Students Gain Political Insight During 'Maymester' in Washington, D.C.

Posted on June 10, 2011.

HIGH POINT, N.C., June 9, 2011 – Several students at High Point University recently had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the political world of Washington, D.C. by participating in a two-week trip to the nation’s capital. The trip, part of the Maymester class “Power and Politics in D.C.,” gave students a look behind closed doors in the nation’s capital, where many of America’s most important political decisions are made.

Led by Drs. Alixandra Yanus and Martin Kifer, assistant professors of political science, the class initially began on the HPU campus where students read and discussed case studies and eyewitness accounts of politics and policymaking. Once they were armed with information, the class then traveled to Washington, D.C. – where students interacted with elected officials, lobbyists and other powerbrokers while also exploring many of the nation’s most noteworthy political landmarks and centers of power.

“The course provided a great opportunity to examine political science theories in practice, and also gave students the chance to make connections for future student internships and professional careers in the nation’s capital,” Yanus says.

Highlights of the trip included meetings with U.S. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), as well as Mike Velasquez, Congressional Affairs Director with the United States Southern Command; staff at the Democratic National Committee; Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee; lobbyist Marc Egan at the National Education Association; and many more.

“I enjoyed experiencing the Washingtonian lifestyle. It was quite different than High Point living.” says Patrick Budd, a rising junior political science and communications student at HPU. “Getting to meet the people that represent my voice in Congress was an experience that I highly recommend.”

The group also took a variety of tours, including the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Supreme Court, the White House, as well as the Newseum and the International Spy Museum.

“The course is a chance for students to experience a hands-on, inside-the-Capital-Beltway exploration of how political actors shape U.S. politics and interact with one another, both formally and informally,” Kifer explains.

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.℠ HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 14 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at

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Pam Haynes

Communication Specialist


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