What began in 2010 as a Lander University milestone has become an almost expected tradition.
This August, two more Bearcats - Brooke Trotter and Sarah Grigg - will head to Washington, D.C., to spend their fall semester in a work-study internship through the Washington Semester Program.
Directed by the University of South Carolina Honors College, the program will run from August 25 through December 7 - and Trotter and Grigg are counting the days until departure.
"I am beyond excited," said Trotter, a junior Criminology major.
Grigg, a senior Political Science major, added, "The idea of living in the same city that houses the Declaration of Independence actually makes me tingle."
Grigg will be interning with U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, a republican from Rock Hill, S.C., serving South Carolina district five. Her initial responsibilities will include congressional research, capital tours, constituent interaction, and "anything to learn the ropes of D.C."
Trotter is assigned to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the White House, where she will learn how the department assists the President in meeting his policy and budget.
This year's placement is all the more satisfying because Trotter did not get accepted into the program on her first try.
"That was a hard no because it was something I really wanted to do," Trotter said. "So I decided to try again, and spent six months working and preparing for this one."
The best part is that both internships are paid - and since the program is work-study, Grigg and Trotter will also earn Lander course credits, and finish up just in time to return home for Christmas.
"Like Brooke, I am beyond excited about getting this internship," Grigg said. "I had the idea to apply for it through USC's Honors College from day one of entering the political science program at Lander.
Together, Grigg and Trotter are the 16th and 17th students from Lander to be accepted into the Washington Semester Program since its inaugural year of 2010. They are two of only 11 students from South Carolina in the fall program.
"We accept up to 17 students per semester," said Steve Lynn, dean of the USC Honors College. "We reach out to other state schools by going to the various campuses and making presentations about the program."
So far, Lander has yet to miss a single year without at least one student in the program.
"We are so very proud of Brooke and Sarah," said Dr. Lillian Craton, associate professor of English, and director of Lander's Honors College. "This semester in Washington will be the first of many huge leaps they make toward crafting the careers they want."
And both will have plenty of time to ponder their potential careers while they undergo the D.C. experience.
"We leave on August 22 and I cannot wait," Trotter said.
Grigg added, "I'm hoping this chance to work and study in D.C. will give me some career guidance as to my post undergraduate and law school."