NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Twenty Smith College students will get a crash course in diplomacy, foreign affairs and world politics from those employed in the heart of the action when they are hosted by the White House, State Department and an embassy during a visit to Washington, D.C., in mid-January.
The students’ trip is part of “Career Tracks,” a program offered by the Smith College Lazarus Center for Career Development that gives participants a daylong learning experience about a particular field from those doing the work — including Smith alumnae.
“As a young woman interested in entering the world of diplomacy, I jumped at the opportunity to hear from Smithies who have already achieved so much in the field of foreign affairs,” said Mackenzie Green, Class of 2013, a government major with a focus on international affairs. “Networking and sharing experiences is so critical in this particular profession, and this program offers unparalleled opportunities for both.”
Career Tracks excursions are offered each January, when classes are not in session. The visit to the nation’s capital is slated for January 14 — just one week before the city swells with visitors attending the Presidential Inauguration.
In the morning, the students will be welcomed to the White House by Jane Wilson Messenger, Class of 1986, Special Advisor to the Vice President, Office of Western European Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
Following Messenger, the students will meet with Elizabeth Drew, Director for Human Rights and Gender, National Security Council; Dafna Rand, Director for Development and Democracy, National Security Council; and Julie Smith, Deputy Assistant to the Vice President and former Principal Director for European and NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
They will spend lunch with Mark Hanis, White House Fellow, Office of the Vice President; Office of the Vice President Representative to the Atrocities Prevention Board.
In the afternoon, the students will travel to the Embassy of Pakistan to meet with Sherry Rehman, Class of 1985, Pakistan Ambassador to the United States.
Throughout the day, Stacie Hagenbaugh, director of the Lazarus Center for Career Development, will accompany the group.
“Liberal arts students often feel a disconnect to industry, and these programs help them gain confidence that they have the skills and experience they need to be successful,” said Hagenbaugh. “These visits are critical opportunities for students to see, feel, hear, touch and understand industries first-hand.”
In the past, the Lazarus Center for Career Development has taken groups of students to New York City to explore a range of career fields. Those explorations have included such fields as journalism, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), museums and advertising.
Green said she is currently exploring the idea of securing her master’s degree in Human Rights or International Relations with the goal to work in public affairs for USAID or the State Department.
Her senior classmate, Evelyn Crunden, will also be on the trip. “I am hoping to work in D.C. following graduation and this seemed like a wonderful place to start,” she said.
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