Spring Break Journal: Manresa in DC

This story is part of our March “Spring Break” newspaper, currently available online only.


Stephen Huffaker, Staff Writer

This spring break, I had the opportunity to visit historic Washington, DC on a career trek sponsored by the Manresa Program. RJ Rapoza, co-Director of the Manresa Program, and TJ Davis, advancement officer, accompanied myself and a group of 9 other students from all majors to a variety of worksites in DC. At these worksites, we networked with Le Moyne alums who told us all about their career paths and the professional opportunities available in DC. 

We arrived in DC on Monday evening, where we checked into the State Plaza Hotel in DC’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood. The hotel is located right next door to the embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which inspired a few members of our group to spend the evening exploring the district for other international embassies. We located embassies for about a dozen countries, including Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, plus a bonus find of the Delegation of the European Union, where we peeked into the window of the conference room. 

 After breakfast in the hotel restaurant on Tuesday morning, we headed to Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies for our first site visit. The School of Continuing Studies offers a variety of professional master’s programs. Jamie Kralovec, Associate Director for Mission Integration at the School of Continuing Studies, spoke to us about Georgetown’s Jesuit heritage (Georgetown was the first Jesuit university in the US) and Jesuit values (including cura personalis and men and women for and with others). 

Apart from Georgetown, each of the worksites were represented by Le Moyne alums who gave us insider info about their jobs in DC. Our other worksite visits included ACG Advocacy, a bipartisan government affairs and strategic consulting firm, where we met with Strategic Partner  Kris Balderston ‘77. Kris discussed his illustrious career in politics, including his experience working with Hillary Clinton in her time as both Secretary of State and Senator of New York. 

We also visited a variety of federal agencies such as the US Department of Justice, the US Agency of International Development (USAID), and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.   

Our first visit to a federal agency was the Department of Justice, where we met with David Kelly ’84, Trial Attorney at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. David discussed his experience in law school and his passion for legal work – he described reviewing case documents as a “treasure hunt.” We also learned about the Antitrust Division’s 12-month Paralegal Specialist Program, which provides hands-on legal training and experience, including court experience. 

On Wednesday morning, we shared breakfast at the hotel with Dick Locastro ‘83, Chair of the Le Moyne Board of Regents. In the afternoon, we met with Kelsey Woodrick ‘13, Education Development Officer at USAID. 

On our final night in DC, we had the chance to meet several more alums at a dinner reception at the hotel, including Andre Forte ‘91, Kyla Clark ‘02, Joe Serbun ‘15, John Murphy ‘17 and ‘18, and Julia C. Walsh ‘20. The alums spoke with students about grad school, career plans, and caught up on Le Moyne gossip.  

Our final visit was the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in Bethesda, MD, which we stopped at on our way north. Mary Kelleher-Crabtree ‘84, Associate Executive Director for Health Sciences, introduced us to several of her colleagues, who each discussed their roles in testing products and contributing to safety legislation. While there, we also toured several of the labs where testing is conducted on various types of consumer products, including toys, cleaning products, and even small vehicles such as ATVs.   

When not visiting worksites, we engaged in some good old-fashioned tourism. We visited several of DC’s Smithsonian museums, including the American History Museum, the Museum of Natural Science, the African-American History Museum, and the Holocaust Museum. 

While we didn’t have the time to see many of DC’s major landmarks up close, we caught glimpses of the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, and the White House as we made our way through the city. On our second night in DC, we also attended a performance of Into the Woods at the John F. Kennedy Center Opera House.  

Overall, the trip was a unique opportunity to visit a historic city (for free!), connect with Le Moyne alums in a variety of fields, and hear firsthand about their work. Students involved in the Manresa Program should be on the lookout for upcoming sponsored career treks, including a trip to Boston the week after graduation and a trip to New York City in the fall.