Walker Phillips and Tessa Walsh in front of U.S. Capitol
2.03.2020
By Roanoke College News

Witnessing history

Two Roanoke College students attending the Lutheran College Washington Semester program in the nation’s capital this spring semester have had up-close-and-personal seats at the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tessa Walsh and Walker Phillips, both juniors, have internships on Capitol Hill — Walsh in the office of U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, of Virginia, and Phillips with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. Both students sat in on the first and second week of the Senate impeachment trial.

“History is being made, and I’ll be able to say that I was there,” Phillips says. “I get goosebumps every time I think about it.”

For Walsh, “being in a room with so many political superstars while history is being made was an experience I will never forget,” she says.

Dr. Todd Peppers, professor of public affairs and the College’s on-campus coordinator the program, marvels at the historic opportunity.

“Every semester, the Roanoke College students who attend the Washington Semester Program have the privilege of exploring the cultural and political history of our nation’s capital,” Peppers says. “But to be able to attend an impeachment trial, an event which has only occurred two other times in our nation’s history, is truly a rare and special experience.”

Walsh’s love for the world of politics has only grown during her time at Roanoke College. Interning in Sen. Warner’s office has given her the opportunity to learn the inner workings of the office of a member of Congress. Walsh describes the internship as, “the perfect match for my interest in policymaking.”

“Every semester, the Roanoke College students who attend the Washington Semester Program have the privilege of exploring the cultural and political history of our nation’s capital. But to be able to attend an impeachment trial, an event which has only occurred two other times in our nation’s history, is truly a rare and special experience.”

Dr. Todd Peppers, the coordinator of Roanoke's Washington Semester Program

Phillips shares a similar sentiment and is using his time to, “network, experience the culture of D.C., and see what types of jobs are out there in the D.C. area.” With senior year approaching, he is using the Washington Semester internship to explore a range of future career options. Interning on the Hill also has meant experiencing the law-making process firsthand.

Lutheran College Washington Semester is a small, personalized internship program through which students can pursue academic and professional opportunities in the nation’s capital. Other Roanoke College students participating in the Lutheran College Washington Semester program this spring semester include: 

  • Jenna West ’20, a literary studies major/sociology minor who is interning at the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Meredith Albright ’20, a sociology major with a crime, deviance & social control concentration, who is interning at Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington County, Inc.
  • Hannah Wilk ’20, a criminal justice major/communication studies minor, who is interning at Rising for Justice.
  • Olivia Samimy ’21, a literary studies major, who is interning at Generation Progress.
  • Nicole Hooper ’21, a political studies major/sociology minor, who is interning at the Federal Judicial Center.
  • David Kuiken ’21, a communication studies major/art minor, who is interning at the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Morgan Reamy ’21, a history major, who is interning at the National Museum of American History.
  • Ryan Denholm ’21, an international relations major/Spanish minor with a concentration in Latin American & Caribbean Studies, who is interning at the U.S. State Department.
  • Seth Foster ’21, an environmental science and political science major, who is interning at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
  • Shannon Baker ’20, a history major with a concentration in public history, who is interning at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Shappell Center.
  • Hannah Smith ’20, a religious studies major with a Peace and Justice Studies concentration, who is interning at the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington.