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)

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“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.”

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“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

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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

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“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)

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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All dressed up for the CCCU 40th Anniversary Gala!

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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!

Strategic Communication Snapshot: Fall 2015

ASP is excited to have 5 trail-blazing students in our new Strategic Communication track this semester, and they have been busy engaging communication leaders in Washington, D.C. Currently, we are putting together a communication campaign for Bread for the World, as well as constructing two case studies – one based on the Ebola Outbreak in 2014 that the students are researching as a group, and the other done individually for their internship offices. Our students have great internship placements this semester at the Washington Redskins’ Business Development and Operations Department;  public relations firm, the Borenstein Group; Genocide Watch; Susan B. Anthony List; and a congressional office.

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Fall 2015 Strategic Communication: program director Peter Baker; Dietrich Heiss, Judson University; Brandan Wilchcombe, Taylor University; Christine Orr, Azusa Pacific University; Jodie Howard, Messiah College; Victoria Goebel, Gordon College; and ASP fellow in strategic communication Jacque Isaacs

We started our first week by meeting with Jared Noetzel, Church Relations Coordinator at Bread for the World. The students will be developing and presenting a communication campaign to Bread in three parts: a Formative Research Paper, analyzing tools such as a public relations audit and a SWOT analysis to build the foundation for their communication campaign; a Strategic Plan, working with Bread to establish goals and objectives for the campaign; and an Evaluation and Monitoring Plan, which will help measure and determine to what degree the campaign has achieved its goals. This has been a great experience for the students to work with a real client, understand their mission and vision, and apply what we are learning in the classroom in a way that creates value for a DC-based Christian organization.

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Strat Comm at Bread for the World

Next, we began work on the Strategic Communication case studies. The students are writing a group case study about the Ebola Outbreak in 2014, focusing on a communication decision that was influential which helps us to understand the big picture. We met with four professionals who actively worked on the Ebola Outbreak in 2014. First, we went to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and met with Marty Bahamonde, Director of Disaster Operations in the Office of External Affairs. FEMA’s strategic communication team worked directly with the CDC as they responded to the unfolding crisis. The student’s also video-conferenced with Rev. Susan Sytsma Bratt, associate pastor at Northridge Presbyterian Church, which is located in the Dallas community where the first Ebola victim in the USA was staying. She shared a fascinating first-person perspective on communication in Dallas during the crisis and how she and her church chose to respond.

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Strat Comm at FEMA

We also met with Jonathan V. Last, reporter at the Weekly Standard, who covered the case closely. He provided valuable insight to the students about what was being told to the media, when, and by whom. Lastly, we met with Caroline Booth, the communication director for Congressman Pete Sessions, whose district includes Texas Presbyterian Health Hospital, the focus of the Ebola crisis. The next step of this case study is for the students conduct their own primary research and interview more professionals. We can’t wait to see who they are able to speak with!

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Strat Comm at Congressman Pete Session’s office

Strategic Communication concludes its first half of the semester by sending each student to their internships with the assignment of identifying a decision point at their offices that they can focus on for their individual case study. This is a great opportunity for the students to add value to their internship placement sites. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve travelled in just a few short weeks. Next week, the students will present the research portion of their communication campaign to Bread for the World. We are thankful for all of the opportunities that are being made available to our students, and we are excited for the good work they are completely this semester.

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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

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“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

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“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

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Welcome to Fall 2015!

ASP Fall 2015 is off to a great start with students from Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Gordon College, Judson University, Messiah College, Taylor University, University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Vanguard University of Southern California, Warner Pacific College, Westmont College, and William Jessup University.  Especially exciting this semester is the launch of our new Strategic Communication study track! Internships start week after next, but until then, students are exploring their new home; discussing themes of justice, power and poverty, shalom, and faithful practice; serving their community; and building relationships.

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Introductions via “Three Things”

Trivia night on the roof of the Dellenback Center

Trivia night on the roof of the Dellenback Center

Exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Another group exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Another group exploring the city through Bus Day 1

We love our neighbors at Little Lights Urban Ministries. Each semester ASP students get the Little Lights buildings ready for the school year and sometimes volunteer as tutors.

We love our neighbors at Little Lights Urban Ministries. Each semester, ASP students get the Little Lights buildings ready for the school year and sometimes volunteer as tutors.

With Miss Linda, associate director of Little Lights

With Miss Linda, associate director of Little Lights

Internship Spotlights I: Spring 2015

The Spring 2015 semester is flying by as students go to their internships and work on their group projects.  Three students took a few moments to report on how their internships are going.

Conference room mural at the Institute for Policy Studies

Conference room mural at the Institute for Policy Studies

Christina McIntyre, Messiah College

I’m a poverty policy intern at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). IPS is an activist-oriented think tank of public scholars. Over the past few weeks at IPS, I’ve been learning what it means to be a public scholar: to use research for social change. It’s public service through grassroots, academic, and institutional activism. My research at IPS focuses on economic hardship in the U.S. I’ve written about education inequalities, homelessness, and economic segregation. Currently, I’m helping to coordinate advocacy between Maryland and D.C. lawmakers for criminal justice reform. My internship at IPS has taken me all over the city to hearings on the Hill, meetings with activists at Busboys and Poets, and presentations by Brookings, New America, and other think tanks. Interning in D.C. is an incredible opportunity to engage the issues and ideas I care most about.

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My name is Alberto Sanchez, and I am currently interning for Senator Johnson’s office. I do a lot of different things in the office. I am slowly becoming accustomed to the internship routine. Every morning, I prepare newspapers for every staff member; I also sort mail appropriately as it comes in. The tasks that I do can seem dull; however, I like to think that I am contributing by serving the American people. There have been a lot of interesting experiences that I have had thus far. For example, the other day I met with my chief of staff. He said that interns are just as important as a chief of staff or legislative aid; he told me that interns deserve respect.  I was proud after the conversation that I had with him. I learned that interns are very important contributors to the welfare of the nation. I also enjoy giving tours of the Capitol. The Capitol is majestically beautiful from the inside. I am very happy that I have the opportunity to intern on the Hill. Lastly, the staff members at Senator Johnson’s office are very nice and cordial. They have told me that I can talk to them whenever I want about anything relating to their field of expertise. Furthermore, I have attended committee hearings that have expanded my knowledge of issues such as immigration, foreign relations, and national security. Clearly, I am learning about the importance of the United States Senate and how interns contribute to the nation’s prosperity.

Amanda Bishop, Biola University

I am the External Affairs intern at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). AEI is a policy think tank that aims to produce the best scholarly work on a variety of issues. Our scholars’ work is published for policymakers and the public to read. My job is to assist in promoting the work put out by AEI scholars and maintaining connections with the public. So… what does that look like on a daily basis? Well, it depends. Some days, I sit in front of a computer screen for 5 or 6 hours, updating a database of contact information. Last week, I went to C-PAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, where I got to give out books written by AEI scholars and hear speakers like the Former Ambassador to the UN. Sometimes, things get really exciting. For instance, a few weeks back I found myself shaking Newt Gingrich’s hand in a meeting of less than 20 people where I was taking notes. The week after that, I sat in on a presentation about the struggle for freedom in Iraq and afterward said hello the the Iraqi Ambassador.  And instead of being asked to fetch coffee, the AEI provides a fresh carafe of Seattle’s Best for staff and interns every few hours.

Orientation Week: Fall 2014

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The Fall 2014 semester is off to a great start! Students from Biola University, Bob Jones University, Emmanuel College, Gordon College, Malone University, Messiah College, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Olivet Nazarene University, Oral Roberts University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Seattle Pacific University, Warner Pacific College, and Whitworth University arrived August 28th–and have stayed busy ever since! From orientation to neighborhood engagement to classes to monument walking tours to community events to scavenger hunts, ASP students and their WJC classmates have been getting to know their new community in exciting ways.

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A Bus Day group presents their excursion to the rest of the class.

Kaitlyn Stump’s Bus Day group presents their excursion to the rest of the class.

The first weekend of the semester included a group scavenger hunt or “Bus Day,” giving the opportunity to explore different parts of the city.

Suzanna Bregar of Malone University said that the scavenger hunt was her favorite part of the semester so far.  “I liked that we were broken up into small groups.  It was easier to get to know people.  I also liked exploring the city, missing the bus, or waiting forever for a different bus!”

“My favorite part was the Marine Barracks parade, particularly the silent platoon,” said Kaitlyn Stump also from Malone University.  “Their discipline was extraordinary; they were so in sync without any verbal commands.”

S'mores night on the back patio [From left, Shaefer Bagwell {Biola University}, Collin Callhan {Biola University}, Trenton Pouncy {Oral Roberts University}, Chris Rednour {Mount Vernon Nazarene University}, and Justin Botejue {Whitworth University}]

S’mores night on the back patio [From left, Shaefer Bagwell {Biola University}, Collin Callahan {Biola University}, Trenton Pouncy {Oral Roberts University}, Chris Rednour {Mount Vernon Nazarene University}, and Justin Botejue {Whitworth University}]

Monument walking tour with RD James Kim

Monument walking tour with RD James Kim

Becoming part of the monument at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Becoming part of the monument at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

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Apartment 5 organized a potluck brunch for the rest of the Dellenback!

Later this evening, ASP is attending a Nationals baseball game at Nats park.  Alexander Hayes of Warner Pacific University comments, “If you don’t have fun here, you won’t have anywhere else!”

Alumni Feature: Agaba Bisengo (Spring 2006)

A year ago I accepted a new job at Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB) in Kigali, Rwanda, where I serve as the Transformation Advancement and Deputy Team Leader. I am in charge of donor relations and grant management. Prior to UOB, I worked as the Executive Assistant to the President of Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) in Arlington VA. I graduated from Ashford University with a Master’s in Business Administration: concentration in Organizational Leadership/Management in 2010. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science: concentration in International Relations and a minor in Economics from Messiah College in 2006. In my final year at Messiah College, I did an internship at the World Vision Office in Washington, DC through the American Studies Program in DC. After graduating from Messiah College, I led a mission of 14 American students to Congo and Rwanda. Their task was to teach math and English and minister to orphans. On March 31, 2009, I learned I had won a full scholarship from Ashford University while as a guest on the Tyra Banks Show. Prior to IGE, I worked as a Research Coordinator for the Corporate Executive Board, a best practice research firm serving over 3,700 leading corporations and nonprofit institutions. I supported three program leaders with editing, client communication, and meeting planning. I have been calling Silver Spring, MD home since 1996. I am married to Alexis Sharangabo and we have two boys: Mihigo and Muhoza.

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Agaba is pictured with her husband, Alexis, in front of the Rwanda King’s House in Nyanza, Rwanda