Minimester program offers real world, life experiences

Raynor Denitzio

As he has for the past 30 years, Dr. Jeffery Hahn of the political science department will once again lead a group of 20 Villanova students as they explore the inner workings of the American government during the Washington Minimester program.

The Minimester offers a unique educational experience for students interested in getting a “behind the scenes” glimpse at the United States government. Running from May 13 until June 1, this three-week, three-credit program gives participants the chance to meet politicians, lobbyist, federal employees and members of the media in an intimate, seminar-style environment.

“You are getting to go to places most Americans don’t go and get to meet people most Americans won’t get to meet,” Hahn said.

Students are able to visit places such as the United States Congress, the White House and the Pentagon ,as well as meet with decision makers firsthand.

Hahn feels that this year’s Minimester program will be especially interesting due to the recent midterm elections.

Typically, students in the program meet with legislators on both sides of the political aisle. Last year, students were able to meet with members of Congress from Pennsylvania including Senator Rick Santorum and Representative Curt Weldon. They also met Vermont Senator Pat Leahy and members of both the Federal Reserve Board and Department of Defense. In past years, speakers have included media personalities such as Tim Russert and David Brooks.

The personal atmosphere of the seminar-style program gives students the chance not only to explore potential job opportunities, but also to network with those who are currently doing the jobs that students are looking to pursue.

“Not only do the students learn something academic about people working in government, but it really is an opportunity to pursue occupational directions you might want to pursue as a political science major,” Hahn said. “I’ve had quite a number of students go back to D.C. and work and get jobs.”

Aside from the educational aspects, the Minimester program gives students a chance to build friendships with their classmates and explore the Washington D.C. area.

Although students are, as Hahn said, required to arrive “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” to the seminars, the rest of the time is their own to enjoy the area. As such, the program affords the students an incredible amount of freedom to take advantage of the many historic and cultural aspects of the nation’s capital.

In years past, students have engaged in a Republicans versus Democrats softball game on Memorial Day.

The program costs $1,485 with an additional $875 for housing at Catholic University where both the students and Hahn live during the program.

Registration for the program begins Feb. 2, at 1:30 p.m. in SAC 202.

Slots in the program will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. In order to keep the program small, only 20 spots are available.