Capital Semester Graduation: Class of Fall 2011

The Capital Semester Fall 2011 class left Washington, DC after 15-weeks filled with internships, classes, guest lectures, tours, briefings and much more.  Their graduation ceremony and reception was held on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn House Office Building.

There were several highlights at graduation including faculty remarks by retired USA Today White House Correspondent, Richard Benedetto. Benedetto spoke about “the importance of remembering who you are and where you came from.” Student remarks were given by Leah Shirley, a senior at Chapman University studying Political Science. She reflected on her time interning at Conservation International and the friends she made during her semester in DC.

The keynote speaker and Outstanding Internship Supervisor Award Recipient was Randy DeCleene, Senior Vice President at K-Global. He shared life lessons for young adults entering into the workforce. He stressed “the importance of working hard”—noting that if you work hard enough, you’ll be in the right position to take advantage of lucky strikes. DeCleene also expressed “the importance of standing out and doing things that make you unique”. He concluded with the most valuable piece of advice, “remember to follow your dreams”.

“We can do all things that we put our minds to, so do not limit the amount of passion you possess.” – Randy DeCleene, Capital Semester Graduation

The following students were recognized for their academic achievements:

– Scott Eastman, University of Nebraska – Excellence in Constitutional Studies

– Gabrielle Mondo, Ramapo College of New Jersey – Excellence in Journalism

– Andrew Osborne, University of Minnesota – Excellence in Economics

– Charles Tufts, Depaul University – Excellence in Public Policy

Additionally, alumna Julie Tegho was honored for her participation in the mentor program. Tegho mentored Victoria Vlad of the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, offering her career advice, recommendations on events and activities to take advantage of in Washington, and tips for living in the city.

Learn more about the Capital Semester program by visiting

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