Students Benefit from Networking Opportunities in D.C.

May 11, 2015

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Nine University of Mount Union Pre-Law students traveled to Washington, D.C. over spring break in March in order to expand their connections and experience D.C.’s lawmakers in action.

The trip, organized by Dr. Jack DeSario, professor of Political Science and Director of the Pre-Law Professional Program, was open to members of Mount Union’s Pre-Law Society. The trip to D.C. included siteseeing, visiting Georgetown Law School, getting library cards from the Library of Congress and being “snowed in” in the capital.

Students also got the opportunity to tour the Federal Coordination and Compliance Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. There they met with attorneys from the office, who shared advice and experiences. 

Student attendees included senior political science major Terika Callier of Austintown, Ohio; sophomore political science major Bridget Dennis of Mount Vernon, Ohio; sophomore political science major Dalton Dennis of Mount Vernon, Ohio; senior accounting and management major Allie Johnston of Massillon, Ohio; junior psychology major Abigail Riffee of Mineral Ridge, Ohio; junior international affairs and diplomacy and political science major Clinton Simmons of Lorain, Ohio; senior criminal justice and sociology major Kelsey Tillis of Canton, Ohio; senior French and international studies major Courtney Wachal of Bettendorf, Iowa and sophomore political science major Laura Willis of Louisville, Ohio.

“I really liked this because I was able to hear how they got to where they are today and the struggles they have faced along the way,” said Riffee. “What is very unique and helpful about their advice is that it was all so realistic.”

Arguably another favorite part about the trip was witnessing a hearing of an Affordable Care Act case at the U.S. Supreme Court. Students stood in line for hours in order to watch the Justices question the attorneys about the legality of the Act.

“My favorite experience was having the opportunity to briefly sit in on a Supreme Court case,” said Wachal. “I had never done that before and it was a once in a lifetime experience.”

“We always talk about the justices and their ideologies, and how the outcomes of their cases affect every day life,” Riffee said. “Being there, seeing how the justices interacted with the attorneys and listening to how the outcome of an Affordable Care Act case would affect the nation made everything we have learned in class so much more realistic.”

“I would compare my experience to someone who follows pop culture and has the opportunity to attend an award show, like the Grammy’s. You hear about all of these famous people in the media, and now you actually get to see them in person,” said Riffee.

Overall, the trip provided invaluable networking opportunities for students.

“The biggest thing I took away from this trip is the importance of networking,” Riffee said. “I made so many great connections in the five days I was in D.C. I have already obtained an internship from one of the connections and I have another one pending.”

“I also met a lot of great people who were able to give me very helpful advice for law school and for the legal profession,” Riffee said.


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