Course objectives

  • Learn how to perform policy research.

  • Understand theories behind advocacy, policy making, and political influence.

  • Develop targeted policy proposals, and learn policy writing skills.

  • Learn lobbying and advocacy strategies.

  • Understand how influence works in Washington, D.C.

Capital Encounter Class Spring 2018

Capital Encounter Class Spring 2018


Dr. James Curry - Associate Professor, Political Science

Professor Curry’s research focuses on U.S. politics and policy making, especially the U.S. Congress. Dr. Curry previously worked on Capitol Hill in the offices of Daniel Lipinski and the House Appropriations Committee.

Gina Shipley - Hinckley Institute

Gina serves as the managing director for national internships for the Hinckley Institute. She has helped hundreds of Hinckley Interns succeed while working in the nation’s capital.

Policy proposal Examples

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3


  • Who is most eligible?

    • The Capital Encounter course is available to all University of Utah students. The Hinckley Institute seeks students who demonstrate indpendence, maturity, and responsiblity.

  • When are the travel dates for Spring 2020?

    • May 1-7, 2020

  • Do you have to register for credit?

    • Yes. You must register for three credit hours of HNKLY 4914. During the spring semester you will meet Fridays from 9:40am-12:40pm with Associate Professor Dr. James Curry and Gina Shipley to prepare for your DC experience.

  • What are the costs associated with this class?

    • Students are responsible for the cost of tuition, airfare, and food while in DC. The Hinckley Institute generously covers student housing.

  • Where is the housing located?

    • Students stay at the Park Place apartments located in downtown DC. Park Place Apartments are located at 850 Quincy Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011. The apartments are located at the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro Station. Apartments are two-bedroom, two-bathroom units with kitchen, family room, and laundry. Apartments are fully furnished, including kitchen basics. Other amenities include sky deck, wi-fi, and a gym.

If you have additional questions regarding the course, email Gina Shipley at gina.shipley@hinckley.utah.edu

                           Student Testimonials



October 30, 2019

For anyone looking to do work in the area of public policy—whether it is running for office, working on congressional/legislative staff, working for advocacy groups or a non-profit etc.—this class is a MUST!
— Kyle Tucker
As a communication and international studies major, the Capital Encounter class was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the work that lobbyists do and about how policy is made. It was such a great insight into how lobbying actually works, and gave me the chance to experience lobbying.
— Michelle James