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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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WashingtonHistory major Matthew Straite '01, who interned with the National Building Museum, researched the viability of skyscrapers in the 21st century. Political science major Kelly Hart '02, who interned in the White House, Office of the First Lady, analyzed the communications techniques of first ladies, including Laura Bush's role before and after September 11. "Mrs. Bush said so many times to me that she didn't want to make speeches," Hart says. "But this really forced her into the limelight, and she has become what the press has termed the 'comforter of the nation.' "


Political science student Jennifer Ku '02 was surprised that the terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax scare — some 60 UC students working on Capitol Hill were among the hundreds of staffers tested for exposure, but none were found to be positive — affected her internship as much as they did.

An intern with the Congressional Children's Caucus, her research topic was to be on juvenile-justice issues. "But after the attacks, nobody wanted to make the first move on doing something that didn't have to do with September 11," Ku says. She ended up doing her project on juvenile justice, although her internship focused more on the topics of bioterrorism and its effect on children, orphans from September 11 and Afghani children.

Even so, Ku says she gained a lot from the experience. "I learned about things I would never have thought to think about," she says.

It's not just the students who benefit from the experience, says Joel D. Aberbach, director of the Center for American Politics and Public Policy and founder of the Washington program. The students "carry the imprimatur for the university and are ambassadors for us in Washington."

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