Students descend upon nation’s capital
Radford University students descended upon the nation’s capital to observe the intricacies of the United States government.
Criminal justice students and political science students visited key sites during the May trip, including: Congress, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the D.C. Superior Court, FEMA, the Government Accountability Office and the FBI.
The trip is the culmination of the course Criminal Justice Theory and Research in Practice and the political science course Politics and Policy in Action, taught by Criminal Justice Professor Nicole Hendrix and Political Science Associate Professor Tanya Corbin, respectively. The concept for the course was originally developed by Hendrix, but was soon turned into an inter-disciplinary opportunity.
“The students attend an evening networking event hosted by alumna Patricia DeLoatche, from Sidley Austin, LLC,” Hendrix said. “Alumni from all over the District come and talk to the students about working in Washington D.C. These contacts can result in internships, employment opportunities and mentorship for students.”
In addition to meeting alumni, the trip to Washington D.C. included behind-the-scenes learning and tours, career advice and briefings for the students, who readily absorbed the knowledge.
“Walking out of every meeting we attended had me thinking about my career path,” said Kenley Rowe, a political science student. “Seeing these people work as hard as they do and seeing the results they get made me want to be a part of each agency.”
Mackenzie Kyle, another political science student, called the opportunity “life changing.” Unsure of her future career path prior to the trip, Kyle soaked in the knowledge and experience of each person with whom the class met.
“We were able to network with alumni as well as explore different career paths,” Kyle said. “The trip was more than I could have hoped for. We were pushed out of our comfort zones. I learned so much about different career fields and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.”
Blair Hurst, another political science student, experienced the organizational layout of the government first-hand and learned that each organization “plays a unique role in the policy-making process.”
“It was amazing to me how many career opportunities exist within the federal government and the various skill-sets that these organizations value,” she said.
The sights and sounds seen first-hand by the students emphasized the importance of a quality education to all three students, who are striving to make the most out of their time at Radford University.
“It made me realize how important it is to get involved around campus,” Rowe said. “The trip also taught me the value of having an open mind about things you may not think are interesting. I want to take more criminal justice classes now that I've been on this trip, mixing in with my political science classes.”
The transformative experience allowed students to gain a professional development opportunity as well as an educational opportunity.
“I was able to expand my career goals and build a social network with professionals from diverse areas of government work,” Hurst said.
Part of that networking was made possible by Radford University alumni in the Washington D.C. area. One of the proponents of the trip, which has occurred the last four years, is DeLoatche. Her ongoing work with Radford University gives students the opportunity to learn from an alumna who has made a career amid the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C.