LBJ Washington Center: The Student Perspective

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LBJ Washington Center: The Student Perspective

Written by Meenakshi Awasthi (MGPS 2015)

This fall marks the opening of the LBJ Washington Center, the public affairs school’s newest Master’s degree program. Lasting 18 months, the program is an immersive fast track to Washington, DC’s political scene. Students spend their first year on campus in Austin gaining a theoretical knowledge base and then spend the subsequent summer and fall in DC rounding out their degree with a six-month Monday through Thursday internship. On Fridays and Saturdays, students complete their remaining course credits necessary to graduate in December.

“I was attracted to the combination of resources they offer at the LBJ School, to Texas in general, and to the prospect of hands-on experience during the DC internship in a clinical environment,” said Kate Adams when asked why she chose the LBJ Washington program.

A Berkeley native, Adams is concentrating on Global Policy Studies. Before coming to the LBJ School, Adams worked for the Special Victims Unit within the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in New York. She is interested in a career with an executive agency on Capitol Hill and is looking forward to her internship requirement.

Peter Sarasohn, a Public Affairs student, came to Austin from Oregon where he served as a state legislative staffer. Sarasohn completed his undergraduate degree at American University and is looking forward to returning to Washington. Interested in the legislative policy process, Sarasohn also aspires to work on Capitol Hill during his internship.

According to Sarasohn and Adams, the Washington program’s engaging structure provides a direct link to the world that many LBJ students and alumni strive to become a part of.

“I think it’s great for a policy school that's so renowned to have an actual presence in DC,” says Adams. “Students, faculty and alumni have the opportunity to attend relevant lectures and hear speakers, and to be in proximity of policymakers and decision makers is really cool. For some people it is more effective to learn by doing, and I’m excited to benefit from the hands-on experience the Washington program provides.”

Students on the DC track will be able to experience Austin and the LBJ School before heading off to Washington.

“So far so good,” Adams says when asked about her first month in Texas. “It’s exciting to be here. I think it’s important to be surrounded by the LBJ community and get a solid policy background before applying it to the real world. Furthermore, this environment is so collaborative. It’s competitive, but you’re competing with yourself, not with other students. Everyone helps each other.”

Sarasohn also appreciates the policy education foundation the LBJ School provides. He goes on to note that the Washington program brings the LBJ community together in an arena that allows students to interface their academic pursuits with real world experience, which is invaluable for a career in public policy.

“I appreciate that the LBJ School is focused on the practical aspect of policymaking,” says Sarasohn. “The DC program serves as a home base for LBJ, connecting students straight into careers and into making a difference in the world.”

To learn more about the LBJ School Washington Center, click here.