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‘Go, and go all in.’: Washington Semester Program Alum Looks Toward a Sterling Career in Foreign Policy

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Wyatt Scott attended the Washington Semester Program in the Spring of 2017
Photo courtesy of New America

When former Washington Semester Program student Wyatt Scott committed to a small Pennsylvania university for his undergraduate studies, he never imagined he would be working around the corner from the White House just a few years later.

Scott now works for New America, a DC-based company that researches how technology and policy can be used to create a better world. He credits much of his success to the diverse community he found at the Washington Semester Program (WSP).

Scott attended Misericordia University, a partnering institution with WSP, and studied government law and national security as an undergrad. His experience at a college in a small town compelled Scott to apply to WSP with the hope to explore the opportunities of a larger city.

Wyatt Scott's Washington Semester Program cohort at the Department of State.

Scott has uncovered several DC opportunities since his arrival in the city. On a day-to-day basis, Scott works as a research assistant with the Resource Security Program at New America.

“I'm never really doing the same thing every day. Tuesday, I could be at a different think tank, at a Congressional hearing taking notes for my boss, I could be doing research at the Library of Congress, or I could be as lucky as I was to go up to American [University] and speak to the students there,” Scott said.

With all his success thus far, Scott aspires to get his work published on New America’s website. He is currently working on research projects that are nearing publication.

“A big goal for me will be to take all the criticism that I get for that work and be cognizant of it, and use it in a way that pushes my research to the next level, rather than falling back and wondering why I didn't do this or that,” Scott said.

Still new to his job, Scott reminisces about the opportunities he had at WSP that helped him get to the point he is now, including helping him to branch out from his alma-mater. He still fondly remembers his former WSP professors, Dr. Christian Maisch and Dr. John Calabrese.

While Scott praises WSP for helping him develop professional and academic skills, he also believes the program allowed him the opportunity to meet new people.

“I think something that WSP forced me to do...was to engage with people who are from different cultures and practice different values,” Scott said.

Working at New America is not Scott’s first time working professionally with policy. During the Washington Semester Program, Scott interned at the Truman National Security project. While there, Scott helped to coordinate at the local and state level for a campaign called Operation Free.

Scott believes his time at WSP solidified his interest in policy and even set him on the trajectory to work at New America.

Scott now encourages other hopeful students to apply to the Washington Semester Program as well.

“I wasn't studying foreign policy or international relations before I came to WSP. Now, I think it's probably what I'll be doing for the rest of my life. For anyone questioning whether or not to apply to WSP, I say apply! If you get accepted, go, and go all in,” Scott said.

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Whether it be through its accredited certificates for working professionals or through its mentorship and internship programs for undergraduates, the School of Professional & Extended Studies (SPExS) provides world-class experiential learning for individuals across all stages of their career. To learn more about how the alumni of the School of Professional & Extended Studies are empowering changemakers throughout Washington DC and beyond, visit american.edu/spexs.