring 2010

Jul 06 2010

An Intimate Discussion with Former Congressman Lee Hamilton

by at 5:22 pm

Pictured left to right: Nick Sprague (Kenyon College), Sam Potolicchio (Prof), Marco Saavedra (Kenyon College), Soroush Damsaz (Point Loma Nazarene University), Hannah Griffin (Illinois Wesleyan University), Sharon Mona (Point Loma), Hamilton, Brittany Taylor (Point Loma), Jason Cain (Yellow Ribbon), and Mike Mancini (Illinois Wesleyan University).

Pictured left to right: Nick Sprague (Kenyon College), Sam Potolicchio (Prof), Marco Saavedra (Kenyon College), Soroush Damsaz (Point Loma Nazarene University), Hannah Griffin (Illinois Wesleyan University), Sharon Mona (Point Loma), Hamilton, Brittany Taylor (Point Loma), Jason Cain (Yellow Ribbon), and Mike Mancini (Illinois Wesleyan University).

The Semester in Washington, D.C. Program American Politics and Political Affairs class visited with former Congressman Lee Hamilton, president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, to talk about Congress, American foreign policy, elections, and presidential power. Hamilton served as a United States Congressman for 34 years, chaired the National Security Preparedness Group, vice-chaired the 9/11 Commission Report, and co-chaired the Iraq Study Group. He is also currently the Director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University.

“His insights into campaign finance, political parties, and consensus building are what aspiring young students of politics need to, yet rarely, hear about,” said student Jason Cain. “Our class had the privilege of participating in an intimate conversation with an insightful political leader.”

No responses yet | Categories: SWP,SWP American Politics,SWP Spring 2010

Jul 06 2010

Communications Panel: The Message Discipline and the Impossibility to Control It

by at 12:06 pm

SWP SUM 2010 Comm Panel June 29 - 2

Last Tuesday, June the 29th, our Semester in Washington Program hosted the panel discussion “Communications Messaging and Strategies to Reporting and Governing”, held in the Mortara Building at Georgetown University. Moderated by Professor Bradley A. Blakeman, the panel featured four experts in the area: Rick Klein, ABC News Senior Washington Editor, Chris Kofinis, professor and Democratic strategist on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, James Rosen, Washington correspondent for Fox News Channel, and Scott Forza, Emmy award-winning television producer, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush for communications and television production.

SWP SUM 2010 Comm Panel June 29 - 3

The panel addressed the current situation of the communication processes in Washington, as well as analyzed the strategies used by the government to ensure, among other things, the existence of a message discipline. The symbiotic relationship between the media and its sources led the conversation to the issue of information leaks, the ulterior motives for their existence, and the reliability of the information provided as its most relevant aspect.

The use and maximization of communications’ tools in an era of constant technological evolution and economical upheaval was another important topic on the table. To be part of a society addicted to information entails that governmental officers are having a harder time controlling that information, but have to be able to react, instead, to the different events occurring every second. Efficient communications structures are a necessity in such a demanding news cycle, and it is vital for those who intend to send a message to do it as quick and as certain as possible. The use of images plays a major role as vehicles of the message, for it is often the most effective way of achieving its successful transmission.

We were able to witness the discussion as well as participate with questions for the panelists. The event represented an invaluable opportunity for us to learn about the communications sphere in D.C., directly from the voice of the leading professionals in the field.

No responses yet | Categories: SWP,SWP American Politics,SWP International Affairs,SWP Summer 2010

Apr 28 2010

American Politics Students Meet with Nation’s Top Lobbyists Bruce Mehlman and Alex Vogel

by at 4:45 pm

Semester in Washington students visited with Bruce Mehlman and Alex Vogel, two of the nation’s top lobbyists, in their offices in downtown D.C.  Over barbeque food and banana pudding, the students listened to a dynamic presentation on the business and ethics of the lobbying profession. The two lobbyists founded the firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti which is widely considered to be one of the top bipartisan lobbying shops in America.
Group with lobbyists Bruce Mehlman and Alex Vogel in their offices of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti
Group with lobbyists Bruce Mehlman and Alex Vogel in their offices of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti

Both Mehlman and Vogel bring a wealth of experience and accomplishment to their lobbying practice. Bruce Mehlman , who is also the Executive Director of the Technology CEO Council and Co-Chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance, served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy, telecommunications policy counsel for Cisco Systems, policy director and general counsel to the House Republican Conference under Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) and as general counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Alex Vogel, who is a frequent contributor on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and to the Washington Post, was chief counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, General Counsel for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the Majority Leader’s liaison to the 9/11 Commission.  

Visiting Assistant Professor Sam Potolicchio remarked that “the students left completely inspired. Bruce Mehlman and Alex Vogel not only gave a tour-de-force presentation of the lobbying profession, but they also provided insights into politics and professional development that were as uplifting as they were discerning. My students probably won’t all become lobbyists, but they all noted after class that they wanted to have the same passion and energy that Bruce and Alex bring to their work.”  

APPA student Hannah Griffin noted that, “in addition to being completely brilliant, Mehlman and Vogel are extremely likable guys.  Despite all their success, they seemed so willing to share their experiences.  I’m very grateful for their frankness— I learned a lot.”

Nick Sprague counted the visit to the lobbying firm as one of his favorite field trips. “Mr. Mehlman and Mr. Vogel provided our SWP class a perspective on the business and techniques of lobbying that many of us were unaware of.  Lobbying is legitimate and necessary in American government, and often, the media tries to make people think otherwise. As I determine my own life goals, it was very informative to hear about their career choices leading to their successful lobbying firm, and I admired their clear passion and commitment to their work.”

No responses yet | Categories: SWP,SWP American Politics,SWP Spring 2010