As orientation kicks off for graduate school programs, staffers who are going part time and keeping their Capitol Hill jobs begin the balancing act.
Those higher knowledge-seekers are not alone. It’s common for staffers to get degrees on top of work.
Claire Viall, a senior legislative assistant for California Democratic Rep. Mark Takano, said it’s not easy to juggle two loads, but it’s worth it. She graduated in May with a master’s in public policy from George Washington University.
“There were times I had to miss class due to late votes, but my professors were very understanding, because they themselves are longtime D.C. professionals,” she said. “Going part-time made graduate school much more affordable, and I was able to apply what I was learning in class directly to my job and vice versa.”
Cost is one reason to keep a foot in both worlds. Love of the job is another.
“I did not want to leave behind the experience I was getting from my job to get a graduate degree, so it was win-win for me to be able to continue to gain experience on the Hill and take advantage of an excellent part-time program,” Viall said.
While D.C. doesn’t boast an Ivy, some prominent alumni have come through its graduate schools — including dozens of members of Congress.
A law degree from Georgetown is a popular congressional accessory. At least 15 sitting members of Congress have a Hoyas J.D.
Only one member can say he’s a Catholic University law school alum — Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who graduated in 1988.
Check out some other members with advanced D.C. degrees from:
M.D.: Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., M.D. in 1978
Ph.D.: Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Ph.D. in 2015
J.D.: Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., J.D. in 1986 Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., J.D. in 1986 Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., J.D. in 1988 Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., J.D. in 1969 Rep. John J. Faso, R-N.Y., J.D. in 1979 Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., J.D. in 1973 Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, J.D. in 1978 Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., J.D. in 1966 Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., J.D. in 1984 Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., J.D. in 1964 Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., J.D. in 1994 Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., J.D. in 1978 Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, J.D. in 1993 Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., J.D. in 1990
Master’s: Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., M.A. in 1998 Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., M.P.P. in 1986 Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., M.A. in 2012 and 2013 Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Ind., M.P.P. in 2014 Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., M.P.P. in 1994 Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., M.S.F.S. in 2004 Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, B.A. in 1980 Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, M.S.F.S. in 1993 Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, B.A. in 1985 Rep. Peter J. Visclosky, D-Ind., L.L.M. in 1982
Ph.D.: Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., Ph.D. in 1995
J.D.: Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I., J.D. in 1994
M.P.A.: Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., M.P.A. in 1984
M.D.: Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., M.D. in 1979
J.D.: Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., J.D. in 1988
J.D.: Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, D-N.Y., J.D. in 1978