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Confronting the terror within
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Capital Steps

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Spring 2002
Capital Steps
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"The morning of the World Trade Center attacks, I remember thinking: 'Hmm, I might not be going to Washington — who knows what's going to happen?' " recalls Matthew Lunder '02, a political science major, who was preparing for an internship with the Democratic National Committee. "As I watched news coverage of the Pentagon crash site, I thought, 'Will they be able to deal with whatever's coming down the pike with all the students here?' I was afraid the program might be canceled."

Administrators, however, were determined the program would continue. All 30 UCLA students showed up: prepared to learn, ready to participate and eager to witness history in the making. In the end, UCLA's Quarter in Washington, the oldest and most rigorous program of its kind in the UC system, took on greater meaning.
"At first, you're hit really hard, but you start moving on in your life, in a much different way than when we first came here," says political science major Jeanine Percival '02, who interned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "We were living in a place that got attacked and talking to people who were victims. Our perspective changed 180 degrees."

ADMINISTERED by UCLA's Center for American Politics and Public Policy, the Quarter in Washington Program, now in its 12th year, provides undergraduates with a full-credit academic quarter plus an internship every fall and spring in a branch of the federal government, a congressional committee, museum, think tank, advocacy group or other organization. The students use that experience for an original research project, which they present at the end of the 11-week period.

In past years, students have examined flaws with law-enforcement databases for DNA evidence, federal compliance with environmental mandates and welfare reform, among many other subjects. This year, several of the students' research projects were influenced by September 11.

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