Record applicants for D.C. program

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February 26, 2010

3:39 AM

The William and Mary in Washington Program counted a record number of applicants for the fall 2010 semester when the application period closed Feb. 16.

The program’s office declined to release the exact number of applications received.

Through the program, 18 College of William and Mary students are able to spend a semester living, working and studying in Washington, D.C.

“The number of applicants varies each semester, but we received a record number of applicants for fall 2010,” Program Director Roxane Adler Hickey M.Ed. ’02 said. “While the number of applicants has typically been higher in government-themed semesters, we saw an increase for next semester, which we attribute to an exciting new theme.”

The theme, “New Media and Culture in the Nation’s Capital,” will be cross-departmental, including modern languages, literary studies, film studies and American studies. It attracted applicants from a variety of majors. Adler Hickey said the courses in the program were cross-listed courses as much as possible to give students more possibilities for earning credit.

Hispanic studies professor Ann Marie Stock will teach the courses in Washington next semester. Adler Hickey said Stock’s popularity among students may be partially credited for the competitive application process for the fall 2010 semester.

“Our program is open to all students from said. “While we typically enroll a large number of juniors, we certainly see seniors, especially in their fall semester, and a few exceptional sophomores as well.”

Precipitants take two courses for three to four credits each. Classes are held at the William and Mary Washington Office, located on Dupont Circle. Additionally, students in the program work 30 to 35 hours per week at institutions whose missions match the semester’s theme. Students earn six credits for academic work completed in association with their internship, for a total of 12 to 14 credits for the semester.

Traditionally, opportunities to work in Washington are associated with government and public policy, and program themes are often government-related. However, Adler Hickey said the William and Mary in Washington Program offers a range of themes that transcend just government topics. All semesters, regardless of topic, are open to students of any major, but applicants must demonstrate interest in the specific semester’s theme.

This semester, students in the program are interning at the U.S. Department of State, the office of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the Heritage Foundation, the Asia Foundation and the White House, among others.
Many students receive summer internships and full-time jobs from their internships. Adler Hickey said that students enrolled in the program during the spring are especially likely to be offered summer internships. After the spring 2008 semester, 14 out of the 18 scholars were offered summer internships or full-time jobs.

Adler Hickey said she hopes the Washington program will continue to expand and benefit more and more students in the years to come.

“We often compare the [William and Mary in Washington] Program to a semester abroad,” she said. “However, our program is run and taught by the College of William and Mary, and so students have all the same support they would normally receive from campus — [College] professors, the same rigorous level of academics and guaranteed credit for courses. It’s not like going to D.C. through American University or the Washington Center.”

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