Master in Public Policy students from the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy recently returned home following a weeklong stay in Washington, D.C., as part of the Carsey School’s D.C. Colloquium. This annual event, which was held Jan. 10 – 14 this year, was canceled last year due to COVID. This year, fifteen students attended both remotely and in-person in D.C., where they met with a cabinet secretary, top White House officials, a Member of Congress, agency heads, lobbyists, reporters, advocates, political consultants, researchers and host of other government and non-government policy and political professionals.
This experiential colloquium has been organized and run annually (except for 2021) by the Carsey School since 2017. The experience allows public policy students to learn from top practitioners how policy and political professionals work to achieve their goals. Students gain perspective on the fields and careers they can work in; learn more about today’s policy landscape; and connect and engage with professionals from a wide range of organizations and institutions, including from the federal government, advocacy organizations, corporations, lobbying firms, embassies, think tanks, political firms, and research centers.
“We’ve done this event in past years, but it’s really been spectacular how everyone’s risen to the occasion this year – from the people who took time to meet with us in D.C. to the staff at Carsey to the students themselves – in making it happen despite COVID,” described Michael Ettlinger, Director of the Carsey School.
“The D.C. Colloquium is an amazing opportunity for our students to meet with policy makers and advocates in our nation’s capital and to learn from these professionals,” added Ettlinger. “I always learn during the trip too because the students ask such great questions and bring their own perspectives to the conversations – different from the perspective that I have and often different than those of the people we meet with.”
This year, some meetings were conducted remotely and others were onsite around D.C., including at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Cato Institute. Speakers (a complete list of which can be found online) included Representative Annie Kuster; Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm; National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan; Director of the Consumer Finance Protection Board Rohit Chopra; Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute; and Faiz Shakir, former campaign manager for Bernie Sanders and founder and Executive Director of More Perfect Union.
Among the guest speakers were several UNH alum, including Rich Ashooh ’86, vice president of global affairs for Lam Research Corp and former New Hampshire congressional candidate; David Dixon ’86, a partner with the Dixon Davis Media Group; Brian McCabe ’91, managing partner with the DCI Group; Greg Nickerson ’89, founder of the Washington Tax & Public Policy Group; and Crystal Tully ’05, minority (Republican) deputy staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
“One of the greatest things for me during the trip was getting to see a whole bunch of different ways that I can use my public policy degree,” said MPP/JD Dual Degree student Zachary Phillips ‘23G (anticipated). "We met with a wide range of people - all with different viewpoints - and that variety of opinions, of ideas, really helped me to formulate how I'd like to use my policy background once I graduate."
You can learn more about the Carsey School’s D.C. Colloquium online.