Catherine's experience with the Michigan in Washington program was made possible partly by alumni donations to the Department of Sociology Stategic Fund. This fund is used to support short-term projects and to defray unforeseen, nonrecurring expenses. In recent years, these funds have been used primaruly to defray the research expesnses of our honors undergraduate and graduate students. Some funds, such as those awarded to Catherine, are made available to undergraduates through the Sociology Undergraduate Program Funding Opportunities program.
Contributions to the Department's Stategic Fund play a critical role in sustaining selected activities and programs. The Department gratefully accepts contributions via check or by credit card, online.
Catherine has returned and is eager to share about her experiences. Take a look!
My name is Catherine Reynolds, and I’m a junior studying sociology and writing. I’m from Long Island, but I’ve enjoyed my years at Michigan in the pursuit of not only gaining knowledge in the class room, but enjoying interactions with the leaders and best from all over the world. That said, I was involved in the Michigan in Washington Program to further that same kind of sociocultural exposure whilst gaining professional experience in my area of interest: the world of communications and speechwriting.
In the district I worked at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration as a communications intern, where I drafted press releases and talking points for the inspector general as well as led outreach efforts to inform the public of the recent IRS phone fraud scams. In addition to my internship, I took a class at The Washington Post on American Political Journalism, which I found particularly fascinating. However, this was not my only class. On Friday mornings I joined with my cohort for our Research Seminar with Dr. Donald Kinder, renowned Political Scientist. For this class, I researched the connection between the widely held ideal of the “American Dream," and modern partisan political rhetoric. This combined my love for sociological theory and methods, with rhetoric.
Throughout my time in DC, I enjoyed going to places like the Renwick Gallery, the National Archives, and the Lincoln Memorial. And on a more interactive level, I got to shake hands with important people like the former staff secretary to President Obama. My friends and I saw a show at the Kennedy Center and explored the richly historical Georgetown district. Since I’ve had such a wonderful experience in DC, I’m staying for the summer, and working at SKDKnickerbocker, a liberal public affairs firm.
Without the Sociology Department’s support, I could have never had the resources to “get my foot in the door” here in DC. Every morning when I walked to work, I was reminded of how lucky I am, and how grateful I am, as I spotted the White House in the near distance. It was a near-religious feeling being in such close proximity to our government—the foundation of our liberties as citizens of the United States of America.