Published on January 30, 2024 by Diamond Nunnally  
DC Fellowship 2024

Three Samford University Howard College of Arts and Sciences students visited Washington, D.C., Jan. 2-6. Juniors Anna Cella, an international relations major, Allison Haines, a political science and public administration major, and Law, Politics and Society major, Christian Pressler, spent a week in the United States capital learning about public policy and getting hands-on experience in national politics for the Center of Religion, Culture and Democracy's D.C. Fellowship program. 

"I really enjoyed the friendships I formed with the other cohort members," Cella said. "Everyone was smart and kind, and it was great to hear and interact with people who were similar and different from me." 

Political science chair Lee Trepanier nominated the three students based on their GPA, career interests and extracurricular activities, such as involvement in student organizations, student government, and local and state politics. 

"That's something I love about the political science department," Cella said. "Professors get to know you personally and will send you things you might be interested in because of that!" 

The D.C. fellowship provides high-achieving students pursuing careers in public service the opportunity to learn from professionals in government, media and the nonprofit sector. 

"After seeing the range of speakers invited to the conference, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to meet similar people while also hearing from lawyers to foreign service officers to economists—all in the city where I want to end up one day: D.C.," Cella said. 

"I wanted to participate in this program because I believe in the mission and importance of the First Liberty Institute," Haines said. "During this fellowship, I learned about their important work and how to use my talents and circumstances to promote religious freedom in my life and community." 

While in D.C., the students heard presentations from members of Congress, lawyers, diplomats, CIA analysts and college professors. They also visited landmarks such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Mall, the Victims of Communism Museum and a private after-hours tour of the U.S. Capitol Building.  

"This experience has prepared me for my future career by giving me invaluable connections with influential people in many fields," Haines said. "It gave me a network of people with similar interests and goals. The fellowship also prepared me for my future career by giving me insight into different job opportunities and teaching me how to use my talents to pursue my vocation." 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.