Political science major Eden Olson picked the perfect time to take part in The Washington Center’s Inside Washington Academic Seminar. During the 2017 J-Term, Eden studied bipartisanship and governing transitions with students from across the country in Washington, D.C. as the city prepared to host the inauguration of President Trump.
“As a political science student,” Eden says, “(the experience of) being immersed in Washington, D.C. is definitely something you cannot get in a classroom. Leading up to the inauguration, that is all everyone in D.C. talked about. I would sit at dinner and the tables next to me at the restaurant would be talking about it! The city lives and breathes politics.”
Assistant Professor of Political Science Roni Kay O’Dell encouraged Eden’s participation in the seminar. According to Dr. Dell, “the Inside Washington Seminar is an exceptional opportunity for Seton Hill students to experience politics in practice, to explore the shifting nature of US politics, to make long-lasting professional connections, and to learn from policy experts about the current issues facing our country and the world.”
“To see history happening in the making was something special. Not everyone can say they had an opportunity to witness a president being inaugurated."
During Inside Washington, Eden had the opportunity to learn from expert speakers that included law professors and government officials. The participants would then break up into small groups to discuss – and debate - the topic of the day.
“What the course really tried to emphasize and teach was bipartisanship and that was probably the most important lesson I learned,” Eden says. “Everyone has different beliefs and ideas, but if we can work toward bipartisanship and understand why people have different beliefs and ideas we are going to be a better nation as a whole.”
Site visits are also part of the Inside Washington seminar, and while she was in D.C. Eden visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (where she met a Holocaust survivor), political think tanks, government agencies and embassies.
“You can do a variety of things with a political science degree and visiting these places broadened my horizons on what I could do after college,” according to Eden.
Eden’s trip ended with the inauguration of President Trump.
“To see history happening in the making was something special. Not everyone can say they had an opportunity to witness a president being inaugurated but I had the opportunity.”
Photo above: The view from Eden's seat at the inauguration.