Hilltop on the Hill, 2014

Students traveled to Washington, D.C., in October 2014 as part of SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill program. The students visited media and government sites, and met with political communicators, journalists and SMU alumni. The trip was led by Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and professor of Communication Studies in Meadows School of the Arts; Sandy Duhe, Chair of the Division of Communication Studies; and Stephanie Ann Martin, assistant professor of Communication Studies. Endowed by the Bauer Foundation, the Hilltop on the Hill program also takes students studying political communication to political party conventions, the presidential Inauguration and the G8 Economic Summit.

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img_0729An update from Devon, a double major in political science and communication studies:

As one of the leading global oil companies, ExxonMobil employs a high-energy and highly influential communications team to handle both its international and national communications.  As we met with two of the company’s communications leaders, it was surreal for me to begin to understand how much global politics affects domestic politics.

In theory, the federal and international communications teams at ExxonMobil are two separate entities.  In reality, however, they work closely together to ensure that a consistent message is being conveyed to the company’s stakeholders, customers, and employees.  As the two women spoke of their experiences, the theme of interconnectivity quickly emerged. This made sense as a major component of the ExxonMobil business model revolves around keeping the entire company working seamlessly together.

On a personal level, I already had a close connection with ExxonMobil due to the fact that they sponsored my first internship out of high school.  Being able to come full circle and see the corporate headquarters was an extremely surreal experience.  Leaving their offices, I certainly had hopes of returning to the company as an employee sometime in my near future.

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