ASU Capital Scholars
Blog #1- Week #1
As soon as I got off the airplane with Aundrea, the hustle and bustle started. It was an adventure to get our luggage, find an uber, make our way through town, and find our housing. I could already feel the humidity and was instantly worried that I would not adjust and would not like the gloomy weather. While I still may prefer Arizona’s dry heat to the humidity, my unsettling, hesitant feelings towards the D.C. area have completely dissolved. I found that I really enjoy the constant business and fast-pace lifestyle. When I go back home, it may be a culture shock as the environment will be moving slower.
After a nice dinner the night we all got in and already networking and meeting Capital Scholar alumn, and while we had a free day the first day, I am very glad that we, Capital Scholars, took the “highly suggested advice” of visiting the Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. Not only was it a very breath-taking, humbling experience to witness the rows of gravestones of those who had given their lives so that we could live freely, we got the chance to hear our President Donald Trump speak, among others. Despite one’s political affiliation, I think anytime that you are able to be in the presence and hear a President speak is an indescribable experience. After a whole ceremony and visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Arlington House, I was able to meet up and hangout with my boyfriend, whom I had not seen in months, and walk around D.C. some with him. After catching a fun Memorial Day parade, we ventured through the Museum of American History, which was rather interesting, and ended the day exhausted and ready to start another busy day.
Tuesday, we met at Senator Jeff Flake’s office with someone who works with legislation. It was really interesting talking to her and receiving advice as to how to get there, as working on Capitol Hill with legislation greatly interests me. Afterwards, we got a tour of the Kennedy Center, which was so beautiful and incredible, and we ended up having lunch there at the Center. We ended the day at the ASU/ DC Center where we met with an ASU alumn and former Capital Scholar, Ms. Jeanette Miller. She is currently the Deputy Assistant Director of the Licensing Division in the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Treasury Department, and her role was pretty interesting.
Wednesday, we had a self-guided tour of the DEA Museum, and although it was disappointing that we were not able to meet up with an agent, it was still very interesting to explore the Museum. After grabbing a quick lunch, we ventured through the Library of Congress, which was one of my favorites. The building is absolutely beautiful and everything inside is just so interesting! I loved the old maps and Thomas Jefferson’s Library as well. Also, while it may be a little nerdy, I bought crinkled, little copies of our Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights that I could frame and hang up!
Like every morning this week, we got up early the next morning so as to take a lot of pictures on the Supreme Court steps before our tour. The tour as well was phenomenal; I was in complete awe while in the Courtroom realizing that I was in the presence of where a lot of history was made in the past. While I was disappointed that we weren’t allowed to, it was interesting as you are not allowed to take any pictures within the Supreme Court. I believe it was one of the only places that I did not tour with my family when I was younger, or at least did not remember doing so, so it was a great, indescribable experience! Of course I bought little souvenirs there as well, and afterwards ate lunch at a close salad place that was really good. Afterwards, we met with a Staff member at Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema’s office. Again, it was nice to receive advice from a full-time Hill employee and discover his story and career path. I highly respect their approach how even though they obviously lean one direction, they try and reach across the aisle sometimes and work to represent their District and state best. In the middle of the day, we split up and while some of us visited the National Botanical Gardens, others of us went to the National Air and Space Museum. I went with the group to check out the Air and Space Museum and immediately, I recognized the place. I believe it was of my dad’s favorite museums as he was a “rocket scientist” if you will and worked on rockets with previous companies. Thus, memories of the museum came back instantly. That day, though, while we wanted to keep checking it out, we were all so exhausted wandering through the museum and commented on how we collectively wished we had more energy and we actually rested (took a short nap) in a little theater describing the first flights of the Wright Brothers. We ended the day later at the ASU/ DC Center again meeting with Sam Kessler, an ASU alumn and former Capital Scholar who is an Intelligence Research Specialist at the U.S. Treasury Department. What all his job entailed was rather interesting as well, and I greatly appreciated all of the networking opportunities that this Program provided.
Friday was definitely an adventure, and as most commented, was one of my favorite days as well this week. It started off a mess with transportation as we discovered, and were made aware by Dr. Herrera, as part of the orange line was under construction. Thus, we had to get off at, I believe, Stadium stop and take a shuttle to New Carrollton, where we met Dr. Herrera and Ms. Grant at a bus that would take us to Annapolis. Once in Annapolis, we wandered around for a little bit, and then got a tour of the William Paca house, which was rather interesting. I love our history and colonial architecture and old-fashioned antiques, so this tour was amazing! It was nice that my boyfriend, then, met up with us and showed up around his little town and later around the Naval Academy. As it was my first time in Annapolis and at the Academy as well, I loved receiving a tour around from Shawn as well. I had heard so much about this cute little town and the Academy so it was so surreal that I was there and finally witnessing everything. It was disappointing that we were unable to meet the Speaker of Maryland’s House, Michael Busch; however, I hope he recovers soon. I will have to explore more of their state house this summer as I may go visit Annapolis again.
Saturday, when most slept in, I met up with my boyfriend and we checked out the Woodley Park Zoo in the morning. It was a lot of fun, and there were so many animals and exhibits there. We, later, visited the National Museum of Natural History, which is a personal favorite! There is so much to look at and do in this museum that you could spend a whole day there! That night I met up with the rest of the Capital Scholars and we visited the National Mall at night which was an indescribable sight to see. We checked out the Lincoln Memorial first, then the World War II one and took pictures by the Arizona Memorial, and lastly saw the Washington Monument. It was all so stunning, and I am constantly taken aback that I actually am blessed enough to intern in this fabulous city.
Sunday, after sleeping in, Aundrea, Suzette, and I went to St. Augustine’s, a black Catholic Church, which was a lot of fun! While it still had the same basic Catholic elements, it had a gospel choir as well. Also, while Masses are usually only an hour long, this one lasted over two hours, due to baptisms, a full church, and the priest’s long homily. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my time and loved the community feel. The rest of the day was spent doing necessary chores, like mapping out and trying out the metro to my internship, going grocery shopping, and doing laundry.
Monday, I was full of nervousness and excitement, so naturally I decided I couldn’t go wrong with a pantsuit and wore it with confidence. I quickly learned how religious this organization was, at the Family Research Council, with starting off each morning with a prayer or scripture discussion. While I did not mind it, it was rather interesting as I had never experienced that in a workplace environment before. I went through basic orientation stuff, was led around the building to meet all of the researchers and professional permanent staff, as well as the interns. It was super exciting when I received my own security card with a clip that I could attach to my pants or skirt. I felt so official as it was needed to enter the building and even go floor to floor in the elevators. I was also surprisingly led around the block and had my lunch paid for, which was nice and unexpected. My boss, Marcus, bought us Cava, a Mediterranean version of Chipotle, which was different but pretty good. We took a big group picture with all of the interns this first day too. It was almost like they had waited for me to arrive so as to take this picture. In the afternoon, I was given an assignment from my more immediate director, Matt, and got started on it right away. While it was all so overwhelming and excited, I could not wait to get started! As I was not informed as to my end time exactly, I accidentally stayed an extra hour the first day, but I think I’ll plan on staying an extra twenty to thirty minutes everyday and see if my bosses need me to do anything else for them. I ended the day running to and around Meridian Park once I reached it, which was a beautiful facility in the middle of the city. It felt good to work out and find a cute place to run around at. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one thinking that as there were plenty of people around, picnicking, running, and hanging out.
Tuesday, was more of the same as the previous day, but we had a speaker come in and talk to us during our “Careers and Callings” weekly lunch meeting with the interns. We talked over pizza with Michael Carowitz, the Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). His career path was interesting as he originally worked in politics, with Ronald Reagan’s Administration, but now works for the FCC. There are some drawbacks that I am originally noticing in this internship, however. First of all, most of the interns have already been working there for three weeks already, so it has been hard being “the new kid.” Secondly, to make matters worse, they ran out of cubbies on the sixth floor where all the interns are, so I have my own cubbie on the fifth floor near my immediate supervisor, Matt, and some professional, permanent staff. While I may be able to focus more on my work being by myself, I do feel a bit secluded, although most everyone has been exceptionally nice to me. As far as the work goes, I have been struggling a little bit with the political report I am working on. I have been assigned to analyze a piece of Virginia legislation and thought I was on the right track, but when I showed it to Matt, he marked it all up with red pen. So, I was a bit disappointed that I have to redo my work tomorrow. Thus, I loved meeting up with my fellow Capital Scholar friends at the end of the day for the reception with other alumns at the ASU/ DC Center. This was another great opportunity provided by the Capital Scholars Program where I got to meet more people to network with, and received another business card.
After the extensive detail of this past week and first few days of my internship, I am looking forward to having a great time, making great friends, keeping busy and adventuring in this city, and learning a lot with my internship, and making connections. I think a key motto throughout this Program and now internship is: “How much can you do in one day?!” I hope to end the summer with a nice group of friends, both with my Capital Scholars, as well as with my fellow interns, and am quickly realizing this motto definitely proves true. Also, I plan on visiting most, if not all, museums, and taking advantage of all of the free activities here in D.C. Lastly, and most importantly, I plan on learning quite a bit through my internship as a Government Affairs and Policy Intern for the Family Research Council. I am already doing work that I had never done before, with the Political Report, and I hope to keep learning more. Along with expanding my knowledge, I hope to leave this summer with an expanded network of connections if I were to return to D.C. Already, I have made countless connections and received several business cards, so I desire to remain in contact with them, or at least, most importantly, those formed through my internship.
Lastly, I learned a substantial amount this past week and few days. I learned both physically with my way around, as well as mentally. I learned how to use the metro and about uberpool, and how a lot of people uber or lyft out here. Mentally, I learned a lot of networking skills and how anyone you talk to could be a connection, from your uber driver to the person riding next to you on the metro. It is always important to engage in these kinds of conversations. Furthermore, I realized the importance of handwritten “thank you” letters, as Ms. Grant made sure we thanked all of our speakers and alumn that came and talked to us, as well as our speaker from the FCC touched on it, as well within the Family Research Council we wrote “thank you” letters to our guest speaker. In general, social skills are of the utmost importance here in the city. For the most part, everyone that we have encountered as Capital Scholars has been very nice and helpful, with directions and finding places, as well as offering advice and suggesting they assist with our future professional careers. This leads me to conclude how excited I am for this summer internship opportunity to work in the great city of D.C. and how I am looking forward to learning so much more.
Thanks for reading,