Welcome from the Director

Fellow Wolverines,

Greetings from Ann Arbor! I’d like to bring you up to date on the Michigan in Washington program. 

I’ll start with some exciting news. A few years ago, the Advisory Board recommended that we establish a fund to support students’ cultural experiences while they are in Washington. This summer, the family of our late board member Marty Bindeman generously donated the financial support that we needed to complete the fund. During Marty’s long tenure on our board, she helped to ensure that we prioritized the whole student, encouraging MIW participants to set work aside from time to time, to enjoy being together and experiencing the cultural richness of Washington, DC.  Thank you to the donors who launched the fund, and to Marty’s husband Stuart Bindeman and his family for completing it. We have renamed the cultural enrichment program in Marty’s honor. Going forward, it will be known as the Martha K. Bindeman MIW Cultural Enrichment Fund.

I have a second piece of exciting news.  At MIW we are committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of our students; we never want money to be an obstacle to participation.  If you read our newsletter last year, you might recall that we launched a drive to raise funds to support the MIW Opportunity Fund Scholarships.  Our goal is to raise $500,000, a sum that would enable us to fully support five students each year. I am delighted to say that we are half way to our goal! A warm thank you to the generosity of many of you, and to those who made foundational gifts to the Opportunity Fund: Michelle and Peter Brown, David Sobel, Roger and Carolyn Johnson, James and Mary Mulvenon, Arthur Lerner and Linda Dreeben, John and Elizabeth Dugan, Susan Liss, Robin (Barnes) and Clark Chandler, and two anonymous donors. You can read about the program’s impact here

If you would like to support the Opportunity Fund or our general student support fund, please click here to visit our online giving page. 

We continue to build upon our professional development training and have recently added workshops and events in Washington to complement the preparation course that students take in advance of their semester in DC. We have begun a tradition of a mid-semester mixer, hosted by our Advisory Board, so that students might extend their networks.  In addition, this past year one board member coordinated a workshop with his corporation’s recruiter, giving insider’s tips on the job market, and another board member hosted a negotiation workshop.  (I believe the title was “How to Negotiate Like a Badass”, and I know that many of us wish we could have attended!). These experiences build the soft skills so essential for making the transition from college to a professional career.

Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to the 94 alumni wolverines who mentored our students this past year. Mentors make themselves available for coffee or a meal, offering career advice or suggestions of further contacts or ideas about what to do in DC. In ways big and small, our mentors make the difference in students’ semesters. I don’t know if we wolverines are just more generous, or remember better what it was like to be just starting out, or if we’re just more willing to be invested in our country’s future leadership. Whatever the reason, our mentors make Michigan in Washington unrivalled among university internship programs.

On our website we spotlight a different student each week; browsing through the history is a great way to give you a window into the students’ experiences. We’ve added a new spotlight series that tells the story of our alumni.  See the first featured alumni installments here, and check back often for more.

The only way we could hope to bring the excellence of Michigan’s breathtaking scale down to the level of one on one relationships is because of you, our Michigan in Washington community. On behalf of the Michigan in Washington team---Amber Blomquist and Zach Kopin in Ann Arbor and Margaret Howard in Washington---I thank you for your support and involvement.  We literally could not do this without you.

Go Blue!

Jenna Bednar

Director, Michigan in Washington

Professor of political science

Fall 2019 Cohort

The Fall 2019 have come and gone from D.C.; however, they were all really excited about being in the capital and working hard in their internships. The students this term came from a variety of majors and minors besides political science: sociology; philosophy; biochemistry; international studies; Middle East studies; communication; history and women's studies. The students this semester interned at some fantastic locations including several member's of Congress: Senator Peters, Senator Stabenow, Senator Duckworth, Seantor Schumer, Senator Toomey, Rep. Serrano, Rep. Allred, Rep. Slotkin, Rep. Dingell. In addition to the Hill, students interned with the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Office of the Inspector General. Every student was assigned two mentors to provide advice and support. The academic portion of Michigan in Washington included a fantastic array of courses and speakers. Fall offerings included A Theater of Politics & The Politics of Theater, Nations and Nationalism, American Political Journalism, Activism, Protest and the Politics of Change, and Race and Ethnic Politics from Obama to Trump. 

Michigan in Washington Fall 2018-Winter 2019

Fall 2018-Winter 2019 Cohorts

It loomed over the end of the fall semester and was in full effect when the winter semester cohort arrived in Washington.

“It” was the 35-day government shutdown from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25, the longest in the federal government’s history.

Four winter students could not go to their internships for weeks. Three found other positions. Two of the three might have been able to do some work at their original placements had their security background checks been completed; but, the number of people waiting for background checks mounted while investigators were furloughed. No security clearance, no internship.  One student waited out the furlough and started the internship as soon as the government offices re-opened.

“The Furloughed Four” made the best of it by attending lectures and panel discussions, working ahead on assignments, and seeing every possible sight in town, although some tourist attractions were closed during the shutdown.

One-quarter of the fall students and almost half of the winter students worked on the Hill, either in district offices or for committees. One turned a Hill internship into a full-time job.  Fourteen of 16 fall students were seniors, but only five of 23 winter students were in their last year.  All but two fall students call somewhere in the state of Michigan home, but the winter term boasted nearly four times as many out-of-state students as in-state students.


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.

The electivies that were offered by Michigan: 

"Race and Ethnic Politics in a Post-Obama Presidency," Dr. Menna Demessie (both semesters)

"Youth, Social Media and Development." Dr. Loubna Skalli Hanna

"Race and Politics in the American City," Dr. Donald Kinder

The electives offered by other universities: 

 “Lobbying, Money and Influence in Washington,” Dr. Steven Billet, University of Notre Dame

“American Political Journalism,” Mr. Carlos Lozada, University of Notre Dame

“Campaigns and Elections,” Prof. Ken Goldstein, University of San Francisco

"Politics and Poems," Mr. Francisco Aragon, University of Notre Dame

"U.S. Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East," Dr. Eric Trager, UCDC

Research Paper Awards

Laura Ariane (Laurie) Miller, past MIW Advisory Board Chair, wanted to make sure MIW students put a high value on good writing; so, in Winter 2014, she established an award for the best research paper or papers each term.  The winners share a cash prize.


Fall 2018 Winners

·         Madeline Carter, “(Op-Ed) Early Literacy, High School Drop-Outs, and AmeriCorps:

A Pathway to National Savings”

·         Jon Pearcy, “Space Policy - Directed: The Trump Administration’s Efforts to Reform Commercial Space Policy”

·         Taylor Shotwell, “What Really Happened?  An Analysis of Voter Turnout and Political Advertising in the 2016 Presidential Election”

Winter 2019 Winners

·         Lorraine Furtado, “Cultural Competency and Race in Advertising by Domestic Violence Service Providers”

·         Ayat Al-Tamimi, “The Unintended Consequences of the FOSTA/SESTA Law”

·         Catherine Garton, "The Glaciers are Melting, But Partisanship Is Not: Finding a Path Forward on Climate Action by Seeking New Messengers" 


Michigan in Washington participants worked in 39 organizations. MIW’ers were interns in offices in the shadow of the dome of the Capitol, including U.S. Senator's Peters, Duckworth and Stabenow offices on the Hill. But, not everyone wants to work on The Hill...find out where else out students spent their days!

Several House members also hosted MIW students: Representatives Wallberg, Kildee, Lieu, Dingell, Gallego, and Walorski. One student worked on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while another interned with the Homeland Security Committee (minority staff).

Not all of the students worked on the Hill! MIW students were spread across the District in a wide range of organizations.

·         American Psychological Association-governments relations office

·         Michael Torrey Associates

·         Michael Torrey Associates

·         Echelon Insights

·         RAINN

·         Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

·         DC Attorney General Public Interest Division

·         "Homeland Security Committee

·         Minority staff"

·         EU Delegation

·         270 Strategies

·         Environment America

·         EU Delegation,  Social Media

·         UN Foundation-Better World Campaign

·         Department of Education Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs

·         Forbes-Tate

·         AEI Public Opinion

·         Heritage Foundation

·         Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

·         Signal Group

·         USAID

·         State Department Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

·         Bose Public Affairs Group

·         House Energy and Commerce Committee

·         Partnership for Public Service

·         Mothership Strategies

·         National Archives- Boeing Learning Center


MIW Alumni Advisory Board member Liz Schrayer hosted a professional development mixer for both cohorts, inviting UM alumni from various fields to share their career advice with current students. The winter students had another chance to mix with UMDC Alumni Club members at the 68th Annual Congressional Breakfast. The students also asked career advice from a number of guest speakers at other times throughout the semesters. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY 6th District), UM alumna, was among the guest speakers in 2018-2019. She encouraged students to run for office while they are relatively young and not be discouraged by those who advise otherwise.

Long-time campaigns-and-elections analyst Charlie Cook discussed how he turned from a traditional journalistic approach to specialized reporting that dissected and compared polls.  He said he “sort of created” his own job.

MIW Advisory Board Member Peter Brown of Deloitte hosted a workshop for winter students with Deloitte human resources team members, who advised students to present a unified theme across their resumes and social media, and interview answers.  Being able to describe and sell oneself is essential to a successful job search.

Another continuing valuable resource for students remains the MIW mentor, matched with the student before the student arrives in D.C.  MIW has more than 200 mentor volunteers, about one-third of whom went through MIW and have established careers in Washington. If you work in Washington, DC and would be able to volunteer your time to mentor a Michigan in Washington student, please send us an email to miwdc@umich.edu.


Martha K. Bindeman MIW Cultural Enrichment Fund

Last summer, the Martha K. Bindeman MIW Cultural Enrichment Fund was established. This scholarship was established in memory of Marty with the intention that MIW cohorts not only continue to benefit from the program but also have the opportunity to participate in activities designed to enhance their experience. The fund supports cultural and intellectual enrichment activities such as special field trips, engaging guest speakers, attending arts and humanities programming, and hosting debates, political discussions and career networking events. Marty Bindeman graduated from Michigan in 1969 and The George Washington University School of Law in 1972. She owned Finishing Touches event planning service in Bethesda, Maryland. She was a loyal and ardent supporter of the Michigan in Washington Program.  Her block ‘M’ and Capitol dome homemade chocolate bars were highly sought-after treats distributed at MIW’s 5th and 10th anniversaries and semester-opening buffets. But it was her time, her counsel, and her constant effort to encourage matching contributions that made the largest impact on the MIW program.

The Opportunity Fund

To provide every student with the opportunity to participate in Michigan in Washington was the impetus for creating the Opportunity Fund. The goal is to allow any student, regardless of means, to have access that they may otherwise not be able to attain. These students want to make a difference and are passionate about public service. Fortunately, Michigan in Washington since 2018 has been able to generate enough scholarship program funding to support five students. Students are eligible for the funding if they represent any of the following with preference given to superior academic achievement; first-gen students; hardship as a result of economic circumstances; or underrepresented educational or geographical backgrounds, e.g. public high schools in rural or urban areas. To learn more about the fund and a few of the recipients, please visit here where the Opportunity Fund was highlighted as a "Story of Impact." 

Students of the Week

Over the past three semesters, Michigan in Washington has highlighted a Student of the Week. These students share their experiences, and challenges, during their semester in D.C. If you'd like to take a look back at their stories, please click here

Please keep an eye out for more profiles this fall and winter!

MIW Director, Professor Jenna Bednar, wins the 2019 Martha Derthick Best Book Award

Professor Bednar's book- 'The Robust Federation' was announced as the winner of the 2019 Martha Derthick Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association in its first year of eligibility."The award goes to the 'best book published at least ten years ago that has made a lasting contribution to the study of federalism and intergovernmental relations." For additional details, please visit here.

Carlos Lozada wins the Pulitzer Prize

Carlos Lozada, MIW elective instructor and Washington Post reporter has won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism. Carlos is also an instructor for the University of Notre Dame at UCDC where he offers an extremely popular elective-American Political Journalism.