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A Day on the Hill: Washington Week 2024 Reflection 

Participating in AACTE’s Washington Week as a Holmes Scholar and representing Ohio University on different platforms was truly an enlightening and fulfilling experience. Given my international background, this event was a wonderful occasion for me to learn, share, and actively engage in democratic processes that shape the policy of U.S. education. 

One of the major highlights of the week was our visit to Capitol Hill. The mentorship provided by AACTE’s program was instrumental in preparing state leaders, Holmes Scholars, and other attendees for advocacy on Capitol Hill. It was an exhilarating and impactful experience to address critical issues in the current educational landscape for policymakers and pave the way to see a positive change in the education sector. The advocacy team I was on was comprised of seasoned state leaders. We focused on addressing federal issues that are prevalent across the states, such as quality education, funding for teacher preparation programs, holistic support for teachers, and the need for a diverse teaching workforce. We shared our state’s best practices for tackling these issues with the legislator’s aides. 

One of the key aspects of my advocacy is sustainability in education, which is vital for ensuring the flourishing of educational institutions not only in the present but also for future generations. The significance of advocacy for sustainability in education and its quality was evident from our interactions with legislative staff. The receptive nature of state representatives was commendable. This reinforced the importance of having direct conversations with those in power who can bring about the desired change.  

Overall, my experience at Capitol Hill has inspired me to bolster my advocacy skills and persist in my commitment to enhancing the quality of education. As a Holmes Scholar, I am grateful as well as proud for the opportunity to represent the voices of educators and students on such a significant platform. 

Srijana Katuwal is a doctoral student in the Science Education program in the Department of Teacher Education at the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education at Ohio University and an AACTE Holmes Scholar.  

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