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Students Head to Nation’s Capital for Inside Look at Political Campaigns

October 9, 2012

Students head to DC
The timing couldn't have been more perfect for a group of students from Drexel's Pennoni Honors College to travel to Washington, D.C., for a the one-credit fall course "Media, Campaigns and Elections."

A fall Drexel honors course recently led 10 Drexel students to Washington, D.C., for a firsthand look at the inner workings of political campaigns and their relationship with the media.

“Media, Campaigns and Elections,” which is hosted by the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and supported by the Penonni Honors College, is a one-credit honors course that uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the complexities of political campaigns and the media and the ways in which they affect one another. Students explored how political campaigns persuade voters, how media coverage influences these same voters and the implications of media and politics intersecting during a presidential election.

While hot on the campaign trail, students were immersed in the heart of politics in the nation’s capital. They attended events and visited various sites, conducted research and met with key players in media coverage of political campaigns. Students also met Nancy Nathan, executive producer of "The Chris Matthews Show," and Andrea Seabrook, former NPR personality and current blogger for DecodeDC.

The trip was led by Dr. Kevin Egan, acting director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry. Students who took part in the course included Ivy Koberlein, Steffanie Altman, Laura Calderone, Ann Marie Hager, Adrienne Girone, Allyson Kircher, Matthew McBride, Tony Fu, Emily Morris and Robert Keyser.

Kolberlein, a sophomore biomedical engineering major said, “The educational part of the trip was great and I truly enjoyed being able to see the contrast between both NBC, a for-profit, and NPR, a non-profit. But getting to know the other students on the trip was my favorite part because it provided a different learning experience than the typical classroom dynamic."

McBride, a junior chemistry major, had never been to Washington, D.C., prior to this trip, so, when the opportunity presented itself, McBride was more than excited to go. “I find it important to stay on top of the issues and this trip acted as a catalyst to keep me up to date,” said McBride. “While on the trip, I learned to respect individuals who may have different political viewpoints than me and my respect for politics as a whole increased manifold.”

Altman, a senior international area studies major, added: “I had taken other trips under the direction of Dr. Egan and I liked the hands-on learning experience.” While coursework in this major often focuses on politics, this trip gave her new insight into the media side of politics, she said. “I have always been interested in understanding why campaigns cost so much. This trip was an opportunity to learn more about this and the media and politics.”