The Washington Minimester Experience [Guest Post: Scott Goodwin]

Below is a guest post about the Washington Minimester by Scott Goodwin, A&S ’14, Political Science and Spanish Double Major, Business Minor.

If your interested in learing more about the Minimester, there is an informational meeting tonight, Thursday, January 24th, 9:00pm in 223 Driscoll.

Many thanks to Scott for this great post!

Last summer I had the opportunity to participate in the 40th year of Villanova’s incredible Washington Minimester Program. I was lucky enough to learn about the program from a friend who had participated the previous year; she recommended it as her favorite experience as a political science major at Villanova. Immediately, I looked further into the program and enrolled after learning more at an information session. The Minimester is a fun and intensive three-week, three-credit course sponsored by the Political Science Department. The program begins right after finals in May, which is placed conveniently before the start of most internships. The focus of the program is to explore how the Federal Government functions by actually meeting the people running and influencing it. This unique opportunity is invaluable because it gives students a chance to supplement their classroom education by witnessing firsthand how government functions.

During the Minimester, I was able to meet and speak with influential individuals from all areas of government and politics. These opportunities included visiting traditional government institutions, such as the Supreme Court, Congress, and the White House; however, I was also able to meet with outside influencers including members of the media, lobbyists, pollsters, and party leaders. Each day we would have about three of these meetings and track our experiences in daily journals. Through these experiences, finally I had a full grasp on how the Federal Government functions.

Federal Reserve

Sitting in Chairman Ben Bernanke’s seat at the Federal Reserve.

The Minimester was not only an academic experience; it was also an extremely useful professional development tool. During the three weeks, we had the valuable opportunity to learn about every field of work in Washington. We were able to do this through meeting with, and conversing with, actual professionals. Additionally, we were able to experience a real Washington, D.C. lifestyle through living in the city, taking the Metro, and exploring on the weekends.

In just three weeks, the Minimester completely changed my perception and understanding of Washington, D.C. and the Federal Government. The best way I can describe the experience is that it is a “fantasy camp” for political junkies. During the program, I was able to expand my knowledge outside the classroom, explore different careers, and enjoy the unique experience of living in the nation’s capital. I would strongly recommend the Minimester to any student interested in politics and government, and I believe it is an invaluable program for any student looking to pursue a career in Washington, D.C. The Minimester confirmed my love of politics. I hope to build upon what I learned during the program and pursue a career in Washington D.C. upon graduating next year.

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