Hilltop on the Hill (Fall 2017)

SMU students are traveling to Washington, D.C., with SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill program. The program is led by Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and professor of Communication Studies in Meadows School of the Arts; Stephanie Ann Martin, assistant professor of Communication Studies; and Candy Crespo, assistant director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and lecturer at the Center for Nonprofit Management. During the program, students meet with SMU alumni, talk with communication staffers on the Hill, learn from lobbyists about their advocacy functions, assess the role and function of the news media, and investigate the role of political parties as representatives for constituent concerns. 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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Interesting day in D.C.

An update from Virginia V.:

Today in D.C. was very eventful. We meet with some very influential and prominent people who have worked their way up to being some of the most successful in their field, which was very exciting.

First we went to Southwest Airlines to see what they do with the government. I never realized that there are so many sectors in just one business. It is very nice to see also how Southwest has maintained their goal of being a different company in the sense that they portray a specific, very welcoming, personality. This was very evident in through the talk that we received.

We then went to meet with Kelly Dunbar, a partner at a large law firm in DC. This speaker was more in my wheelhouse so I was very interested in hearing what he had to say. I liked hearing the amount of work he did for the government and how fun that can be. I also loved seeing that a transition from government law to private law can be done with, what seemed like, ease. He was very informative in things like getting into law school and what can put a prospective lawyer like myself in the best position to succeed in the field.

We also got to speak with a few people from the Global Strategy Group. This was a very unique and interesting field to me. They explained their research and how they apply that research to campaigns that they work on. This company seemed very laid back and relaxed, which was a nice change from the fast-paced DC lifestyle we have experienced so far.

We also met with Justin Sosne, who works with Bower Group Asia. I loved hearing about the foreign aspect of government and how businesses have had to deal with this new administration. His work with so many different fields was also exciting to hear about. He has worked with some pretty important people about some important topics, and I was very intrigued to hear how he got started with all of it.

We visited the Women’s Museum as well, which, as a woman, is just so humbling to attend. To see the sacrifices these women made so people like me could benefit from all their hardworking is, I believe, very important. I reap all the benefits of these strong women, yet do not constantly thank them for their work, so to attend this museum and get the chance to do that was awesome.

The alumni mixer was very nice too, because not only did we get to meet awesome SMU alum, but also get great experience talking to people about their work and network with people in DC. I think people often forget how important this is in the working world and to get the opportunity to meet and socialize with these people not only helped my speaking skills but also allowed me to network with some great contacts for the future.

Overall this day was very great. The people we spoke with were very informative and gracious to give us their time. This trip so far has met all expectations and I am excited to see what is next.


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