Poly Sci ma jo rs ex p er ien c e D . C. and vie w governme n t i n act ion
leven BYU-Hawaii students from places such as Australia, American Samoa, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and the U.S. went to the United States Capitol, Washington D.C., from May 16 to 23. The students, alongside professors Troy Smith and Jennifer Kajiyama from the Political Science Department, spent seven busy days in D.C. networking with government and non-government officials and learning about national politics from an inside perspective. The purpose of the trip, according to Smith, was “to help students learn about government in person. There are some things you can’t learn from a textbook. While in D.C., the students learned about the expectations and professionalism that is required [in the working world.]” The officials they met in D.C. emphasized that students needed to “develop [their] writing skills in college. As professors we can tell students that all the time but there is something about being Ke Alaka‘i
Top Left: At Representative Jeff Flake’s (AZ) office. Seated in the chair is Megan Runyan, scheduler for the Congressperson. Top Right: Giselle Ramirez, Emily Smithson, and Jennifer Kajiyama in front of the U.S. Capitol. Right: BYUH students meet with Hawaii’s Senator Akaka.
with employers that helps them to know it’s necessary for success. They learned about internships and career opportunities, developed a network of people they can contact for mentoring and for grad school.” The students were invited to share with their peers what they learned upon returning to BYUH. BYU Alumnus and Utah Senator Mike Lee took the group on a private tour of government buildings, including the Supreme Court. They attended church with U.S. senate minority leader Harry Reed. Members of the group also had the opportunity to sit and talk with Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg. Kajiyama commented: “Justice Ginsberg said her most important accomplishment was her two children. When asked how she maintained a balance in her life, she said she could only have done it because of her supportive spouse.” Genevieve Samia, a senior in political science from American Samoa, said her experience was once in a lifetime. All nine
Supreme Court justices were there, which is rare. “I had the same respect for them I would for a church authority,” said Samia. Of her overall experience in D.C., Samia said it was a rewarding experience. “We met inspiring people who helped us to [think] outside of the box. They were kind to let us know that we could contact them for help. We saw how hard they work and learned how motivated they were. I learned about inside politics and how lobbyists stand for what they believe in,” said Samia. She encouraged students to look for opportunities to go out and get involved with local politics. She thanked BYUH for funding “this inspiring opportunity that has impacted me and my future success.” Samia received an internship this summer in American Samoa with Attorney General Vince Kruse.
Political science Washington DC trip