Poli Sci student inspired by The Washington Center internship

Supportive Political Science professors at Dominican laid the foundation for Samantha Maciel ’17 to serve in a rewarding and enriching internship with The Washington Center in Washington D.C.

Samantha, now working out of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris' office in Sacramento, spent four months in 2016 as an analyst and research assistant with The Chwat Group, a government relations firm. She became well versed on the roles of lobbyists and had a first-hand experience in the process of developing and introducing bills onto the roll call list, then pushing to get Congress to vote on them.

In addition, Samantha had the privilege of meeting the French Ambassador at the European Union Embassy, working as a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign volunteer on Election Night, and attending academic seminars that focused on pre-election media coverage, climate change and the transformation from the Barack Obama administration to the Donald Trump administration.

“Being a Poli Sci major, there are lot of opportunities and that can be intimidating,” says Samantha, whose goal is to return to Washington someday and be a chief of staff. “Having my experience at Dominican and being in D.C. definitely showed me how I can use my knowledge in multiple ways and find what fits me best.”

Samantha secured The Washington Center internship after Dominican, in 2015, received a Higher Education Civic Engagement Award from The Washington Center and New York Life Foundation. Dominican was one of five colleges and universities chosen from nearly 100 nominations to receive that award, which was created to celebrate institutions in the higher education community that are reaching beyond their own campuses to achieve sustainable civic impact. As part of the award, Dominican received a grant to send a student to participate in The Washington Center's internship program.

Samantha was encouraged to apply for TWC internship by Alison Howard, chair of the Political Science and International Studies Department. Samantha regularly visits with her professors in their offices, the kind of access she envisioned when she chose to attend Dominican.

“I have been able to connect with them, allowing them to know my interests to better help me with my education goals and better prepare me for the career field. I feel this has absolutely happened,” Samantha says.

A “Parties with Interest Groups” class during Samantha’s junior year also was inspiring. The class appealed to her as a way for everyday people to make an impact by conveying their needs and interests to staffers on Capitol Hill.

“Public policy is the basis for how everything in our country gets done theoretically,” Samantha says.

The Washington Center experience introduced Samantha to a myriad of subjects. For example, she did research on Nursing Home Surveillance with the idea that it will lead to a topic the new Congress will address in the new year.

While in Washington, Samantha also connected with another Dominican Poli Sci major, Samantha Hunt ’18, at a networking event. She was in D.C. working in the office of Congressman Mike Thompson after being selected for a Panetta Institute Congressional Internship.


January 23, 2017