When Cadet Mecadeez Durham, ’24, was a high school student applying to The Citadel, the Dillon, South Carolina, native never envisioned herself living in a D.C. townhouse and working on Capitol Hill. But a chance conversation with a campus employee during her freshman year led Durham the Career Center, where she discovered that her academic career was not confined to Charleston.
Durham, a sophomore political science major, is one of 11 cadets who spent the 2021 fall semester participating in The Citadel in D.C., an interdisciplinary program that began in 2016. As part of the program, cadets are required to complete an internship and take a class on foreign and domestic policy.
“Because of this experience, I am better able to make decisions, organize, project and present information.”
Durham interned for Michigan Congresswoman Haley Stevens and interacted with constituents. “Because of this experience, I am better able to make decisions, organize, project and present information,” she said after her return to The Citadel.
During her time in Washington, Durham completed an Army ROTC class for her National Guard Minuteman contract as well as classes with Citadel professor Capt. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D. Fraser-Rahim taught cadets professionalism in real-life settings, including business luncheons and bureaucratic meetings where Durham and her classmates immediately implemented what they learned.
During their stay, cadets traded their military uniforms for civilian business attire and networked with The Citadel Club of Greater Washington, D.C. Their experiences are part of the college’s strategic initiative to enhance hands-on learning and career readiness.
“By the time I left D.C.,” Durham said, “I was more self-assured. I learned who I was and what I wanted. If you really want something, you have to go get it. My grandmother worked hard to make life better for my mother, and my mother made it better for me. I worked hard in high school, and the Minuteman scholarship let me choose The Citadel. So now I’m here, and I love it.”