Regional College Undergraduates Invited to First-Ever Public Policy Weekend Workshop

A man in a black suit, white shirt, and black tie faces the camera.
MSNBC host and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart.

Washington Post columnist and MSNBC The Sunday Show host Jonathan Capehart will headline a one-of-a-kind, weekend-long workshop, free for college undergraduates throughout the Washington, D.C., region. The inaugural Schar School PPIA Public Service Weekend: Policy Communications will give college sophomores, juniors, and seniors an immersive educational experience in public policy, with an emphasis on learning to communicate policy ideas in multiple media.

Students selected to participate will attend the three-day event at no charge. The Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University will provide lodging near the university’s Mason Square in Arlington, Virginia, and food throughout the event. Application information is available on the Schar School website.

The weekend will begin Friday, October 20, with a 5 p.m. welcome address by Schar School founding dean Mark J. Rozell and a networking reception following a keynote discussion, “The New Media Landscape in Washington,” moderated by professor and former Mason interim president Anne Holton. Holton is a former Virginia Secretary of Education.

On Saturday, October 21, a breakfast presentation by the Schar School’s Master of Public Policy director, Professor Justin Gest, will address How to Reach Broader Audiences. The workshop is based on Gest’s 2020 book, Mass Appeal: Communicating Policy Ideas in Multiple Media (Oxford University Press). Gest and Schar School Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs Bonnie Stabile, a Ms. Magazine columnist, will offer a clinic on how to write effective op-eds.

Also on Saturday, Capehart and Schar School alumna Aarzu Maknojia will present a writing masterclass; Associate Professor Michael Fauntroy, founding director of the Schar School’s Race, Politics, and Policy Center, will explain how to navigate the communications world of Capitol Hill; Associate Professor Jennifer Victor, host of the popular Great Courses series, Understanding the U.S. Government, will discuss political social media; Professor and Director of the Schar School’s Master in International Security Program Ellen Laipson will explain how to Meet the Press; and Gest and Professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera will share their experiences doing international and national broadcast interviews.

Saturday’s program’s finale features Axios News managing editor and CNN contributor Margaret Talev and Schar School alumna Jatia Wrighten, who will engage students in a public speaking master class. An evening social will follow.

Sunday’s program includes how-to forums on writing effective policy briefs and delivering successful public presentations by Laipson and Gest.

Schar School staff and alumni will be on hand each day to offer insight as to how to develop a career in public policy communication.

Application deadline is Sunday, September 17, but exceptions may be made for those who apply after. Information is at and 703-993-8099. See the Schar School website for complete details.