Why apply to SBS in DC: What I learned

Looking back to three years ago, I remember sitting in my freshman year dorm talking to one of my RA’s about the opportunities provided at UMass. I remember her explicitly telling me to apply to the SBS in DC program. Then, in my first-year seminar, I remember hearing about the SBS in DC program again, and making a note to apply next year when I was a Sophomore. Fast forward to two years later—through the pandemic and remote learning—to the fall of my Junior year. It was finally my opportunity to apply!

Long story short, in May 2022, I packed my many bags and boarded a plane to the nation’s capital. If you are thinking about applying to  SBS in DC, here are some reasons why.

1.) You develop close bonds and relationships with your cohort members: The experience of living with other SBS students is amazing. Through living in our small and cozy (free) townhouse, we were all able to cultivate strong relationships with one another. Whether that be through having family dinners on Sunday or exploring museums together, I got to know many wonderful and kindhearted people I would have not otherwise met if it were not for the program.

2.) Top tier resume & cover letter review and interview prep: Another reason why you should apply for SBS in DC is the amazing level of feedback you will receive on your resume and cover letters. Before the SBS in D.C. program, my resume was not at its best. Through our weekly spring seminar classes and meetings with Rebecca (the Director), I was able to develop an outstanding and professional resume. In addition to having a killer resume, the spring seminar develops and expands your interview skills. This program taught me how to walk into each interview confident and sure of myself.

3.) Connections with UMass Alumni: The SBS in DC program allowed me to connect with many alumni—some even went through the program and are currently living in DC! I was matched with an alumni mentor in the Spring, before I left for DC, and she helped me think about where I wanted to apply for internships. I had yet another alumni mentor during my internship in DC, and she actually worked in the same office I did! Through the mentoring program, I received life-long career and personal advice that I will take with me throughout my professional career.

4.) Develop a strong DC network: As I was going through my internship on the Hill, I was able to establish many strong connections with a variety of professionals. Through attending networking events provided by the program (and on my own), I interacted with others who were many steps ahead in their career, and learned about all sorts of amazing career paths. The network that you establish in DC will be very useful when it is time to apply for full-time jobs, whether you want o be in DC or not!

5.) You learn more about yourself, professionally and personally: Professionally, I learned that I loved being in politically active spaces. Personally, I learned that vanilla and caramel oat milk lattes are the best creation in the world. Once you go through this program, you will learn so much about yourself. Taking a chance and entering a new city, with people you may not know sounds daunting, but will teach you so much.

I am eternally grateful for being a participant in the SBS in DC program. I garnered a sense of who I am and made lifelong connections and friendships. I hope that you will take a chance and apply to this outstanding program within SBS! If you have questions about the program, email sbsindc@umass.edu or come to one of our info sessions!

–Nia Hyppolite, 2022 SBS in DC cohort/Sociology ’23

By Nia Hyppolite
Nia Hyppolite Sociology '23