The Princeton-in-Washington Program is celebrating its 50th summer bringing together students studying or interning in Washington D.C., with alumni living in the area. This year's program runs June 17 to Aug. 1 and will feature a packed schedule of speakers, panel discussions and social events providing Princetonians an inside look at the political, cultural and social life of the nation's capital.
The program is organized by the Office of Career Services, the Office of Government Affairs and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, with the alumni Princeton Club of Washington D.C.
Nearly 150 students and alumni were in attendance to celebrate the program's annual kickoff, one of the many networking opportunities for students and alumni throughout the summer.
"I am so happy to be back in D.C. this summer and grateful to be part of the Princeton-in-Washington Program," said Loully Saney, Class of 2017. "This program helps students connect with each other as well as with alumni and others connected to the Princeton community here in D.C."
The highlight of the summer is a speaker series organized by a Princeton student coordinator featuring a diverse group of speakers from all branches of government, as well as major business and cultural centers.
Mostly Princeton alumni or faculty, the speakers share with students and alumni their career paths, experiences and outlook on pressing D.C. issues. Speakers this year include: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Class of 1981; Edward Felten, Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer and the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs; Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the New America Foundation and a professor emerita; U.S. Sen. Cory Booker; former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Class of 1954; and Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve and a former Princeton economist.
"Princeton-in-Washington provides an incredible opportunity to hear accomplished alumni distill their personal experiences into advice for students," said Lucy Li, Class of 2015.
At the opening reception and networking event in late June, U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who represents the New Jersey district that includes Princeton, spoke about the importance of service. The event was hosted by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who earned his master's in public policy from Princeton in 1982.
"Princeton-in-Washington offers some of our nation's brightest young minds exposure to government, public service and the democratic process through an outstanding and immersive experience in D.C.," said Watson Coleman. "I'm thrilled to host these impressive young people as they open their program. I'm confident that they will learn from and contribute to some of Washington's biggest discussions."
The program appeals to students and alumni with a range of career interests and from a variety of professions.
"What I think a lot of people don't realize is just how vast and diverse the positions in public service are and what kinds of backgrounds you can come from," said Class of 2016 student Michelle Molner. She explained that teams are often made up of people with a wide range of specialties, from statisticians to geologists to financial specialists and more. "It's a lot more expansive than just people who focus on policy," she said.
Adding new elements to the program this year, there are plans for panel discussions on health care and careers in service, as well as a symposium on poverty with a focus on the impact of education, housing, health care, social justice and employment.
"For the past 50 years, Princeton-in-Washington has been an integral component of the Princeton experience for countless undergraduates interning in the greater Washington metropolitan area," said Reggie Galloway, Class of 2011. "As an undergraduate, I had an amazing opportunity to interact with my peers while learning from dynamic and influential alumni. As current vice president of the Princeton Club of Washington, I am honored to help provide the current undergraduates with an incredible and memorable summer experience."
For Alex Fager, a member of the incoming Class of 2019, the program is providing an introduction to the Princeton experience.
"As soon as I got talking I found out that everyone was amazingly friendly, really willing to guide me on my way being an incoming freshman," Fager said.