SGPP Students Attend Presidential Inauguration

The School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP) funded seven undergraduate students to attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. in early January. Attending the Inauguration was part of an academic seminar through the Washington Center, an independent, nonprofit organization that offers students challenging opportunities to work and learn. The students who attended were Ciera Crawley, Karen Donderewicz, Rachel Dyckman, Ayya Hudaybergenova, Kelly Paris, Matthew Russell-Cheung, and Maryann Shakir.

“I was so blessed to be able to watch history in the making as I attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration through the Washington Center’s Presidential Inauguration Seminar. Not only did I witness President Obama being inaugurated for his second term, but I was able to listen and ask questions to phenomenal speakers. Whether I was listening to Dr. Cornell West, Grover Norquist, or C-SPAN Founder Brian Lamb, I gained valuable insight into our political system. There is no doubt that this experience will help me in the future to get involved in politics,” said Rachel Dyckman, a senior Political Science student at the University of Arizona.  

The seminar gave an in-depth look into the complexities of media and politics in Washington D.C. It brought together public figures, academics, and journalists to speak to students from across the nation and engage them in intellectual debate about current policy issues and politics in Washington. Students visited  think tanks and the Council on Foreign Relations for one-on-one conversations with people influencing public policy.   “The experience exceeded my expectations because I gained invaluable knowledge and critical thinking skills [from] professionals working in D.C.,” said Karen Donderewicz, a senior Political Science student at the University of Arizona.

“I cannot thank the [School of Government and Public Policy] enough for sending me on this trip. After this phenomenal experience, I feel I have more direction for what I want to do after graduation and a better sense for understanding and appreciating our nation. This has been the greatest experience of my entire undergraduate career and it will never be forgotten,” said Donderewicz.  

Funding Opportunities
Junior and senior majors in the School of Government and Public Policy pay program fees, which, among other things, are used to provide scholarships, workshops, and funding for conferences, study abroad, and academic seminars. The inauguration seminar was one of many programs for which SGPP offers funding. All activities are reviewed and approved by the Student Governance Board, consisting of three undergraduate majors in the School.

The SGPP Advising Team reviews applications and provides funding to students who meet eligibility requirements. The application process is ongoing and subject to availability of funds. More information can be found on the SGPP website at

Picture: Left to right: Maryann Shakir, Ciera Crawley, Kelly Paris, Matthew Russell-Cheung, Rachel Dyckman, Ayya Hudaybergenova, Karen Donderewicz, Dr. David White (Faculty Leader and UA Alum)

Published Date: 

02/01/2013 - 13:37