Jessica with a friend at the Jefferson MemorialJessica Hollan
Justice & Law

October 8, 2018 | This semester is absolutely flying by. My professor even reminded us that midterms start NEXT! WEEK! I can’t believe that my time here in Washington, DC is nearly half over. It seems like I just moved in last week.

I have been going nonstop since the last time you heard from me. If you heeded my advice from the last blog then you followed WSP’s Instagram (@WSPIntern) and saw all the amazing photos I shared with y’all about some of my adventures here in The District. If you didn’t follow along I suggest you go catch up, those posts are not ones you will want to miss out on.

But for the sake of our conversation, let’s go ahead and assume you all logged into Instagram early each morning, desperate to see what I had posted so you could properly start your day. First of all, thank you. I love my fans. And also you can clearly see that I have been having a blast visiting symposiums, embassies, and museums like crazy. However, there were a few things you weren’t privy to on Instagram (I can’t lay all my cards out at once, I have to keep y’all wanting more).

The Jefferson Memorial at the DC Tidal Basin My Public Law & Society class was invited to a luncheon meet and greet for a young politician running for Ward 3 council here in DC, Petar Dimtchev. It was an opportunity to understand the politics and issues surrounding DC, and we were all very excited for a free lunch. My friend and fellow WSPer, Natasha, and I were so impressed by is education reform that we even signed up to be volunteers on his campaign.

Later that same day our class visited the Newseum, which was the most beautiful and meaningful experiences of my life. As the co-editor of my home university’s newspaper, The Tystenac, I have dedicated my college experience to the first amendment and being able to write about things going on in the world. The dedication and sacrifice of so many, just in order for people to hear what they need to hear was inspiring. I wrote an article on the experience for The Tystenac, so if you’re interested in reading a little bit more of what I have to say please feel free to check that out at

So all of that was just during Tuesday’s class. Friday’s Criminology & Justice class offered us a chance to attend the Prisoner and Re-entry Symposium, hosted by some of the nation’s leaders in prison reform. My major is forensic psychology, and this was absolutely everything I could have ever wanted and more. Suggestions on how to best serve the community, the district, and the nation were presented, and everything was coming from a public health perspective. The overcrowding of our nation’s jails and prisons is a serious problem, and it meant everything to me that I will one day soon be able to assist with this very important work.

A statue of Thomas Jefferson at the Jefferson MemorialThis past weekend I was visited by my boyfriend, and I did my absolute best to squeeze in some of my favorite parts of DC into just a few short days. He got the hang of the metro pretty much immediately, and I was a little bit jealous at his natural public transportation using skills. While he was here I was able to talk him and Natasha into visiting the stunning Thomas Jefferson memorial with me (it is a little farther out than the rest of the memorials on the National Mall) and it is probably my favorite of all, simply due to its picturesque location. The Jefferson memorial also has a small museum underneath with a run-down on Jefferson’s history, as well as two (!) gift shops. (As you can see in the photos, Natasha and I are inside the memorial, looking off camera to a squirrel who was being hand fed by a tourist, until he decided he had enough. He then snatched the last peanut out of her hands, and took off across the memorial. It was adorable.)

Jessica at the rooftop of the NewseumBack in class, this past Tuesday we visited the Washington College of Law here at AU and listened to a panel of notable lawyers and law professors break down the upcoming docket for the Supreme Court. One of the death penalty cases they will be hearing about is counseled by attorney Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, the book we are reading for class. All of us have decided to attempt to get into one of the hearings, so stay tuned to hear all about how I woke up at 3am to stand in a line outside the Supreme Court with my classmates.

As I mentioned before, Natasha and I had signed up to volunteer with Petar’s campaign. Well, we met with him at Panera after class on Tuesday, and now you are reading the words of one of two social media campaign managers. So if you see a particularly poppin’ tweet from @PetarForward3 on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter then you might be able to guess who it is from.

The semester has been nonstop, and I absolutely love it. Next weekend I will be at the Italian Embassy for the Venetian Ball, plus I have midterms I was so kindly reminded about, so I suspect October won’t be slowing down anytime soon. I can’t wait to share with y’all everything else I am able to experience in Washington, D.C. Until next time!

Blog History

Jessica poses in front of a mural with fellow student at the Chinese EmbassyJessica Hollan
Justice & Law

September 24, 2018 | Hey y'all! My name is Jessica, and I am a senior forensic psychology major at Tiffin University (Go Dragons!) in Tiffin, Ohio. I was born and raised in south Texas, so you can imagine that Washington, D.C. is a bit of a change for me. Even Tiffin is a small, sleepy town so I haven’t quite experienced living in a huge, metropolitan city quite like this before. I knew from the moment I enrolled at Tiffin that I wanted to participate in a Washington, D.C. exchange program, but it was one of my professors who specifically steered me toward the Washington Semester Program at AU and I am incredibly grateful for it.

As a forensic psychology major, my degree is a concentration within criminal justice, so I chose to be a part of the Justice & Law program here at AU. My biggest class only has 15 people in it and my professor knew my name by the end of the first week. I have only been attending classes here for three weeks and I am already so in love with this program.

My classes are full of fellow future attorneys (say that five times fast) and the discussions we have are enlightening. I have classmates from all over the world, and because of our differences in culture, language, and personal experiences we spend just as much time learning from one another as we do the curriculum. I am genuinely excited for class every day, I look forward to our discussions on the books we are reading, the topics we are debating, and the sites we are visiting. Every day I wake up knowing I am exactly where I am meant to be in this moment in time, and I cannot wait to share with you everything that is yet to come.

Jessica poses next to a painting at the National Portrait Gallery

If you look at the WSP program anywhere on social media, they are constantly touting that AU uses “Washington, D.C. as their classroom” and they are not kidding. In the three weeks I have been here I have visited the National Mall, the National Archives, National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of Natural History, The Phillips Collection, and the DEA Museum, all on the days I am not at my internship site in a local law office. Everything I am able to be involved with here in D.C. is only because I am apart of WSP. I am overwhelmingly appreciative to this program for everything I have been able to achieve thus far.

Speaking of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities- last week I had dinner at the Embassy of China. I am fairly certain I am still in shock that I, a mere college student, was in a room full of diplomats and government officials. When I arrived at the Embassy I was allowed to wander around, look in on the meeting rooms, and take as many pictures as I wanted. (At this point I believe my phones storage is about 50% the Embassy of China.) Soon after there was a panel of diplomats who spoke on American-Chinese relations and answered questions from the audience. My friend and fellow WSPer Lu and I were immensely impressed by the straightforward, honest, and respectful way everyone responded. Immediately following the panel was an “Oriental Wushu Culture-China Day” Wushu demonstration where students who train at a martial arts academy in China demonstrated their years of training and dedication in multiple martial arts displays. At the end of the curtain call, we were served a buffet of food cooked by the Embassy chef. I felt a tremendous amount of self-pride for eating the food with chopsticks, mostly because I had only learned how to use them the week before when I had lunch with my friends in Chinatown.

Jessica at the Phillips Collection in DuPont Circle.

Unbelievably enough, this is not going to be my only Embassy experience, so be sure to keep up with my adventures. I would hate for you to miss out on all the details of the Venetian Ball being hosted by the Italian Embassy next month. My schedule is jam-packed with amazing opportunities just this next week even, and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

P.S. You’re going to want to be following the Washington Semester Program on Instagram (@WSPintern) because in the next couple weeks I will be doing an Instagram Takeover! Follow along with me on my daily commute via metro to the law office I am interning at, the sites around the District, and some of the wonderful restaurants I have stumbled upon.