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2018 Newsletter

Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the Michigan in Washington’s annual newsletter.  Our newsletters are snapshots of a program that continues to evolve.  As you browse this year’s newsletter I’d like to draw your attention to four developments: the MIW Opportunity Fund, the cultural and intellectual enrichment fund, the professional mixer, and a new partnership with the College of Engineering.  I’d also like to update you about the current project of our program’s founder, Edie Goldenberg.

Michigan in Washington would not be the same without our advisory board’s generosity and creativity. The board has worked very hard to build a set of scholarships to eliminate any financial barrier to participation in MIW.  To further these efforts this summer we launched a new scholarship campaign, the MIW Opportunity Fund, to provide need-based scholarships of up to $5,000 to students from rural areas, urban public schools, and first generation students—students for whom Michigan in Washington is an exceptional opportunity, a difference-maker in their career paths.  Our first two Opportunity Fund scholars are in the current DC cohort.  The board also wants to encourage each MIW student to take advantage of the breadth of cultural and intellectual opportunities available in Washington, DC, and so have established a fund to enable students to purchase tickets to special events.  This fall several students are using their funds to offset the cost of seeing Hamilton during its short run in DC!  We are grateful for all donations to these scholarships, and thank you if you’ve been able to contribute.  

In addition to spearheading the drive to support student scholarships, our board gives generously of their time by mentoring and sponsoring special opportunities for our students.  This year board members Liz Schrayer and Cindy Bank organized a professional mixer midway through the students’ semester to catalyze the formation of their professional network.  Not only did the students make valuable connections, but we all had a lot of fun reconnecting with fellow wolverines.  Planning is underway for our next mixer this October.  

Our program believes that students from any discipline can benefit from a semester in DC—and that DC can benefit from the involvement of people from diverse intellectual backgrounds.  In this spirit, Michigan in Washington is in the process of building a relationship with the College of Engineering to welcome the participation of engineering students who have interests in public policy.  This fall, two students in our cohort are engineering students; one is interning in Senator Peters’ office and the other is in the Department of Education’s Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs.  We’re eager to see how these political offices make use of our talented Michigan engineers!

Finally, many of you know and admire our program’s founding director, Professor Edie Goldenberg.  She handed the MIW reins to me in order to dedicate herself to a new project: encouraging the youth to register and vote.   She founded an organization, Turn Up Turnout (TUT), and spearheaded the university’s involvement in the Big Ten Voting Challenge.  You can read more about the organization here and here.

If you are receiving this newsletter in your inbox it is because you are involved in the program—as alumnus, mentor, board member, donor, or friend.  As you know well, our program harnesses the scale of Michigan but works one-on-one with each student in our program to help to create a bridge from campus to professional life that matches each student’s goals.  We could not possibly do this without you, our MIW community.  Thank you!

Warm wishes,

Jenna Bednar

Director, Michigan in Washington

Professor of political science

Fall 2018 Cohort

The Fall 2018 cohort come from a variety of majors and minors besides political science and public policy: history; aerospace engineering; mechanical engineering; international studies; sociology; writing; gender, race & nation; education and business administration. All of the students have secured their internships, and they include the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, AEI Public Opinion, Heritage Foundation, Partnership for Public Service, the the House Energy and Commerce Committee to name a few. Every student has been assigned two alumni mentors to provide advice and support. In addition to their internships, they will have a full scholarly schedule, with a great lineup of fall courses and speakers. Fall offerings by U-M faculty include US Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East and Youth, Social Media and Development. Courses offered by other schools in residence include American Political Journalism and Campaigns and Elections. 

Michigan in Washington Opportunity Fund

MIW has recently established a new Opportunity Fund with funding up to $5000! This scholarship fund will provide need-based support to students for whom a semester in Washington D.C. represents an exceptional opportunity to advance their professional goals. Preference will be given to students with a record of superior academic achievement and who are the first in their families to attend college, who have experienced hardship as a result of family economic circumstances, or who come from underrepresented educational or geographical backgrounds, such as public high schools in rural or urban areas.

Michigan in Washington Fall 2017—Winter 2018 

Forty-two Michigan undergraduate students came to Washington in the Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 semesters. But, the MIW Program actually begins in Ann Arbor, not Washington.

The semester before they come to Washington, students enroll in a preparatory course in Ann Arbor.  Graduate Student Instructor James Strickland taught the prep class, covering a myriad of topics: a review of the structure of federal government, business etiquette and office conduct, resume writing and interviewing tips, and help finding an internship.

James smoothed the transition from Ann Arbor to D.C. for the Fall 2017 class by taking the students out for a night of fun after they moved to Washington.  They went to a performance of The Capitol Steps, a musical-comedy group, founded in 1981 by Congressional staff members who were called upon to perform for an event on the Hill.  With non-partisan glee, The Capitol Steps sets new lyrics to familiar tunes, ribbing Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike in a musical revue of the news of the day.












Michigan in Washington participants worked in 38 organizations.  Students were interns in offices in the shadow of the dome of the Capitol, including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s offices on the Hill.

Other House members who hosted students were: Representatives Sander (Sandy) Levin and Brenda Lawrence of Michigan and Representative Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts. One Fall 2017 student worked for House Committee on Rules through the office of Representative Louise Slaughter, the ranking minority (Democratic) member, while another assisted the minority (Democratic) staff of the House Committee on Natural Resources.  A Winter 2018 student worked for the House Republican Conference staff.

Michiganians made their mark in the Senate too, learning the ropes in the offices of the following Senators: Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York; Democratic Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois; Patty Murray of Washington State; and, Susan Collins of Maine.

The Legislative Branch was not the only part of the government that welcomed Michigan interns. The Executive Branch provided interesting experiences for those working in departments and agencies.

Three students worked four days per week in the State Department:

Office of Civil Rights;

Office of the United National Political, Bureau of International Organization Affairs;

Office of Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water and Office of Wastewater Management and the Department of Education’s Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs provided internships, as did the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Bureau. The William Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies of the Department of Defense gave one Michiganian experience as a research assistant.

Being a research assistant is a typical position outside the federal government too, along with providing support for events, keeping track of organizational information in databases, and writing for news and public relations firms.  

Brookings Institution Brown Center on Education Policy 

Campaign Media Analysis Group

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Emerge America

Freedom House Middle East and North Africa Program

Glover Park Group (communications consulting)

K&L Gates LLP (law firm)

Luntz Global (message research development)

Middle East Institute

National Law Center on Homeless & Poverty

Progressive Policy Institute

Quicken Loans Government Relations

The Constitution Project

The Obama Foundation

The Truman Center for National Security

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

It is not surprising that a program in the nation’s capital attracts juniors and seniors interested in politics, government and international affairs. Half of the students majored in Political Science. Fourteen percent came from the Program in International & Comparative Studies, and 12 percent came from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.  Almost 10 percent majored in Spanish or German. The remaining 14 percent concentrated in: Afroamerican & African Studies; American Culture; Data Science; Economics; Gender and Health; Music; Philosophy, Politics & Economics (a relatively new concentration combining all three disciplines); Psychology; and, Sociology.  Ten of the 42 students were double majors.

Two students had internships that were not explicitly political.  One concentrating in Music worked at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the Development Department’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.  The Kennedy Center relies on donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, and one MIW’er learned about who supports the arts and how.

When you open the refrigerator, do you take cold food and ice for granted? You would not after talking to one MIW’er talked about the history of ice and refrigeration in America. “Refrigerators = Happiness” proclaimed a cart with artifacts at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  After years of being told, “Don’t touch that!” in museums, visitors are invited to handle some objects.  This is particularly popular with children, who learned how to pull up the handle on a metal ice tray to release the ice cubes or inspected the inside of a polished ice bucket. Engaging museum visitors on how refrigeration revolutionized our world and other subjects was part of the internship experience for one student, majoring in History and minoring in Museum Studies. 













Research Paper Topics and Awards

Combining what one learned at an internship with the class requirement to write a 25-page research paper or policy brief melded students’ 32-hours-per-week experiential learning with Prof. Ken Goldstein’s required seminar.  For example, the aforementioned hands-on internship work at the American History Museum led to a paper titled, “What Did You Learn? An Analysis of Inquiry-Based Learning in Museum Education and Visitor Interaction in ‘Object Project.’” 

Rather than looking back at history, one student pondered the future in “Roadblocks to the Deployment of Automated Vehicles.” Three students wrote about housing in “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Shelter,” “Homeownership Rates in the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act,” and, “The Unmet Housing Needs of Sexual Assault Survivors.”

Forty-five percent of the 2017-2018 students were from State of Michigan, and in their research papers, some students examined challenges the state faces; however, other students’ research topics spanned the globe.


MIW’s Laura Ariane Miller Writing Award for Best Research Paper

Sarah Schade won the Michigan in Washington Program’s Laura Ariane Miller Writing Award for fall semester for “Pathways to Success: Educational Experiences of English-Language-Learner Students.” __ won for his/her paper, “  __” in the winter semester. 

“Laurie” Miller was the chair of the MIW Alumni Advisory Board and established the award for the best-written research paper. Ms. Miller established the award in Winter 2014 to promote good writing in MIW, and the award is given every semester in her memory.


Sharing Electives with UC-Berkeley, Notre Dame and University of San Francisco

Universities on the semester system housed at the University of California Washington Center include UC—Berkeley and UC—Merced, the University of Notre Dame, the University of San Francisco and Michigan. Each of these universities offers electives and allows students from the other semester programs to enroll in these classes.

Electives offered by Michigan:

·         “U.S. Foreign Policy toward the Middle East,” Dr. Eric Trager, Fall 2017

·         “The Theater of Politics/The Politics of Theater,” Mr. Ari Roth, Fall 2017

·         “The Federalist Papers: Early Debates about the U.S. Constitution,” Prof. Arlene Saxonhouse, Winter 2018

·         “Politics of Persuasion: Public Policy and Public Speaking in the Digital Age,” Dr. Menna Demessie, Winter 2018

Electives offered by other universities:

·         “Lobbying, Money and Influence in Washington,” Dr. Steven Billet, University of Notre Dame, Fall 2017 and Winter 2018

·         “American Political Journalism,” Mr. Carlos Lozada, University of Notre Dame, Fall 2017 and Winter 2018

·         “Campaigns and Elections,” Prof. Ken Goldstein, University of San Francisco, Fall 2017 and Winter 2018


Networking Mixer

How do I find my first job? How do I build my career? Students with those often-asked questions received some answers from University of Michigan alumni who have built their careers in Washington. MIW Alumni Advisory Board Member Liz Schrayer hosted a professional networking mixer Feb. 7, 2018.  Board Member Cindy Bank helped to coordinate the event. During the first part of the mixer, three alumni representing different sectors and stages of their careers made introductory remarks:  Ford Motor Company Vice President of International Governmental Affairs and former MIW Alumni Advisory Board Member Stephen Biegun; Rachel Snyder, Senior Policy Advisor, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland); and, Yosef Getachew, a policy fellow at Public Knowledge, a non-profit on technology and intellectual property issues. About two dozen Michigan alumni from the DC area met with the students in the second part of the evening, matching the students’ interests to the expertise of the alumni.  The get-together was a hit with the students, who asked yet another question at the end of the evening: “When’s the next mixer?!”


National Gallery of Art Treasure Hunt

UM alumnus Steve Shindler (A.B., ’85) hosted the ninth annual National Gallery of Art treasure hunt for the Winter 2018 semester participants.  A company that specializes in devising treasure hunts, Watson Adventures, developed nearly three dozen mind-tickling questions about paintings in the National Gallery’s West Wing. The students competed in teams to see who could answer the greatest number of questions correctly in 90 minutes. Afterwards, the winning team, Billy Stampfl, Julia Triezenberg and Taylor King, went to the nearby Capital Grille restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, and while Mr. Shindler treated them to steak dinners, he and the students compared notes on what it is like to be a Wolverine as a student and as an alumnus.  The other teams and Program Manager Margaret Howard dined at the Daily Grill at 18th and M Sts., NW.


UMDC Club’s Congressional Breakfast

Winter semester students were once again guests of the University of Michigan’s Washington, DC Alumni Club for its 67th Annual Congressional Breakfast March 8 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan’s 7th District was the featured speaker. The October 5, 2017 passing of Martha (Marty) Koenig Bindeman (A.B., ’69) was noted.  Marty, an events planner, co-chaired the Congressional Breakfast for many years and was a loyal DC Alumni Club member, MIW board member and supporter. 

Marty is remembered for her home-made chocolate bars in the shapes of the Michigan Block “M” and the Capitol dome, distributed at the MIW 5th and 10th anniversaries and semester-opening buffets.  Marty donated her time and treasure in many ways, including matching donations made by MIW former participants in 2013. The spring development campaign among the former students of Fall 2005 through Winter 2013 had a participation rate 16 times higher than the average participation rate of similar fundraisers among the recently graduated at the time. Two students were proud their companies provided matching contributions. Marty’s challenge to match donations encouraged those cohorts to support the program financially for the first time.


Cultural and Intellectual Enrichment

Thanks to generous donors, MIW now has a cultural enrichment fund, and every student receives a stipend to spend on tickets for a minimum of three events or performances. Students went to performances at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, The National Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Mosaic Theater, and Studio Theatre. They toured the National Geographic, National Museum of Women in the Arts, International Spy Museum, Newseum (a museum dedicated to news reporting), The Phillips Collection, and Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.


After Washington:  Graduation For Some; Becoming MIW Ambassadors For Others

Frequently, students who return to Ann Arbor to complete their degrees work for the MIW Program on-campus, and they have made significant contributions. MIW Ambassadors recruit students, visit classrooms, mentor incoming classes about what to expect in the nation’s capital, and generally make the program more responsive to students. Special thanks to MIW Ambassadors for their contributions to the life of the program in Ann Arbor. 

Some MIW students return to Ann Arbor for graduation, their days as an undergraduate completed. There were 35 graduates from MIW during the 2017-2018 AY. Every spring we celebrate the graduates with a send-off reception where they can share their next steps and reunite with old friends. 









The Joy of Experiential Learning

A total of 576 Michiganians have participated in the program since its inaugural term in the fall semester of 2005.  They are living not only in Michigan and Washington, D.C., but all over the world, pursuing their careers as physicians, engineers, musicians, teachers, researchers, lawyers, policy analysts and professionals in public service, among various pursuits. 

No matter where in the world former students are, MIW participants are part of an elite group of Michigan’s Leaders and Best, who spent the hardest, but perhaps, best semester of their undergraduate years in Washington, D.C.

Every MIW student is assigned two mentors to help them navigate life in D.C., as well as offer professional advice and guidance. The mentors are an integral part of the success of MIW and our program would not be what it is without their commitment to the students. We would like to acknowledge the wonderful mentors from the 2017-2018 AY.

Carolina Rizzo Oscaris
Liz Abbott-Beaumont
Kate Gallagher Robbins
Blaire Edgerton
Stephanie Westman
Meg Peterson
Katie Koziara
Jessica Pavel
Hannah Poulson
Amy Pfaeler
Zach Kessler
Matt Woelfel
Michael Spaeth
Andrew Beilein
Evan Viau
Aaron Krupkin
Marina Criso
Leigh Genetti
TJ Sell
Joe Jozlin
Irfan Murtuza
Abbey Marshak

Nelson Cunningham                        
Steve Biegun
David Sanders
Charlie Spies
William McColl
Jeffrey Colman
Papia Debroy
Tammy Taylor
Kelly Behr
Howard & Judy Kramer
Becca Mark
Cindy Bank
Kevin Nealer
Jonathan Freeman
Michael Waring
Barbara Carney-Coston
Peter Levine
Jeff Ehrlich
Lisa & Steve Diamond
Bonnie Gottlieb
Noah Brown
Irfan Murtuza
Brad Walvort

The Michigan in Washington Advisory Board

Robin Barnes-Economist and educator

Charles L. Betsey-Professor Emeritus and Former Interim Dean, Graduate School, Howard University

Peter Brown-Managing Director, Deloitte's Public Policy and Government Relations Group

Barbara Carney-Coston-Writer & Producer

Nelson Cunningham-President and Co-founder of McLarty Associates

Linda Dreeben-Deputy Associate General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board

John Dugan-Partner, Covington & Burling LLP

Claude G.B. Fontheim-Chief Executive Office, Fontheim International

David Fuss-Shareholder, Wilkes Artis

Dan Glickman-Executive Director, Aspen Institute

Roger C. Johnson-Founding Partner of Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot

Amany Jondy-Co-founder and COO, Zeena

Gabriel La Prairie-Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Susan Liss-Non-Profit Counsel/Consultant

Rebecca Mark-Vice President, Porter Novelli

James Mulvenon-Vice President, Defense Group Inc.'s Intelligence Division and Director, DGI, Center for Research and Analysis

Kevin G. Nealer-MIW Board Chair-Principal and Partner, The Scowcroft Group

Jonas Neihardt-Head of Government Affairs, Hilton Hotels

Norman Ornstein-Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Gary Saretsky-Founding Shareholder, Saretsky, Hart, Michaels & Gould

Leland P. Schermer-Partner, Dinsmore & Shohl

Liz Schrayer-Founder, Schrayer & Associates