Student Life Spotlight: Andrea Rice

In order to learn about what our students think about their time in DC, we like to hear directly from them. Andrea Rice, a student from Westmont College, is currently interning at the Center for Public Justice.Andrea headshotThe American Studies Program has provided an amazing opportunity for me to live, work, learn, and develop community in Washington D.C. Before I arrived, I was excited but still nervous, and had endless questions. What would this semester bring? Would I like my internship, would I make friends, would I be successful? I was worried about my transition into D.C., and how I would create a community in such an unfamiliar place. I was intimidated to come to a city filled with so much action, and was not sure exactly where to begin in making sure my semester was successful. However, ASP equipped me for the best semester possible, with an amazing group of people who made my experience so memorable. If you are worried about transitioning into Washington D.C., trust that there are plenty of resources through ASP, and people who are excited to help you thrive not only in this city, but in your future as well.

The first day I arrived at the Dellenback Center for move in day, I knew I had made the right choice in coming to D.C. The program leaders were so helpful in making everyone feel comfortable in their new home. Located on Capitol Hill, our apartments are a perfect location to experience the diversity of D.C. life. Almost immediately this place became home for not just myself, but for my roommates as well. The Dellenback Center provides such a unique, safe place for students to have fun or relax with one another after a day at work. I soon recognized I could do really well in D.C., whether that be in my classes, internship, or relationships.

The ASP community is so special, and were there for me every step of the way. The first few weeks, we were all so nervous about starting our internships, but soon realized that D.C. was full of interns just like us. We quickly developed a close community, and explored our new city together. ASP’s community development engaged me in all areas of D.C. life, so I felt more prepared to explore everything this city had to offer, especially in learning how to navigate the Metro!

My experience in Washington D.C. has completely exceeded my expectations, and I am thrilled to take this experience home with me. I grew in tremendous ways through my classes, spirituality, and professional development. I am so thankful for the people I met, and long term relationships I have built as a result of diving into the beautiful community here. This semester, I learned you do not have to know exactly what you want to do, or if D.C. is for you. You simply just have to be. Let this experience in D.C. shape you, and step into the doors God has opened. I promise you will not regret it.

Student Life: Finding a Church in DC

In this post we hear directly from ASP student Peyton Smetana.  He describes what it’s like to be new in the city, as well as what it’s like to look for and find a church home.  

peyton-ccc-e1544387531470.jpgIf you are anything like me, and there is the chance there are a few of you out there, you are currently in an odd place in your faith. On top of that, you are looking at the American Studies Program, a semester-long program based on conversations on the intersection of faith and politics. What could be better than learning about faith in politics in a time where you are uncertain of your own religious beliefs? Uhhhh…I really wasn’t sure. After arriving in DC, I didn’t feel ready to engage in church along with the intense conversations we already had during the week at ASP.

There were many things I was not certain about coming into my semester in the American Studies Program: who my friends were going to be, where I will go out for dinner, will I meet the love of my life, and will my political beliefs change? Out of all the uncertainty, I was certain about one thing: I was not going to church.

Certainly God had a different plan for me.

I went to church the first weekend I was in DC, and it was the first time I attended in months. The first weekend I went to church in DC was not to listen to the pastor, but rather an attempt to get to know my newly found friends from the program on a more personal level. It was the next weekend, with the same motive as the first, where God’s plan began.

I know it’s cliché to say it felt like the pastor was speaking directly to me, but it did, and for the next few weeks it continued to feel as if every sermon were meant only for my ears.

Christ City Church offered me a place of restoration and community each week. At the end of a hectic week of work, school, and trying to see and do as many things as possible in this city, Christ City gave me an opportunity to reflect, relax, and rejoice in the blessings and sovereignty of God.

It also provided a place to meet and learn from people of the widest array economically, culturally, and politically. Through the wide swath of prominent differences, the common thread of loving Christ is what continued to catch my eye and rope me in.

Reconciling a relationship with God can be scary, but finding a place to safely grow at your own pace makes all the difference. If you are new to the American Studies Program, or Washington, DC in general, find a church community that reflects the type of person you want to be. You truly will not regret it.

ASP Welcomes Our Fall 2018 Cohort

We are having a blast with our Fall 2018 group of students.  This semester, students from all over the country have joined us here in Washington, DC for the Public Policy course as well as intensive internships.  Students will intern at law firms, Capitol Hill Senate and Congressional offices, think tanks, nonprofits, and even the Department of Justice.


Over the past two weeks, our ASP staff have worked to build a firm foundation for the students before they begin their internships around the city.  To strengthen the students’ knowledge of the city, the group explored DC on foot, by bus, by bike, and by Metro to put into practice the information from their orientation sessions (“stand on the right, walk on the left!”).  Here we are on the way to Eastern Market to catch the bus!

After a day of discussions about the importance of investing in the city, especially the difference between federal Washington and the city of D.C., the students took in a free concert overlooking the Anacostia River in the bustling new neighborhood of Navy Yard.  We were lucky to get to see the U.S. Navy Band’s Country Current on such a beautiful evening.


And last but not at all least, students took professional head shots for their new LinkedIn profiles.  Orientation emphasizes the importance of establishing personal relationships as part of the networking process.  Online networking is also so important, and the students’ profiles are ready to wow everyone who looks them up in the future.  Stay tuned to learn about the students’ internships and how much they will learn here in the nation’s capital.


These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things: Spring 2018

The ASP Class of Spring 2018 has been in Washington, DC for just over two weeks. In that short amount of time– in addition to orientation and coursework– we have visited museums, toured the monuments at night, cheered on the Washington Wizards at a NBA game, volunteered with an after-school ministry, and have become experienced Metro riders.

Here are just a few of our favorite things about our time in DC so far:

The City of Washington

  1. “I love that wherever you go, the neighborhoods have a different feel. You can hop on the Metro, get off two stops later, and be in a completely different and unique neighborhood.” -Andrew Currier, Malone University
  2. “My favorite thing about DC is the history that is found in most of the buildings here. I love living in a place where major historical events have happened and are continuing to happen.” -Sophia Jimenez, Azusa Pacific University
  3. “I love running and seeing the beautiful, easy-to-navigate city. So far, I’ve seen 51 dogs on my runs! How life giving!” -Emiko Macaluso, Gordon College
  4. “Washington, DC is a very friendly area. I was surprised to find that it doesn’t have a big city feel. The atmosphere is welcoming.” -Shanell Nieuwendorp, Northwestern College


We’re Going Places

  1. “The different forms of transportation are quite interesting; using a bus, Metro, and bikes are all unique and fun ways to explore the city!” -Kurk Pyros, Southeastern University
  2. “The Dellenback Center [where we live] is located in the heart of the city, and is walking distance to almost all of the history that is available to explore.” -Hazal Senkoyuncu, Trinity Western University
  3. “I have been surprised by how quickly we have figured out the bus system.” -Anna Strothers, Northwest University
  4. “Worshiping with 4,000 other Christians in the packed National Cathedral!” -Cameron Walker, Olivet Nazarene University
  5. “My favorite thing about DC is being so close to so many exciting places to see and experience.” -Natasha Wilson, Corban University


Inside the beautiful Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery. Pro tip: This is one of the quietest locations in DC– great for studying!

Building a Community

  1. “I have been (pleasantly) surprised by how quickly fellowship and friendship have formed among the group.” -Alex Leasure, Erskine College
  2. “This program is great! I love getting to know all of the other students from so many different places.  It is excited to explore this city with them.” -Amanda Stevenson, Erskine College
  3. “This semester, I am most excited about my internship, living on my own in a new place, and connecting with other young professionals.” -Diana Gutierrez, Azusa Pacific University
  4. “I came into the program a little worried about how I only knew one other person here. But I have been pleasantly surprised at how well we have all gotten along in such a short amount of time.” -Caleb White, Malone University


Internships and Mentorships

  1. “I am looking forward to starting my internship with the office of Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO).” -Andrew Franklin, East Texas Baptist University
  2. “Some things that make me excited about DC and the program are my internship with Representative Jeff Duncan (SC), the richness of the history in this city, and how many new things there are to try!” -Erin Harrison, Southern Wesleyan University
  3. “I am excited about the chance to work with and be mentored by Christian leaders in nation’s capital.” -Chanel Odom-Jones, Trinity Christian College
  4. “What makes me excited about the American Studies Program are the opportunities to make a difference while learning from experienced professionals at our internships.” -Samuel Tsuma, Oral Roberts University


We got free t-shirts at the Washington Wizards’ game!


[L to R] Amanda Stevenson (Erskine College) and Shanell Nieuwendorp (Northwestern College) listen as Alex Leasure (Erskine College) describes his secret phrase in Fishbowl.



[L to R] Emiko Macaluso (Gordon College), Amanda Stevenson (Erskine College), Shanell Nieuwendorp (Northwestern College), and ASP Program Administrator Hannah Wasco, outside the White House.


Catching the sunset the from roof of the Dellenback Center! [L to R: Kurk Pyros (Southeastern University), Sophia Jimenez (Azusa Pacific University), Erin Harrison (Southern Wesleyan University), Cameron Walker (Olivet Nazarene University), Alex Leasure (Erskine College), and Andrew Currier (Malone University)]


Want to have your own favorite thing in DC? Click here to start an application!

And We’re Off! The First Two Weeks

The ASP Fall 2017 cohort has now been in Washington, DC for two weeks. This semester, we have representatives from Biola University, Bluefield College, George Fox University, Gordon College, John Brown University, Judson University, Northwest University, Olivet Nazarene University, Seattle Pacific University, and Whitworth University.

Roof of Student Apartments (FA17)

Checking out the amazing view from the Dellenback rooftop! [L to R: Rebekah Mauer (Whitworth University), James Selvey and Elizabeth Lanham (Olivet Nazarene University), Shelby Baumgartner (Biola University), and Bethany Maddox and Matt Logan (John Brown University)]

After a few days of orientation, the students were off to explore the city. Their adventures brought them to the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion, a baseball game at Nationals Stadium, and to volunteering at Little Lights (an after-school program). Continuing with the ASP tradition of Bus Day, the students spent their first Saturday meeting their new neighbors in each of DC’s four quadrants.


ASP Director Dr. Peter Baker and his son, Jackson (ASP Fall 2027), at the Nationals game.

In the classroom, we have been learning about the origin stories of state, law, and government, and why political order and development matter to public policy.  We have also been discussing what it looks like to live and lead when Christ and his kingdom define our identity and images of success at work. And on Monday, the students will show up for the first day of work at their internships!


Hope Koumentakos (right, Gordon College) speaks with fellow Gordon alumna Townsend McNitt (left, ASP Fall 1987). Townsend led a class discussion on how to have a successful internship.

Check back here for regular updates on what we learn and experience this semester, and keep scrolling for more pictures from the first two weeks:

Old Post Office Clock Tower (FA17)

At the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion. With the Washington Monument closed until 2019, this is the next best view of the city! [back L to R: Matt Logan (John Brown University), Hope Koumentakos (Gordon College), Ian Snively (George Fox University), Luke Atherton (Whitworth University), Dominic Heiden (Seattle Pacific University); front L to R: Nathan Sebranke (Northwest University), Teague Broquard and Bethany Maddox (John Brown University), and Rebekah Mauer (Whitworth University)]


Shelby Baumgartner (Biola University) and Dagoberto Acevedo (Bluefield College) give a thumbs-up to Eastern Market.


The Trinity Forum invited the ASP students to an evening event at the National Press Club– a discussion with Ambassador Mark Lagon (not pictured) on the connections between faith-based notions of human dignity and international development efforts.


An impromptu photo shoot while walking by a Women’s Equality Day event at the Newseum.


Lincoln Park is only a 15-minute walk from the Dellenback apartments. [L to R: Alex Reinhold (Judson University), Kelby Goudey (Gordon College), Dominic Heiden (Seattle Pacific University), and Nathan Sebranke (Northwest University)]


Selected “Best Picture” from Bus Day


Winners of Fall 2017 Bus Day #1: The Filibuster Family! Their matching t-shirts definitely provided an advantage.


Want to have your own DC experience? Click here to start an application!


20 Reasons to Spend a Semester in D.C.

The reasons to spend a semester in D.C. are too many to count. But here are twenty memorable experiences highlighted by this semester’s students during their first month here in Washington, D.C.:

Connecting with the City

  1. I love how I feel like I am a part of something important everywhere I go.
    • Andrew Ramirez, Olivet Nazarene University
  2. The connectivity in D.C.— with diverse organization and movements— really builds an overall picture of the body of Christ.
    • Sharlene Oong, Messiah College
  3. I knew it was fast-paced, especially in government work…but you don’t really know until you know. That surprised me.
    • Rachel Pelletier, Malone University
  4. I love how much is happening each day in this city.
    • Caleb Mathena, Whitworth University
  5. Being able to witness history in the making.
    • Ashley Fisher, Vanguard University
  6. I love the fast-paced environment here in D.C. It keeps me on my toes!
    • Karina Reyes, Fresno Pacific University


Getting Around

  1. I love how everything is walking distance; it makes impromptu adventures easier.
    • Debora Timmer, Olivet Nazarene University
  2. I’ve been surprised at how accustomed I’ve gotten to walking. I laugh when I think about how I took an Uber to places that were only a 20 minute walk away!
    • Ashlyn Rollins, Corban University
  3. I was surprised that I didn’t take the wrong bus on the first day of my internship.
    • Rolaine Castro, Fresno Pacific University


Favorite Things to Do & See

  1. I love the rush you feel when you’re surrounded by amazing history, beautiful buildings, and my version of celebrities—Congress!
    • Kaitlyn Fehderau, Fresno Pacific University
  2. My most memorable experience so far has been going to the Newseum!
    • Alyssa Burlingame, Azusa Pacific University
  3. I’ve been surprised about how easy it is to find people you see on TV!
    • Alexander Hamann, Messiah College
  4. Learning to give tours of the Capitol as a part of my internship has been the most memorable.
    • Katherine Jeffreys, Gordon College
  5. Visiting Lincoln at night has been the most memorable.
    • Amanda Enzenauer, Vanguard University
  6. The Women’s March on Washington was a formational event for me. I am so thankful to have been here for this monumental event.
    • Julia Baslé, John Brown University
  7. I hope I never forget the chilling excitement of seeing the Washington Monument at night.
    • Lydia Deatherage, Corban University


Living in Community

  1. The most memorable part of D.C. has been getting to know each person in the program and connecting with them on academics, music, politics, and internships.
    • Jillian Pascua, Vanguard University
  2. I love how easy it is to adjust to the city-life because of how accommodating DC residents are.
    • Ryan Bolton, Friends University
  3. Getting to know the city through adventures with new friends has been most memorable.
    • Carlye Poff, Wheaton College
  4. I love the diversity of the people in D.C. Every day is a new opportunity to meet a different person, with a different background, experiences, and stories.
    • Daulton DePatis, Olivet Nazarene University

      And in case you need Reason #21: Yes, we do have Chick-fil-A!


First Two Weeks (in Pictures!): Spring 2017

The ASP Spring 2017 Cohort have taken buses through some of the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, cheered on the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center, volunteered at an after-school program, explored a few museums, and attended the Presidential Inauguration— and that’s just in the first two weeks! This morning, the students are off to the first day at their internships. Check back for updates on what they learn and experience this semester.

Keep scrolling for a view of the first two weeks from the students’ perspective:


(L to R) Rolaine Castro (Fresno Pacific University), Caleb Mathena (Whitworth University), Julia Baslé (John Brown University), Alyssa Burlingame (Azusa Pacific University), and Jillian Pascua (Vanguard University) are ready to start their semester in Washington, D.C.!



(L to R) Jillian Pascua, Ashley Fisher, and Amanda Enzenauer (all of Vanguard University) at the 58th Presidential Inauguration. (PC: Jillian Pascua)



Debora Timmer (Olivet Nazarene University) snaps a picture of her ticket to the Inauguration Ceremony.



(L to R) Kaitlyn Fehderau (Fresno Pacific University), Katherine Jeffreys (Gordon College), and Lydia Deatherage (Corban University) pose in front of a street-art mural in the Navy Yard neighborhood. (PC: Katherine Jeffreys)



Tasting the many delicious options at the Eastern Market! (PC: Ashley Fisher)



At the Washington Wizards Game!



Alex Hamann, Randy Lohman (both of Messiah College), and Carlye Poff (Wheaton College) stand outside of the United States Botanic Garden. (D.C. Pro Tip: This is a great place to thaw out after you have been exploring the city in cold!)



One of the first things ASP students like to do is apply for an official reader card at the Library of Congress. There isn’t a better place to do homework!



(L to R) Karina Reyes (Fresno Pacific University), Daulton DePatis (Olivet Nazarene University), and Alex Ruple (Mount Vernon Nazarene University) visit the National Museum of American History.



(L to R) Ryan Bolton (Friends University), Lydia Deatherage (Corban University), and Kaitlyn Fehderau (Fresno Pacific University) are pleasantly surprised by what is within walking distance of the ASP Dellenback Center!



One Month in DC:Spring 2016

ASP Spring 2016 has been here just over a month! Here are a few things they have learned in D.C. so far.

I’ve learned “relationship building skills, more about myself, how to plan meals for the week and score free meals!” –Courtney, Taylor University

“Strangers are only friends waiting to be made.” –Sarah, Northwestern College (Iowa)


“I learned the importance of having confidence in myself, my unique experiences, skills, and abilities.  If you don’t cheer for yourself, who will?” –Adela, Messiah College

I’ve learned “how to be involved in community.”


“Public transportation isn’t as complicated as it seems — getting groceries, however, is.” –Rachel, Malone University

“I’ve learned to seek the Lord in times of change.” –Patrick, Taylor University

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“I may not be a politician, but I have power as a pedestrian.  I will exercise my power!” –Janet, Fresno Pacific University

I’ve learned “how to be confident in overwhelming situations; how to grocery shop; the value of having coffee with someone and hearing about their experiences.” –Cara, Olivet Nazarene University


I’ve learned “how to navigate the metro bus system.” –Sarah, Southeastern University

“Networking is important. You need to be confident and approach people, but you also need to be approachable, as well.” –Hannah, Vanguard University


“No story is too small to share.  No experience is too small to live.  No pizza is too big to eat.” –Ashley, Dordt College

“The right side of the escalator is for tourists, the left side for locals and commuters.” –Stephen, Northwestern College (Iowa)


First Two Weeks in DC:Spring 2016

ASP Spring 2016’s first two weeks in D.C. have been filled with making friends, getting to know the city, and dealing with snow! Scroll through some snapshots from the semester’s orientation.


Getting to know each other through Three Things

Bus Day 1

Exploring the neighborhood during Bus Day 1: Courtney Selle, Taylor University; Mckayla Henderson, Biola University; Rachel Parnell, Malone University; and Farnel Maxime, Gordon College


Apartment 9 ladies: Adela Antal, Messiah College; Hannah Scheenstra, Vanguard University of Southern California; Sarah Ooi, Messiah College; and Sarah Copeland, Southeastern University


Adela Antal (Messiah College) reads with a local elementary school student at Little Lights Urban Ministries {Photo credit: Little Lights}


Rachel Taylor (Messiah College) helps a local elementary school student with her homework at Little Lights Urban Ministries. {Photo credit: Little Lights}


Attending a Washington Wizards NBA game: Farnel Maxime, Gordon College; Mckayla Henderson, Biola University; Veronica Ibarra, Biola University; and Rachel Taylor, Messiah College


We got snow! Thanks to our dedicated students for helping to shovel out our offices and the Dellenback Center: Farnel Maxime, Gordon College; Sarah Ooi, Messiah College; Cara Champlin, Olivet Nazarene University; Adela Antal, Messiah College; and Sarah Wedel, Northwestern College.


All dressed up for the CCCU 40th Anniversary Gala!


ASP-Gordon College student Farnel Maxime with his president, Dr. Michael Lindsay, at the CCCU 40th Anniversary Gala

This morning, students are off to the first day of their internships.  Check back for updates on what they learn at work!

What I’ve Learned So Far: Fall 2015

Fall 2015 students have been in D.C. for a month! We asked them what they have learned about their new city so far.  Here are a few of their responses.

“The city is a metaphor for life. Everything is constantly and rapidly changing at all times. Being here has helped me to remember how important faith is. Even when we don’t see the next step ahead, have faith.”
— Christine O., Azusa Pacific University

“The city is full of brilliant people who are more than willing to teach you.”
— Eric H., Gordon College

2015-09-14 19.30.21

“There’s more to D.C. than the federal side. The neighborhoods have so much life to them!”
— Danni J., University of Northwestern – St. Paul

“D.C. is a really small town. Everyone seems to know everyone, so a good (or bad) interaction with a person can go a long way.”
— Jason S., Biola University


“D.C. is a very federal power type of place. It almost puts on a show to a point where it detracts from the real D.C.: neighborhoods, communities, and people.”
— Isaac S., Vanguard University

“D.C. is culturally rich. Everywhere you go, you experience a different culture and can be welcomed in. I experienced so much culture this weekend at the H St. Festival and the Latino Festival on Penn. It’s not just suits and ties here — it’s food, singing, and dancing on Pennsylvania Avenue with strangers.”
–Tori G., Gordon College

12049306_1720344878193791_6075489689274188108_n“It’s important to take the time to enjoy the small things during the hustle and bustle of the busy life.”
— Jodie H., Messiah College

“Life in D.C. is very fast-paced. Everyday you have to be better at what you do, especially at the office/workplace. You will meet nice people and mean people, but you should show respect to all kinds.”
— Brandan W., Taylor University