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Washington, DC Public Policy Sector

The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative is co-sponsoring an Industry Exploration Program (WH 297x) in Washington, DC, focusing on public policy research. The trip will run May 10-12, 2017 (after final exams), for which students will earn 0.5 c.u. of credit. Up to 25 students will be selected to participate through a competitive application process. All freshmen, sophomores and juniors in any of Penn’s undergraduate schools are eligible to apply. Seniors are not eligible. 

Students admitted into this short-term course will participate in research seminars at various DC agencies within the public policy sector and enjoy informal interactions with active policy researchers. Research is an important activity at public policy organizations to support their core policy assessment and policy-making activities. This program will give students exposure to organizations that operate within both the legislative and executive branches of government, as well as to non-governmental research organizations. Participating host organizations include the Congressional Budget Office, Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Enterprise Institute and the World Bank. The program will also incorporate extracurricular activities in the Washington, DC, area, including an alumni networking dinner. 

The program is designed to:

  • Foster an interest in the public policy sector.
  • Help students understand the role of research in the activities of public policy agencies
  • Provide information that will help students prepare for careers in the public policy sector.

Professor David Zaring will serve as the faculty leader for this course. He will be accompanied by staff from the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative. They will be in residence with students throughout the program. Please note that students are subject to Penn’s disciplinary guidelines while on any University-sponsored program.

Agency Site Visits

Students will participate in research seminars at five different host organizations over the course of three days: an afternoon session on Wednesday, May 10, followed by morning and afternoon sessions on May 11 and 12. During each seminar, a panel of researchers will share insights from their current projects and engage students in Q&A. Research topics are expected to include the federal budget, consumer protection, antitrust regulation, education, and environmental policy. 

Course Requirements

Participants will be required to attend two pre-travel classes on Friday afternoons, scheduled for 2-5 PM on March 31 and April 28 (reading day). These sessions are designed to give students the background they will need in order to engage productively in the research seminars in Washington. Attendance and participation in these classes is mandatory and part of the grade for the course. The course must be taken for a grade; it cannot be taken pass/fail.

While on the travel portion of the program, students will be required to attend all scheduled sessions including evening activities. A final paper that analyzes the research by one of the host agencies will be due approximately one month after travel is completed.

Cultural Events and Excursions

Students will have opportunities to explore the Washington, DC area. Evening events and excursions will be scheduled as part of the program (and are included in the package price).

Program Logistics, Fees, and Deadlines

Completed Application Due
Monday, February 13, 5 PM
Notification of Students 
Friday, February 17, by 5 PM
Confirmation Due  
Wednesday, February 22, by 5 PM
Payment Due 
Spring 2017 bursar bill 
Pre-Trip Class 1 
Friday, March 31, 2 - 5 PM 
Pre-Trip Class 2 
Friday, April 28, 2 - 5 PM (Reading Day)
Travel Dates 
May 10 - May 13

 * Students must report to the Washington Marriott Metro Center by 10:45 AM on Wednesday, May 10. The program officially ends at 5 PM on Friday, May 13.

Application Submission Guidelines

The program fee for the course is $350.

This fee covers course supplies, most meals, lodging for the duration of the program, transportation within DC, host agency visits, scheduled evening activities, and fees for services.

The fee does not include:

  • Transportation to/from Washington, DC
  • Breakfasts
  • Personal phone
  • Laundry
  • Health insurance
  • Personal spending money
  • Incidental expenses not included in the fee (snacks, outside entertainment, etc.)

The program fee will be charged to the students’ Spring 2017 bursar bill.

Financial Assistance

Students receiving financial aid from Penn may be eligible for financial assistance for this DC program from the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative. 

If you are requesting assistance, please check the box on the application. We will notify you about your financial assistance package upon admittance to the program.

If you are not eligible for financial assistance through Penn, the Student Federal Credit Union is a great resource for student loans for these types of programs. Please contact them for details about these loans.

Travel Logistics

Transportation: You are responsible for booking and paying for your transportation to/from Washington DC. You must arrive at the hotel in DC by 11 AM on Wednesday, May 10.

Accommodations: Participating students will stay at the Washington Marriott Metro Center, located in the heart of downtown DC. (The street address is 775 12th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.) Rooms will be double occupancy.

Insurance: All participants must show proof of current health insurance coverage before departing on the program.

Ground Transportation: Once in DC, participants will get around the city by public transportation or by walking. Any students needing other accommodations must contact Andy Coopersmith, Managing Director of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (ascooper@wharton.upenn.edu).

Meals: Please contact Andy Coopersmith if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies.

Apply Here

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

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