IUP Professor Shares Her Experience, Excitement for Students Attending RNC

Posted on 4/1/2020 1:33:25 PM

Leading her students in a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity at the 2016 Republican National Convention was a fantastic experience for Michele Papakie, chairperson of the IUP Department of Journalism and Public Relations.

The IUP Career and Professional Development Center, in cooperation with the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, offers internships in Washington, DC, a city unique in its status as our nation’s capital. As the epicenter of American government, Washington is a natural setting for political study. Beyond the political and government realm, however, Washington is also home to hundreds of major corporations, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, and agencies.

In addition to internships in DC, TWC offers students the opportunity to attend the National Conventions Seminars, which represent a unique opportunity to get a transformative and enriching experience in a real-world classroom with college students from all over the country.

The Democratic National Convention is currently scheduled to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 17–20, 2020, and the Republican National Convention is scheduled for August 24–27, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“A presidential election year is always an historical event,” Papakie said. “It’s exciting to participate in something that big, something that will end up in history books someday.”

According to Papakie, the entire two weeks are filled with real learning experiences. “Hearing from those leaders and experts— from the Secret Service, state party delegations, the host city—learning about everything, all of the costs it takes to prepare the city all adds to it,” she said. “Students don’t realize how much it takes to put on an event like a national party convention. In my public relations classes we study event planning. This is the epitome of event planning, and students get a chance to see and hear all about it.

“I would encourage students to go, even if they don’t have a strong interest in politics. If they have an interest in journalism or public relations, advocacy, anything, really,” Papakie said. “The experience helps in being an informed citizen. It’s so important today to be an informed citizen and to be able to be on social media and pick out fake news or pick out illogical arguments. When you’re immersed in such a phenomenal program like the TWC National Convention Seminar, you come away with a more mature look at what it means to be an informed citizen of this country.”

IUP plans to send a select group of students and faculty again this year. IUP TWC coordinator Kelsey Thompson said students are encouraged to apply online or to contact James Liska (James.Liska@twc.edu) for more information and application details. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Read more about Michele Papakie’s experiences at the 2016 Republican National Convention.