Washington Insiders Make Lasting Impressions

Students reflect on their Capitol experience

In their own words
Suffolk students studying government and politics spent two weeks meeting Washington, D.C., policymakers, politicians, and communicators in January. Here are some of their impressions, expressed in the moment.

Saleena Son

Class of 2019
Government, Sociology minor


“My family is from Cambodia, and it was really banned from the household to be talking about what motivated my family to come to this country because it was so deeply rooted in the history of pain. So coming to DC to explore that realm of politics that I have been interested in ever since I was younger has been really exciting for me. One of the main themes that has continuously interested me as a progressive, as a Democrat, and as a young woman is the role of identity politics. I am very active with an Asian American political community. Coming to DC has really opened that door where I'm able to ask: What is my role here and what is it going to be like when I have a seat at the table—not only as a student but as a young professional? I find it interesting how I take the perspective of the Democrat but I'm also able to understand, okay so this person is conservative, maybe a Republican, and I may disagree with them but where can we bridge that gap and where can you create a common ground where we can not only be civil but come together to help each of our respective communities.”
Saleena Son

Alexandra Pulaski

Class of 2020
Government

“I'm very used to looking at everything from a very partisan standpoint in terms of parties being out for each other. Something that was really eye opening was the panel discussion with the Democratic and Republican congressmen [Tom Reed, R-New York, and Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts]. Their working toward a more bipartisan future definitely instilled a sense of hope in us students, and so that was really great to see.”

Alexandra Pulaski

Andres Cayuela Pomar

Class of 2019
International Relations major with a Chemistry minor

“To meet, not only experts, but also people with so much experience and information in the field of politics—for the most part people who are unreachable—to not only be in the same room but also be able to ask them questions and learn from their personal views and experiences is quite an experience. The panels, especially the ones that have multiple experts being moderated into a chat, are really interesting. The Foreign Relations panel was the one that interested me the most.”

Andres Cayuela Pomar

Cameron Burton

Class of 2020
Government with a concentration in American Politics


“I got to ask [Congressman] Jim McGovern about his experience when he was tapped by [the late Congressman] Joseph Moakley to work on the investigation into the killing of six Jesuits in El Salvador. I asked him if he had any investigative experience prior to that and what he thought of the experience. He said that he did it for justice and the human rights of these priests, because they simply were spreading their faith and trying to improve people's daily lives. And he really enjoyed fighting for justice and human rights in El Salvador, which he continued to champion after that experience. It was great talking to him and really inspirational.”
Cam Burton

Mary Jane Szatkowski

Class of 2019
Law major, Government minor

“I came to The Washington Center seminar to meet new people and learn more about politics. I really appreciated the variety of speakers at The Washington Center, particularly Democratic and Republican, because my family is mostly Republican, but I'm a Democrat. I got to hear professionals from both sides—not just family discussion back and forth, but actually credible people from both parties.”
Maryjane Szatkowski

Amelia Zheng

Class of 2019
Applied Legal Studies with a Business Law minor

“I am very interested in gender and the executive position. Every other country has some sort of high-power—maybe a minister or maybe a president—who’s a female. So why is it that the US can't come to agreement that a woman is just as capable as a man to have this sort of power, to make the right decisions, to maybe even bring our country together? “


Amelia Zheng

Serenity Mahadeo

Class of 2019
Undergraduate Law major


“My favorite speaker was [Mother Jones reporter] David Corn. He was very bold with his statements and with his views on the White House and with the government shutdown. He touched upon how health Inspectors aren't working, and thus these places aren't being investigated and the impact that has on the people.”
Serenity Mahadeo

Andres del Castillo

Undergraduate
law and Public Policy


“I think something that's been highlighted to me on this trip is the delicate interplay between the principles and positions that we hold—as voters, as activists, as organizers, as political agents. Politics necessitates compromise because by nature it is the conglomeration of many different ideas, perspectives, lived experiences, and interests, and so the endgame will always be compromise. So it has been interesting to me to see the interplay, the balance and the discussions around how to do that while trying to keep true to your objectives.”

Andres del Castillo

Anna Duffy

Graduate student
Political Science with a concentration in Applied Politics


“The most provocative thing that I've been focusing on this week is Identity politics. It is clear that the Republicans again are focusing on the white uneducated population, but Democrats, with their big tent, we have to wonder how they can form an identity among voters. How can the Democrats gain control again with their strong base and appeal to all their diverse groups—the college-educated women, the upper class that’s beginning to lean toward more Democrats, and minorities. They will have to be able to support all these groups. We have to wonder how Republicans can reach these important bases. In my opinion the Republicans will lose support and lose seats and lose government control if they continue to only focus on white men.”
Anna Duffy

Sabrina Ng

Class of 2019
Government, Law and Public Policy concentration

“The things that I've learned in the past few days have really impacted how I thought about representatives and constituent services. I've worked in local representatives’ offices, mainly in Boston, and so learning about how it's done nationally, it does bring to light how they really do pay attention to all these problems. The tension between parties and all this division is really interfering with how our representatives work to solve problems.”
Sabrina Ng

Chloe Berridge

Class of 2020
Government


“One of the great aspects of the Washington Center is that we've gotten a very good variety of Republican and Democratic politicians coming to speak to us, and it’s great to hear the different points of view. One of the major takeaways from my time here is the importance of bipartisanship and the need for compromise to effectively get things done.”
Chloe Berridge

Jessica Keegan

Class of 2020
Politics, Philosophy & Economics


“I asked David Corn, a liberal reporter [for Mother Jones], what he felt about tweets being accepted as policy and why they are like that. We’ve talked to other speakers about their opinion on how Trump just sends out tweets without any political thought or any repercussions. Afterwards somebody told me that they were in the Navy and that one of Trump's tweets about trans people being taken from the military actually was acted on. When I asked the question I didn't realize the repercussions until somebody actually talked to me about it.”
Jessica Keegan

Benjamin Calitri

Class of 2019
Government with a concentration in Law and Public Policy and minors in Law and History

“I asked Jim McGovern, who is the chair of the Rules Committee, why he took a new approach to devising the rules package—getting a variety of opinions incorporated. He responded that a lot of people didn't understand the rules package, so he wanted to do it differently.”

Benjamin Calitri

Sara Solomon

Class of 2019
Government with a concentration in Law and Public Policy; Paralegal Certificate Program

“I'm an American citizen and study here in America, but I also lived in Italy about seventeen years. My experience from Italy and Europe brought a lot of questions during the foreign policy panel that I wasn't able to necessarily ask, but I was able to talk about with my professor. I look forward to listening to the Republican side more than I am looking forward to listening to the Democratic side, because I do listen to the Democratic side so much already, and I really came to get myself out of my comfort zone and to expose myself to different ideas. This foreign policy panel really helped me understand the other side, and I can't wait to bring it back and share with the rest of my friends at Suffolk.”
Sara Solomon

Bailey Herrera Samayoa

Class of 2021
Undergraduate Law major, Finance minor

“I've learned that media has a massive impact on elections and government in general. It’s like a filter system where news is at the top, but what comes out in the end are just opinions, and the opinions might not be relevant or might not be as truth-telling as what the actual news is. We talked about social media and how it's impacted the nation through Twitter arguments and other types of arguments linked to social media. At the Salvadoran Embassy I asked how the El Salvadorian government has reacted to the harsh stereotypes made by the US, made by President Trump. She said that is not how everybody is perceived, and of course I would know that just because I am El Salvadorian as well.”
Bailey Herrera Samayoa

Keith Horvath

Class of 2019
Government major, American Politics concentration, minoring in Applied Legal Studies

“One thing that I really enjoyed about this whole experience was the broadening of perspectives. I've always thought of myself as doing my best to understand where other people are coming from, but after hearing a lot of the speakers and hearing a lot of he questions that others have posed, it's definitely shedding some light on areas that I could be more well informed in. It’s always humbling to be pushed to learn more about where others are coming from and what motivates them to either vote or to take an interest in politics in the first place.”
Keith Horvath

Ryan Pocock

Graduate student

“The whole experience has been eye-opening. Probably the most exciting thing was going to the house floor when they were in session, and we actually got to see how they vote in Congress. I had no idea how that process worked. We also got to speak with Representative Joe Kennedy from Massachusetts, just one on one with him in his office. He was very personable, very outgoing, and he answered all of our questions. It really opened my mind to see that these are real people trying to figure out real issues and solve all these problems, and they're not robots and celebrities.”
Ryan Pocock

William Lemos

Class of 2019
Master in Public Administration/Political Science dual degree program

“This week has taught me that getting a job in DC and getting involved in the political sphere in American politics is not a linear route but more of a go-with-the-flow and land where the chips fall kind of experience. As someone who is about to graduate, I’m thinking about how that's going to shape my career search.”

William Lemos

Sandy Ruelas

Master of Applied Politics graduate program


“I’ve heard many themes surrounding partisanship. It seems like our generation is more interested in having candid conversations and truly learning about each other, and I think that this is a great space to do that. It's been pretty fascinating to see the different pathways from the speakers and learning about their career trajectories. That's been very useful for me in terms of thinking about what I want to do next.”
Sandy Ruelas

Contact

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