“I mean it when I say this: the Minimester has changed my life,” an alumnus said about the uniquely Villanova program, the Washington Minimester. Fellow past-participants echoed this praise.
Villanova students interested in pursuing politics have the ability to spend three weeks within the nation’s capital, meeting and networking with policymakers, lobbyists, journalists, staffers and others working within the political realm.
Living on the campus of Catholic University, students can explore the ins-and-outs of Washington D.C. and gain the chance to speak with politics’ most prominent figures.
In past years, students have been able to meet notable individuals, including “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd; former House Speakers Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan and John Boehner; Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman and others. Additionally, students have had the opportunity to hear from various speakers at the Federal Election Commission, Department of Defense, the Federal Reserve and other prominent political organizations.
Upon completion of the distinctive program, students are to write a capstone essay on the interactions of federal level politics and policy and in turn will earn three credits towards their degree.
The invaluable experience is quite competitive, as the program only accepts 15 participants who demonstrate a deep interest in politics, as well as those who have shown impressive academic standing throughout the years. Alongside these prerequisites, students must attend the required informational meeting after Thanksgiving Break to be eligible for application.
If a student is uncertain about attending due to the presented cost, they may apply to receive one of the six Washington Minimester Scholarships awarded annually, which cover 100 percent of tuition and housing for those who qualify on the basis of both need and merit.
Former attendant and current program assistant, Lydia McFarlane, spoke highly of the opportunity.
“The Washington D.C. Minimester has been such a transformative part of my Villanova experience,” McFarlane said “Being a part of the program, first as a student, and then as the program assistant, I have learned and grown so much as a result of this program.”
McFarlane stated that, through the opportunities to forge connections during her stay in Washington, D.C., she has been able to reaffirm her decision to become a political journalist. Additionally, she has been able to secure her “dream internship working with The Hill.”
As emphasized by McFarlane, the program allows students to explore their distinct passions. As political science is a relatively broad major, students can narrow down their interests through first-hand experience. Additionally, this early networking can lead to future prized careers and internships.
Students who have interest in the Minimester are encouraged to attend the informational meeting and should contact the program director, Mathew Kerbel.
“I will always think highly of the Minimester program and all that it has done for me, professionally and personally,” McFarlane said. She expressed ultimate gratitude for the “professional network and the friends [she] was able to experience the program with.”