Stockton Students in D.C. to Attend Presidential Inauguration Following Academic Seminars

For Immediate Release; with photos on flickr; more photos and updates to continue on Political Science Facebook page


Contact:         Maryjane Briant
                        News and Media Relations Director
                        Galloway, N.J. 08205
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Galloway, N.J. - Ten students from Stockton University are in Washington, D.C. attending two weeks of academic seminars at The Washington Center (TWC) for Internships and Academic Seminars, culminating in their attendance at the inauguration of Donald Trump as the nation’s 45th president on Jan. 20.

This year’s theme, “Elevating Political Discourse,” is particularly relevant given the contentious nature of the presidential campaign in 2016, according to TWC.

Over 300 students from 60 universities are taking part in daily interactive programming, including guest lectures, small group discussions and budget/policy simulations. Topics of discussion include: election post mortem, immigration, race and equity, national security and foreign relations, budget, the economy and trade, and climate change and the environment.

Students use the afternoons to meet in groups with faculty leaders, and visit thought-leadership organizations and popular D.C. attractions. Students have the opportunity to participate in a budget simulation with The Concord Coalition, experience the Holocaust Museum's "Some Were Neighbors" exhibit, give back through a Day of Service and explore the monuments, National Mall and U.S. Capitol. They are staying in apartment-style housing at TWC.

Yomaris Acosta, a sophomore Criminal Justice major from Mays Landing. N.J., said: “I am very excited about this opportunity of a lifetime - it has only been a few days and I have already made so many connections with people I did not know existed. I am looking forward to learning more about the transfer of power and seeing where this experience takes me with my future career plans.”     

Lexi Franklin, a freshman Computer Science major from Gibbstown, N.J., said: “I'm really excited to be in the center of the action for what's sure to be a prominent moment in U.S. history and be surrounded by people who are just as excited as I am to have this opportunity."

“Seminar participants have an opportunity to witness the most important event in our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power,” TWC President Chris Norton said. “I think our conversations during this seminar will have a multiplier effect on participants, who will continue this discourse at their institutions, in their careers and in their communities.” 

“This Washington Center Academic Seminar, leading up to an historic presidential inauguration, promises to be an enormously informative experience for our students,” said Claire Abernathy, assistant professor of Political Science, who is accompanying them.

“As part of this Washington Center Academic Seminar, our students are gaining an important sense of perspective about politics during a presidential transition and what to expect from the incoming Trump administration,” Abernathy said. “The seminar is also built around a guiding theme - ‘can we elevate political discourse?’ - which will encourage students to consider practical ways to engage in political dialogue and political action in constructive and respectful ways. Our students are eager to bring this message back to campus, and will share their experiences and their ideas at an event at Stockton in early February."

In addition to Acosta and Franklin, the students participating are: Carly Bulgia, a junior from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. majoring in Political Science; Anthony Farfalla, a freshman Political Science major from Toms River, N.J.; Anthony Lanzilotti, a junior Political Science major from Brigantine, N.J.; Erica Naranjo, a freshman from Metuchen, N.J., majoring in Political Science; Olivia Norton, a sophomore Economics major from Forked River, N.J.; Tyler Osborne-Lomax, a junior majoring in Political Science and Communications from Manahawkin, N.J.; Ariyanna Santiago, a freshman Biology major from Millville, N.J.; and Ryan Sims, a sophomore from Medford, N.J. majoring in Political Science.

Since 1985, thousands of students have attended the Inauguration seminar. To date, it remains the only national academic program of its kind and size.

Since the mid-1970s well over 900 Stockton students have completed para-professional internships in Washington, D.C. One of the largest groups of Washington Center alumni is from Stockton and many Beltway professionals trace the beginning of their career paths to their internships as Stockton undergraduates.

To find out more about the seminar, visit TWC website.  Live updates from Inauguration 2017 will be posted daily at

Check for more photos and updates from Stockton students on the Political Science Facebook page in the coming week.