Matthew D. Neal, of Hampstead, was among 24 students from The Citadel who recently traveled to Washington, D.C., where they met with some Congressional leaders.

The Citadel is a public, coeducational military college in Charleston, S.C. Neal, a senior, is a political science major and operations officer in Third Battalion. He will be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy when he graduates in 2013.

The trip to the U.S. Capitol - organized by Mallory Factor, the college's John C. West professor of international politics and American government - gave cadets, active-duty and veteran students the opportunity to meet and talk to members of the U.S. House and Senate.

The Center for American Progress provided a breakfast panel discussion and the Heritage Foundation hosted the students for an evening reception.

Among the legislators who spent time with the students were members of the South Carolina delegation: Sens. Lindsay Graham and Jim DeMint and Reps. James Clyburn, Tim Scott and Joe Wilson. The students also heard from Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, John McCain of Arizona, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Mike Lee of Utah.

Lee introduced the students to Texas Sen.-elect Ted Cruz. Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio participated, as did Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jack Kingston of Georgia, Steve King of Iowa and Allen West and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky hosted the students for lunch.