Hilltop on the Hill, 2013 Inauguration

Twenty-one communication studies and journalism students are in Washington, D.C., in January 2013 as part of the Meadows School of the Arts’ Hilltop on the Hill program. In addition to reporting on Inaugural events, the students will visit media and government sites, and meet with political communicators, journalists and SMU alumni. The trip is led by Rita Kirk, professor of communication studies; Daniel Schill, assistant professor of communication studies, and Carolyn Barta, journalism professor. Endowed by the Bauer Foundation, the Hilltop on the Hill program also takes students studying political communication to political party conventions and the G8 Economic Summit.

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Inspired by alumni in D.C.

An update from Caroline, a senior communication studies major:

I’ve been bit. Since we landed on Saturday afternoon, my condition has worsened and the virus has consumed my whole being. This bug is highly contagious. It lives in the energy of the city, thrives off the ambitions and experiences of its residents and visitors, and continues to spread until you are convinced this is the place you need to be.

Before I came on this adventure, I had some inkling that living in D.C. after graduation was possibly something I wanted to do, but I passed off the feeling as a whimsical dream that would probably never come to fruition. However, as soon as I landed I quickly remembered why I wanted to be here.

This place is full of young people who have a drive that is unmatched and opportunities that are endless. The energy that swirls around is infectious and inspiring. From our first night at the ball to the Mall crawl and the Inauguration, I began to see the magic of the city. Each of these experiences exemplified different facets of D.C. However, the moments I have cherished most on this trip have been my interactions with the SMU alumni and the times I just sat back and soaked everything in.

The SMU alumni are an incredible source of inspiration. Most of the alumni we met with have not been out of SMU for more than 10 years. However, in the time they have been off the Hilltop and on the Hill they have accomplished things that I thought took decades to do. These professionals are making a difference in the world. They have jobs that affect decisions and run our country, and they make decisions that make this world a better place – be it through the power of communication, law or journalism. It was amazing to see that in May I could assume the role of an SMU alumna in D.C. and follow their path of opportunity and success.

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