With most Hillsdale students once again caught up in the bustle of studying, playing sports, and taking part in campus activities, nearly 20 students have chosen to spend their semester in our nation’s capitol where life looks a little different for the typical college student. This month marks the beginning of another class of Hillsdale students trying their hand at Washington work life while balancing their already rigorous studies through the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP).
WHIP provides students the unique opportunity to experience the same education they receive on the college’s main campus in Michigan in a new environment. As Hillsdale in D.C. serves as an extension of the larger mission of Hillsdale College, students take what they’ve learned at Hillsdale’s main campus and actually apply it in the real world – pursuing and spreading the mission not only beyond the small Michigan town but to one of the most influential cities in the world.
“I chose to come on WHIP because I felt it was the natural continuation of my time at Hillsdale. I get to see the concepts we talk about in class and debate over in Michigan come to life,” senior WHIP student Cal McNellie said. “I’m cherishing every moment.”
Although Hillsdale students have been making their mark in the nation’s capitol for years, it wasn’t until 2011 that the college opened a formal program allowing students to participate in meaningful internships while continuing their education with the college through WHIP. Students this semester face one of the most unique semesters the program has seen, facing on-and-off mask mandates and the first city-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate ever.
According to WHIP coordinator Jennifer Lessnau, students who come on WHIP challenge themselves to a semester very different from that of their peers. Many intern in high-level work environments, often including the White House, congressional offices and committees, various think tanks, media and news outlets, national security agencies, and private sector companies.
Make sure to follow their travails this semester on our Instagram page.