Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 29, 2024

Hopkins launches Semester in D.C. for the spring semester

By NICK DAUM | February 8, 2024

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COURTESY OF NICK DAUM

With the new Hopkins Semester in D.C. program, students are given the opportunity to study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Center at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue and are encouraged to pursue independent research.

The University launched its inaugural Hopkins Semester in D.C. (HSDC) program in the Spring 2024 semester. Enrolled students have the opportunity to take classes at the University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), located at the new Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Center at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue (the Hopkins Bloomberg Center) in the nation’s capital. 

According to the Office of the Provost, this semester’s theme is “Policy and International Studies.” The curriculum is a blend of experiential-based learning and coursework. Students are required to take a full semester’s worth of credits (coursework including a research seminar and a global history course) and are expected to conduct independent research. 

The director of HSDC, Lauren Reynolds, wrote about students’ flexible schedules and elaborated on internship opportunities in an email to The News-Letter.

“All the classes are consolidated on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, so students have tremendous freedom to schedule their research and internship hours,” she wrote. “This is also giving our students a competitive edge on some really exciting internship opportunities. We have folks in the Senate and House, federal agencies, the Hopkins Federal Strategy Office, Lawyers without Borders, Brookings and many more.”

Reynolds explained that the theme for the 2024 Spring program is “Global Affairs and Policy,” around which students can integrate their research and internship projects. Visiting professors include Andrew Ross from the International Studies department and Tobie Meyer-Fong from the History department at Hopkins.

Sophomore Isabelle Jouve, a Public Health major, explained her reasons for joining the program in an email to The News-Letter, expressing her interest in research opportunities and internships in D.C.

“I chose Hopkins Semester DC because the program offers an immersive educational experience that I never imagined was possible as an undergraduate,” she wrote. “I am able to design my own research project and take courses with renowned faculty while working in my dream internship with U.S. Congressman Sarbanes’ office.”

Alexandria Pereira, a sophomore majoring in International Studies and Applied Mathematics and Statistics, described her interest in HSDC and her current coursework in an email to The News-Letter.

“I wanted an opportunity to work and explore D.C. and conduct my own research project,” she wrote. “I am taking a course on Chinese and Japanese National Identity in the 20th Century, a Research Seminar, an Internship Course, and Applied Practitioner Course. The Applied Practitioner course is one of my favorites as it brings in experts in this semester’s theme of policy with an international focus.”

Students are also given the opportunity to conduct independent research projects under the guidance of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Agora Institute and the Hopkins Bloomberg Center.

Pereira has had positive experiences with her research project, which focuses on international studies with a case study into the U.S. and German policies on immigration. 

“As part of the HSDC program every student has the opportunity to conduct an independent research project under the guidance of SNF Agora Institute Professor Henry Farrell as part of his research seminar,” she wrote. “I have decided to connect my internship with my interest in economics and European Affairs. My research project is answering the question of how the U.S and Germany’s approaches to immigration and citizenship affect perceptions of Americanness and Germanness and how this plays a role in their respective economies.”

In contrast, Jouve wrote that her research covers the impact of reproductive health education during treatment for substance-use disorder and associated policy solutions. She hopes to continue her research upon returning to the School of Arts and Sciences in the fall of 2024.

HSDC also provides opportunities to speak with experts and network with Hopkins alumni in and around D.C. The program includes student invitations to mocktail hours, receptions and special chats with experts. 

Pereira commented on her experience with guest speakers and faculty at the Hopkins Bloomberg Center. She noted that she has had the opportunity to network with Hopkins alumni at SAIS, with whom she was able to discuss topics like the U.S. Congress. 

“We have heard from Vassilis Coutifaris from the Delegation of the European Union to the U.S., Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephanie Talton from U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Office of Congressional Affairs (OCA), and we will hear from Senators, and other policy makers,” she wrote. “Some of the professors teaching our courses this semester are SAIS/SNF Agora professors and so we have plenty of opportunities to interact and engage.”

HSDC will continue to be available for undergraduate students in the 2024 fall semester. The GPA requirement is 3.5, and the deadline for registration is March 31. The program will continue with its cap of 15 students and will continue to be available to all Krieger School of Arts and Sciences students regardless of major. 

Reynolds encouraged students to apply for the HSDC program next semester, citing its collaborative environment and mentorship opportunities for students. She also commented that financial aid will apply so students receiving aid will not see an increase in their tuition.

“The university has strived to include undergraduates in the innovations in D.C. and has done so through building a program capable of adapting to fluctuating faculty and student interest over time. This is a really unique program in that you will do that while receiving significant mentorship from everyone: faculty, alums, employers, and me. It’s a very special experience and I look forward to more students being a part of the Hopkins Semester D.C.,” she wrote.

Reynolds announced that the themes for HSDC Fall 2024 are “The Humanities of the Public Sphere” and “The American Presidential Election in Historical Context.” Both will offer students opportunities to travel around D.C., including to several museums and monuments, and to meet professors in the program.

Further Hopkins semester abroad programs are currently being explored. The Program in Film and Media Studies is planning a Hopkins Semester in L.A., where students can get involved in industry internships and alumni mentorship alongside classroom learning.

Editor’s Note, 2024: This article has been updated to include quotes and information from Lauren Reynolds.


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