Students in Government and Public Policy Attend Presidential Inauguration

The University of Arizona School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP) funded seven undergraduate students to attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. in early January. Attending the Inauguration was part of an academic seminar through the Washington Center, an independent, nonprofit organization that offers students challenging opportunities to work and learn. The students who attended were Ciera Crawley, Karen Donderewicz, Rachel Dyckman, Ayya Hudaybergenova, Kelly Paris, Matthew Russell-Cheung, and Maryann Shakir.

“I was so blessed to be able to watch history in the making as I attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration through the Washington Center’s Presidential Inauguration Seminar,” said Rachel Dyckman, a political science major. “Not only did I witness President Obama being inaugurated for his second term, but I was able to listen and ask questions to phenomenal speakers. Whether I was listening to Dr. Cornell West, Grover Norquist, or C-SPAN Founder Brian Lamb, I gained valuable insight into our political system. There is no doubt that this experience will help me in the future to get involved in politics.”

The seminar gave an in-depth look into the complexities of media and politics in Washington D.C. It brought together public figures, academics, and journalists to speak to students across the nation and engage them in intellectual debate about current policy issues and politics in Washington. Students visited think tanks and the Council on Foreign Relations for one-on-one conversations with people influencing public policy.

“The experience exceeded my expectations because I gained invaluable knowledge and critical thinking skills [from] professionals working in D.C.,” said Karen Donderewicz, a political science major.

“I cannot thank the [School of Government and Public Policy] enough for sending me on this trip. After this phenomenal experience, I feel I have more direction for what I want to do after graduation and a better sense for understanding and appreciating our nation. This has been the greatest experience of my entire undergraduate career and it will never be forgotten,” said Donderewicz.  

Funding Opportunities

Junior and senior majors in the School of Government and Public Policy pay program fees, which, among other things, are used to provide scholarships, workshops, and funding for conferences, study abroad, and academic seminars. The inauguration seminar was one of many programs for which SGPP offers funding.

The SGPP Advising Team reviews applications and provides funding to students who meet eligibility requirements. The application process is ongoing and subject to availability of funds. More information can be found on the SGPP website at

Contact: Chelsea Tryon, School of Government and Public Policy, 520-621-7602,

Caption: Pictured left to right: Maryann Shakir, Ciera Crawley, Kelly Paris, Matthew Russell-Cheung, Rachel Dyckman, Ayya Hudaybergenova, Karen Donderewicz, Dr. David White (Faculty Leader and UA Alum)


Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer/Political Editor/Host, C-SPAN

Ben LaBolt, Senior Advisor, Presidential Inaugural Committee

David Welna, Congressional Correspondent, National Public Radio

Ken Walsh, Chief White House Correspondent, U.S. News & World Report

Eugene Kang, Special Projects Coordinator/Confidential Assistant to The President

Bill Dauster, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, Office of Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., Co-Chair, Commission on Presidential Debates

Michael McCurry, Co-Chair, Commission on Presidential Debates

Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA Today

Scott Horsley, White House Correspondent, National Public Radio

Janet Hook, Political Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Brian Lamb, Executive Chairman and Founder of C-SPAN

Rodell Mollineau, President, American Bridge 21st Century

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

James A. Thurber, Founder and Director, Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies, American University

Tavis Smiley, Host, The Tavis Smiley Show, PBS

Dr. Cornel West, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

Don Ritchie, United States Senate Historian

Published Date: 

02/04/2013 - 12:53pm