Students Explore Government & Politics in Washington, D.C.
Students Explore Government & Politics in Washington, D.C.
Liz Torrey

Students and faculty traveled to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday for St. Andrew's biannual all-School day trip to our nation's capital. The purpose of the trip is to provide students with opportunities to access the inner workings of federal government and national politics, and to explore the city's museums and other cultural opportunities.

Director of Alumni Relations Chesa Profaci '80 arranged for students to meet with St. Andrew's alumni and parents who work for governmental and political departments, agencies, and organizations in Washington. SAS has been making the pilgrimage to D.C. for more than three decades, and past years' trips have taken students to the Pentagon, Bloomberg News, the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Department of Energy, headquarters, and the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This year's trip included meetings with:

  • Delaware Senator Tom Carper (visit arranged by Karl Saliba '81 P'12,'14,'18, seen below right with students. Senator Carper and his assistant Richard Colley discussed current homeland security issues with students. Senator Carper is Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
  • Delaware Senator Chris Coons (visit arranged by Karl Saliba '81 P'12,'14,'18). Senator Cooper, along with members of his education and foreign policy teams, talked with students about issues facing the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Ethics, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees, all of which Senator Coons is a member. After their meetings, students attended a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol Building.
  • Bill Brownfield '70, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Brownfield holds the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service, and has served in ambassadorial and foreign service posts in Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, and Panama.
  • Amanda Purcell '04, Associate Program Officer for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The National Academies is a private non-profit institution that advises the federal government on issues in science, engineering, and medicine. Purcell spoke with students about her research and advisory work on atmospheric science and climate issues for the National Academies, where she has worked since graduating with a BA in physics and math from American University.
  • Florida Williams '04, Manager of Corporate Partnerships for the World Food Program. Williams talked with students about the World Food Program's mission to provide ongoing hunger relief and sustainability solutions to regions in need around the globe. "I'm driven to do this work because of my passion for using good nutrition as a vehicle for strengthening communities—intensely rooted in the spirit of service cultivated at SAS," Williams said.
  • Michelle Madeley '03, Presidential Management Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency. Madeley shared experiences from her work at the EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities, which helps communities pursue economic growth and infrastructure initiatives that also protect the environment and human health. Madeley has a Masters in Public Health from UNC Chapel Hill and a BA in Public Policy.
  • Louise Dufresne '09, White House Special Events Correspondent for CBS News. Dufresne toured students around the control room and set of Face the Nation, and talked with students about her work covering American politics for CBS (she's currently reporting on the Trump transition).
  • Charlie Kolb '69, Board of Directors of the Center for Political Accountability. The Center for Political Accountability advocates for greater transparency in corporate political spending. Kolb talked with students about his long career in public policy, during which he has served as president of the nonprofit, bipartisan Committee for Economic Development; in management for the U.S. Department of Education; as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and as White House adviser on domestic policy to President George H. W. Bush.

Jenna Popp '17 attended the discussion and tour with Louise Dufresne at CBS News. "I signed up for this tour because I've always found the behind-the-scenes work in the media industry very interesting," Jenna said. "I wanted to get the chance to understand all the work that goes into a short thirty-minute segment (which I learned was quite a lot!)."

"When you work in the news or media industry there are a lot of moral and ethical obligations that must be upheld, in order to provide the most truthful and accurate information possible," Jenna continued. "It is so important for media outlets to hold themselves to a certain standard of honesty and integrity, as they have a powerful tool that can influence an entire nation. As Dufresne put it, 'being second to report something is better than being first to report the wrong thing.'"

Lian Bourret '18 opted to meet with Senator Coons. "I really wanted to meet with the Senator because I am very interested in pursuing a career in politics, especially in foreign affairs, which Senator Coons is involved with," Lian explained. "We were able to talk to Senator Coons for fifteen minutes before he left for an interview with Fox, but afterwards, we were still able to ask his aides questions, and then we headed out for our tour of the Capitol. It was interesting to see that the Capitol Building is not just a place of business but also a place of great history. There was an exhibition hall dedicated to the building of the Capitol and important past decisions as well as statues and historical mementos scattered around the building. As I was walking around, it became clear to me that America is deeply connected to its past, and places a lot of emphasis on remembering its past."

More than forty faculty members also attended the trip, and equally immersed themselves on Capitol Hill. "I had a chance to meet Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) while walking the halls of the Hart Senate Office building," said Dean of Students Will Robinson. "She was awesome."

"It was a great day," said biology teacher Peter McLean. "So productive, and so great to see our alums prospering and helping our world."