Michigan in Washington Student of the Week: Jianwei (Weiwei) Kapp

Hometown: Dansville, Michigan

Major: Political Science and Economics

Internship placement: Office of Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin

Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?

From the moment I heard about Michigan in Washington, I knew I was going to apply. The program offers an incredible opportunity to intern in D.C. while still taking classes and earning credit. Through Michigan in Washington, I am able to complete a large portion of my political science major in one meaningful, hands-on semester. Additionally, I am from a small farm town in mid-Michigan, so I appreciate the support system and housing provided by the program.

What do you do during a typical day at your internship?

At my internship, I am responsible for a lot of constituency work, including greeting people, answering phones, and opening mail. These responsibilities give me the opportunity to interact with a lot of people back home. I also give tours of the Capitol to constituents and special guests of the Congresswoman. When we are in session, I run a lot of errands to the House Floor and committee rooms. Here on the Hill, I have countless opportunities to attend briefings and hearings on a myriad of topics and submit my briefs to the legislative aides.

Which elective are you taking and how does this class apply to your time in D.C.? (If not applicable, what about this class interests you)?

I am taking two electives: American Political Journalism and the Politics of Theater. They are both incredibly D.C.-relevant. The American Political Journalism class is taught by a current Washington Post journalist, who brings newsroom experience to our analysis of political journalism. During the class, we are prepped with a collection of articles, videos, and podcasts to discuss the way that journalists cover politics as well as the way that journalism affects politics. The things we talk about in class are immediately applicable to the news of the day.

The Politics of Theater is taught by the artistic director of Mosaic Theater. The class is a great way to explore D.C.’s theater scene, the third-largest in the country. All of the plays explore ideas that are currently relevant, including discrimination, sexual assault, and First Amendment rights.

Both of these classes are ones that I would not be able to take anywhere else. The themes of both classes speak to the things I am seeing and experiencing here in D.C.

What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?

D.C. is such an exciting city to be in. Between the museums, restaurants, and theaters, I never run out of things to do. Since we don’t work on Fridays and usually get done with class by noon, I get to use most of the weekends to explore. I also spend a lot of time with the people in my cohort and students from other schools. I love that there are so many students from all across the country living in the same building.

What’s something on your D.C. bucket list and what is something that you have crossed off of your D.C. bucket list?

By this point, I’ve managed to make it to many of the museums on my bucket list, including the Newseum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Portrait Gallery. Before I leave, I would like to tour Ford’s Theater and NPR.

What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington?

If you are at all interested in Michigan in Washington, absolutely go for it! Of course, if you are politically inclined, D.C. is the place to be. I think the majority of us are in political science or related majors, but it is also a great opportunity for those who are interested in other fields. This semester has given me experience learning how to juggle working an almost full-time job, taking classes, and navigating a new city (while still eating and sleeping).