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When Michael Verlezza decided to attended Bridgewater State University he got more than he bargained for. In a good way. The economics and finance major from Attleboro was given the opportunity to spend time in the nation’s capital thanks to the institution’s partnership with The Washington Center, the largest independent, nonprofit academic internship program in the country.
“It is an experience of enrichment and inspiration that will come to define my academic career at Bridgewater State University,” he said.
Since spring 1998, more than 75 BSU students have experienced the singular opportunities available through the center. The partnership has been hailed by students, faculty and administrators alike, and this fall The Washington Center named Bridgewater State as its Public University of the Year for 2012.
Dr. George Serra, professor of political science, said this was "significant recognition" from a highly respected institution.
The program provides internships across D.C., as well as abroad, for students of all majors. Students intern in government offices, communication organizations, law firms, trade and professional associations, human rights groups, and a host of other organizations.
The center offers internships in places such as the Library of Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Endowment for the Arts and The World Bank.
As part of his internship, Mr. Verlezza attended the Democratic National Convention, where he worked with members of the media, such as former CNN anchor Aaron Brown, as well as political analysts and others.
“It forced me to reconsider my perception of media’s role in government, and I found myself reevaluating my career goals in quantitative finance, wondering if there was a place for me inside the Beltway rather than on Wall Street,” he said.
In announcing the honoring of BSU as Pulblic University of the Year, The Washington Center's Senior Vice President Eugene J. Alpert said in a letter to Dr. Serra: "One of the many things that set Bridgewater apart from other institutions is your exceptional commitment to academic quality for your students in the field of experiential education. That you and members of your administration have made such a strong and conscious decision to support students attending The Washington Center academic programs is indicative of that commitment."
The institution was honored in Washington at the center’s Academic Affairs Awards Luncheon, held at the National Press Club. BSU President Dana Mohler-Faria and other administrators attended. (Story by John Winters, G ’11, Institutional Advancement, photos submitted by The Washington Center)