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MC faculty visit Washington Semester participant during break

Washington Semester participants Justin Frye (far left) and Joe Florio (far right) pose with faculty members Rob Hale & Erika Solberg (and their children), Trudi Peterson and Annika Hagley during Spring Break.
A group of four Monmouth College faculty members saw a familiar face on their Spring Break travels to the nation’s capital – Washington Semester Program participant Joe Florio.

Annika Hagley, Trudi Peterson, Rob Hale and Erika Solberg visited Washington, D.C., during their time off from teaching. Along with the Solberg-Hale’s children, they took a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, guided by Florio, a junior from Grayslake. Florio is interning for Congressman Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) as part of his off-campus study program.

“He led our group through the visitor’s center, the old Supreme Court, into the beautiful rotunda, to the floor of the House chamber and finally through an underground tunnel decked with art – which members of the public don’t usually get to see – to the Rayburn House Office Building,” said Hagley. “It was wonderful to watch Joe representing Monmouth College in this way. We enjoyed the history and the general atmosphere, and the kids were pretty impressed that they didn’t have to wait in line for hours like all the other tourists.”

One of two MC students participating in the Washington Semester this spring, Florio is taking the American politics track alongside his twice weekly duties as a “hill-tern.” The other student is sophomore Justin Frye of Carol Stream, who is also in the American politics track and working as an intern at Environment America.

“Justin is the youngest student in the program, and it is a testament to the maturity of his character that I had complete confidence in sending him through the application process as a representative of the college,” said Hagley. “He has been an absolute credit to Monmouth in terms of treating this opportunity with the respect and dedication that it deserves. I cannot wait for both of them to come back to the campus and share their experiences of this solid academic and experiential program with other students and the community.”

The Washington Semester Program is designed to bring superior students into contact with source materials and government institutions in the nation’s capital. In addition to regular study and a research project, students participate in the Washington Semester Seminar, a course consisting of a series of informal meetings with members of Congress and government officials.

Hagley has noticed a sharp increase in the number of students applying for the Washington Semester since taking over as the program’s adviser in two years ago. Moving forward, she would like to send a steady stream of Monmouth students to the nation’s capital.

“We sent Joe and Justin this semester, and we will be sending Corbin Beastrom (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Garrett Daniel (Glenwood) and Imelda Avila (Chicago) in the fall,” she said. “There are places open for Spring/Fall 2013, and a recruiter from American University will be on campus in April to talk to students.”