Washington Center honors USD
J. Michael Williams, PhD, has encouraged many USD undergraduate students to study in Washington, D.C. As associate professor of Political Science and the faculty advisor for the Washington Center Program, Williams knows about the many opportunities for students in the nation’s capitol. Additionally, each January he takes students to D.C. for a two-week intersession study. This past winter, that trip included several of the 2009 Inauguration activities. The experience of being with almost two million people on the national mall to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama was unforgettable.
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars is an independent, nonprofit organization serving hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. for academic credit.
The affiliation between the university and the center began eleven years ago. In that time, 300 USD students have participated in internships and seminars at the center. Most of these opportunities are semester-long commitments. Unique to USD’s affiliation is the faculty participation and level of involvement with the Washington Center Program, including the annual faculty and student trip during winter intersession. This faculty dedication to educational excellence contributed to the selection of USD as the 2009 Private University of the Year Award from the Washington Center.
When notifying Williams of the award for the program, Eugene J. Alpert, PhD, senior vice president of the Washington Center commented "One of the many things that set USD apart from other institutions is the exceptional commitment to the academic quality of the experience for your students. That you and other faculty accompany your students to Washington each January is testament to the partnership that is so important to making the experience worthy of academic credit and to helping the students make the most of your experience."
Williams shared, "I think this award is a testament to our students' interest in careers related to public service as well as the extraordinary work they do while in Washington, D.C. As a professor, nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see USD students make a positive difference in the world and there is no doubt that the Washington Center helps to provide our students with these types of opportunities."
- Lyndsey Scully