Brian Patrick "Pat" Michaels
If you have a desire to work in public policy making, consult for one of the "big four firms", conduct research with NIH, or serve in the US government, there is no better opportunity for a Georgia student than the Washington Semester Program.
This has, by far, been the most challenging and most rewarding professional and academic experience while I've been at Georgia.
A sense of adventure was one of the primary reasons as to why I chose to move almost a thousand miles and go to UGA. Originally from Waco, TX, a sense of adventure, as well as my family’s love for the Dawgs, brought me to Athens to discover endless possibilities and opportunities. One of those discoveries was my affection toward political science and especially international affairs. Without friends and mentors telling me about SPIA, I wouldn’t have known about the great programs we have at Georgia. That same sense of adventure then led me to participate in things like Dawg Camp, UGA HEROs, and join a fraternity. It also pushed me to spend my last semester in college in the Washington Semester Program.
Bachelors in Arts in Political Science and International Affairs
Why I went:
The legendary Dr. Bullock suggested that since I was so interested in the intersection of foreign policy making and Congress, that I take a look into the Washington Semester Program and the Isakson Public Policy Fellowship. He noted that it would not only help me in a future job pursuit, but it would eventually help me decide what I wanted and not wanted to do as a future career. I pushed back out of fear of missing out on my last semester in Athens, but I eventually mustered the courage to go ahead and apply to WSP. Opportunities like WSP don’t always offer themselves, so seriously consider these opportunities while you can.
Favorite spot to visit:
My favorite spot in DC is Eastern Market and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Enjoying a Bullfrog Bagel and walking around Lincoln Park was a perfect late Saturday morning for me. I also enjoyed checking out the eclectic shops and surveying the delicious Italian restaurants in Georgetown.
Most memorable day:
My most memorable day during WSP was Inauguration Day. I remember standing with friends and watching profound history happen right before our eyes. The event brought people from every corner of America representing every political agenda. Outside of the entrance that we used, there was not only a concrete barricade, but also a barricade of police people who were physically pushing back protestors who wanted to block people from entering the Inauguration grounds. Inside the fenced area, people in the crowd chanted “lock her up” when Secretary Clinton emerged onto the stage. It was a tumultuous day indeed.
Why I'm glad I went:
WSP gave me insight into what I want and do not want my work environment to be like. The experiences also thrust me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to learn as I went along project to project. I am thankful for UGA’s experiential learning requirement because it allows students to challenge themselves in areas in which they may not have otherwise thought.