Students studying in D.C., will attend presidential inauguration

Posted January 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – A group of ACU graduate and undergraduate students – 23 in all – are in the nation’s capital as part of a two-week program hosted by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. They are participating in a series of discussions, site visits and guest lectures culminating in their attendance at Sunday's 2013 presidential inauguration and swearing-in ceremony.

ACU students at the White House. Photo by Lynette Sharp Penya

“We’re studying how the media has influenced conversations about the campaigns and election results, which directly ties to the inauguration,” says Dr. Suzie Macaluso, director of ACU's sociology program. “The inauguration ceremony, in terms of communication and sociology, has a lot of significance.”

"This experience gives students an opportunity to see their place in the political process," adds Dr. Lynette Sharp Penya, associate professor of communication and team co-leader.

“The inauguration and swearing-in ceremony is such a symbolic tradition for our country,” said Mike Smith, president of The Washington Center. “Every four years, Americans tune in to coverage of the inauguration and a lucky few watch from the parade route. ACU students are not only learning about the transition of political power; they're also a part of historic inauguration events, live, as they happen.”

Political leaders and White House news correspondents are sharing personal stories with students about their experiences covering elections and national policy battles. Historians and renowned professors are also hosting interactive discussions on political appointments, congressional confirmations and policy agendas. The speakers include:

Ken Walsh, Chief White House Correspondent, U.S. News & World Report

Scott Horsley, White House Correspondent, National Public Radio

Janet Hook, Political Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer/ Host, C-SPAN

Ben LaBolt, Senior Advisor, Presidential Inaugural Committee

Rodell Mollineau, President, American Bridge 21st Century

Eugene Kang, Special Projects Coordinator/Confidential Asst. to the Office of the President

Owen Ullman, Editor, USA Today

Tavis Smiley, Host, The Tavis Smiley Show, PBS

Frank Fahrenkoph, Co-Chair, Commission on Presidential Debates

Michael McCurry, Co- Chair, Commission on Presidential Debates

Don Ritchie, United States Senate Historian

“This trip is giving me the opportunity to meet with senators, broadcasters and lobbyists,” says Joyce Schuster, freshman political science and history major. “I hope to secure a Washington internship, so there's nothing better than actually being in D.C. with the Washington Center and meeting people I hope to work with. This trip can propel me forward in my career.”

About The Washington Center

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves 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 largest program of its kind, The Washington Center has more than 50,000 alumni who have become leaders in numerous professions and nations around the world. It was established in 1975. For more information, visit


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