Hilltop on the Hill 2013

Eight students are in Washington, D.C., in October 2013 as part of SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill program. 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 in Meadows School of the Arts and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility; Sandra Duhé, chair of communication studies, associate professor and director of the Meadows School’s public relations program; and Candy Crespo, assistant director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility. 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.

Coming full circle

An update from Candy Crespo, assistant director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and an SMU alumna: It’s morning in Washington, D.C. I take a deep breath in through my nose, pause, and exhale. “Do you smell that?” I say to one of our students. There’s something different about the air here. They smile in agreement. Anyone near our group, especially fellow metro travelers, must be able to sense the excitement and anxiousness. The students’ energy levels are soaring and their eyes are bright with anticipation. This will be my third Hilltop on the Hill trip, and each time is more exciting and meaningful than the last. I went on the trip as an undergraduate [...]

2013-11-04T17:30:13+00:00 November 4th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

Freedom of information vs. national security

An update from Katelyn, a junior double-majoring in journalism and theatre in Meadows School of the Arts, with a special emphasis in international politics in Dedman College: The media storm engulfed this past summer with the breaking and subsequent three months of solid coverage of Edward Snowden and the NSA file leaks. Visiting D.C. and meeting with top journalists provided a prime opportunity for open discussion on the line between exposing necessary truths to the public and putting national security at risk. While the issue is far more complex than just two sides of patriot versus traitor, those qualifiers remain the general divider between most public opinion, in the broadest scope of the matter. The media thrives both off stories [...]

2013-10-22T15:43:09+00:00 October 16th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

Washington, a city of possibilities

An update from Lauren, a sophomore majoring in political science in Dedman College and public relations in Meadows School of the Arts: Being in D.C. for the past four days has made me realize so many things about myself, my future, and the workplace. We met so many highly successful, influential people in professional settings over the course of only four days. I came out of nearly every meeting thinking, "I want to work here!" I have realized that politics really is what I love and that I can't imagine doing anything else. One thing that I liked was being thrust into such professional settings. Most students are not exposed to very formal, professional settings until their first internship or [...]

2013-10-22T15:38:36+00:00 October 16th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

Health care: A human right

An update from Alexandra, a junior majoring in psychology and English with a minor in women's and gender studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences: At 9 a.m. our group struggled through the metro system and found our way to the Department of Health and Human Services. Surrounded by the impressive Planetarium buildings and the Met museums, we were in awe. It was an interesting situation, given the context of the government shutdown. Still, we were rightfully impressed by the sheer importance of the buildings in which we had meetings. I’ve always believed that health care is one of the vehicles through which we can achieve a more equal playing field. That’s why I pursued my current internship with [...]

2013-10-16T14:45:57+00:00 October 16th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

New age of news reporting

An update from Elena, a senior majoring in corporate communications in Meadows School of the Arts and business in the Cox School of Business: As a D.C. first-timer, I found that the Hilltop on the Hill experience exceeded all of my expectations. Communications majors fill a wide variety of positions around the city. Our group had the pleasure of interacting with highly ranked executives. One of the people we met was Dave Levinthal, a senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity.  Visiting with him at the Center for Public Integrity reignited my belief in unbiased, fact-based reporting.  Levinthal is an inspiration for any individual interested in news devoted to the truth.  The Center for Public Integrity hopefully is just [...]

2013-10-29T17:04:57+00:00 October 15th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

Hilltop program sets up students for success

An update from Briana, a sophomore Hunt Scholar majoring in political science in Dedman College and communication studies in Meadows School of the Arts:  During lunch with the 21st Century Group, we had the pleasure of speaking with one of the firm’s principals, who happens to be a woman. She explained how being a woman in the lobbying industry sometimes poses difficulties in such a male-dominated field. While she did provide this advice about entering this particular field, her thorough and compassionate explanation created a confident atmosphere nonetheless for me to continue to pursue a degree in politics, and if not, in a career in Washington, D.C., at the least. Our lunch meeting at the 21st Century Group is the [...]

2013-10-28T14:15:36+00:00 October 15th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

A firm in a class of its own

An update from Alexandra, a junior majoring in psychology and English with a minor in women's and gender studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences: After a long, busy, and just plain exhausting day of traipsing through Washington, D.C., meeting SMU alums and other communications professionals, we reached our final meeting. Glover Park Group, a strategic communications firm, is housed in the 8th floor of a high rise. The interior of the corporation is sleek and stylish, with modern art adorning the walls, minimalist white furniture lining the rooms, and a wonderful view of the city out the large windows that surround the building. By the time we reached our final appointment, my peers and I were quickly approaching [...]

2013-10-28T10:21:55+00:00 October 15th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

Shadows of the government shutdown

An update from Katelyn, a junior double-majoring in journalism and theatre in Meadows School of the Arts, with a special emphasis in international politics in Dedman College: Americans across the nation are feeling the effects of the government shutdown, and being in D.C. now offers a clear look at what the situation looks like at the heart of itself – and, staying true to its label, many aspects of our nation's capital are entirely shut down. The effect of the shutdown not only on government entities – of which all deemed "nonessential" are closed until the crisis is resolved – but also on the businesses that revolve around government interaction arose as a question in each of the meetings the [...]

2013-10-15T13:25:41+00:00 October 15th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|

SMU alums in D.C.

An update from Lauren, a sophomore majoring in political science in Dedman College and public relations in Meadows School of the Arts: Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting two SMU alums at an alumni roundtable. It was great to see recent graduates of SMU doing so well in the city. Going into the workforce after graduation seems intimidating, but meeting with them definitely eased my nerves. SMU certainly provides its students with the tools to succeed in the workforce. One of the alums works for a major public relations and communications firm. She told us how she started off with two internships and was eventually offered a job, and stressed how important internships are. Internships can often turn into [...]

2013-10-15T16:09:46+00:00 October 15th, 2013|Hilltop on the Hill 2013|
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