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WASHINGTON — At a school where graduates tend to flock to New York, Penn in Washington is looking to spark student interest in working in the nation’s capital.

Last Friday, Penn in Washington — the newly minted on-campus branch of the summer program — brought 54 students to Washington, D.C. for the day to expose them to employment opportunities and provide advice on getting jobs and internships.

The group met with various alumni working in Washington, D.C., as well as toured the United States Capitol Building in a “CliffsNotes version” of what the group does over the summer, Penn in Washington co-chairman and College senior Evan Philipson said.

“Washington is a very viable alternative to going to New York,” Philipson said. “Some people forget that D.C. is more than just Congress.”

According to Philipson, Penn in Washington, in tandem with political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha, organized the trip to demonstrate the range of employment opportunities available in the public and private sectors alike.

“We wanted to expose everyone to a lot of different areas to show that there’s something for everyone if you want to work down here,” Pi Sigma Alpha co-president and College senior Amanda Ravich said.

For College sophomore Amy Lopez, the trip was a “great learning experience.”

Lopez, who has worked with the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act campaign in her home state of California, hopes to find an internship in either state or national politics.

Wharton sophomore Carolyn Vinnicombe, who is interested in interning in D.C., likewise found the trip “very informative” as to how to go about looking for jobs and internships.

The trip’s organizers and the alumni speakers agreed on the importance of professional networking in Washington.

“D.C. is a very small town,” Ravich said. “The hardest part is getting your foot in the door.”

According to Drew Littman, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s chief of staff and a Law School graduate, “knowing someone” is the “single most important thing you can have” when it comes to getting jobs in Washington.

For that reason, Penn in Washington works to put students in contact with the “vast network of Penn alums in the city” by holding networking luncheons, speakers and other social events, said Penn in Washington co-chair and College senior Grant Dubler.

“Nothing is off the table,” Dubler said. “Penn students are in a perfect position to get any job [in Washington].”

Friday’s day trip was the first such event Penn in Washington has organized, but the group hopes to repeat the event and hold others like it in order to increase its on-campus presence.

“If you’re interested in finance, there are plenty of clubs,” Dubler said. “Our political science department doesn’t really gear people toward working in politics. They’re very academic. [Penn in Washington] fills that niche.”

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