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Hopkins Semester Gives Hopkins Students Gateway to DC

Sophomore Isabelle Jouve dreams of pursuing a career on Capitol Hill. As a public health studies major, she’s spent the past year and a half studying health policy in hopes of someday building a career in Washington, D.C.

Now, thanks to the first-ever Hopkins Semester D.C., Jouve is getting a head start.

“They’re offering a really unique chance for students to live and work in D.C.,” she says. “I get to do something that I dreamed of doing after graduation while I’m still in undergrad.”

The Hopkins Semester D.C. is a new study-abroad alternative that brings Hopkins undergraduates to the heart of the nation’s capital. Open to all students pursuing a major or minor in the Krieger School, it offers a variety of learning opportunities both in the classroom and in the field.

The program, which launched this spring semester, is hosted in the new Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Center at 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW. Situated blocks from the U.S. capitol, the building contains programming from all Hopkins divisions, allowing students, researchers, and faculty to collaborate in new and exciting ways.

“With Hopkins consolidating our spaces in D.C., it was time to connect the undergrads,” explains Lauren Reynolds ’17 PhD, director of the Hopkins Semester D.C. program.

The Hopkins Semester’s inaugural cohort was made up of 15 undergraduates. In addition to regular classes, all HSDC students ended the semester with internship and independent research experience, as well as new networking connections.

Students aren’t limited to internships on the Hill; some spend their semesters with lobbying groups, federal agencies, and nonprofits. When mixed with the countless options for independent research, this means that no two students will have quite the same experience.

HSDC students also attend weekly talks with politicians and policy experts. These sessions allow the undergraduates to consider alternate career paths and learn more about the many roles that contribute to the D.C. policy scene. To help navigate these experiences, each student is paired with an alumni mentor from their intended career field.

The spring semester’s HSDC classes all fell under the theme of “Global Affairs and Policy.” Fall 2024 will feature two themes, “Humanities in the Public Sphere” and “The Modern American Presidential Election in Historical Perspective.” Both themes will incorporate aspects of the 2024 presidential election, taking full advantage of the program’s location.