On Capitol Hill

02 March 2015

Recently arriving in a snow-covered Washington DC, three high-achieving postgraduate students have begun the 2015 Congressional Research Fellowship Program (CRFP).

This year’s fellows from Crawford School and the University of Melbourne are working for three months in the offices of United States Senators, two of whom serve on the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Working in partnership with ANU North America, the American Australian Association, Virgin Australia and the US Embassy the Crawford School program places graduate students with US Senators. The Program aims to foster the next generation of leaders and invest in the Australia-US relationship.

While in the USA the fellows gain insights into the inner workings of the US political system and engage with the broader public policy environment. This real-world learning informs a major piece of research work that the student completes under the close supervision of a Crawford School academic with similar research interests in International Policy Studies Placement (CRFW 8018).

Crawford Master of Public Policy graduate, Amy Vickers is working in Senator Ben Cardin’s office where she is attending foreign relations committee hearings and policy briefings held for staff in the US Capitol.

Current Crawford Master of Public Policy student, Olivia Shen is working in Senator John McCain’s office and has described the experience so far as a fantastic opportunity to see American politics and policy-making in action.

“In the two short weeks I’ve been here I have drafted letters to constituents, written reports on committee hearings and conducted research on pieces of legislation the Senator is sponsoring,” Olivia said.

University of Melbourne graduate, Prue Pickering is working in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office and is also taking advantage of the wider public policy community.

“In addition to the many goings on of Congress, DC is an absolute hive of think-tank activity and I’m looking forward to exploring all that they have to offer over the next couple of weeks,” Prue said.

To learn more about the fellow’s experiences so far read Olivia Shen and Prue Pickering’s blogs.

The program is confirmed for 2016 with applications opening again in September 2015. For more information visit:

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