Museums, Monuments, and Memorials

While I must agree that taxpayer dollars are not always used in the most beneficial ways, the one thing I would never oppose coming out of the check I get at the end of every week of my unpaid internship (jokes) is the funding to light up the National Mall every night. The Mall is everything that represents why the US of A lets freedom ring on a daily basis. If the weather were to not to be growing colder with every passing day, I would spend every night watching the sun go down behind Pentagon City and the Lincoln Memorial. The Reflecting Pool that covers the area between the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial takes in the light of the setting sun and displays a mirror image of the sky at dusk. This may be a shock to some of the residents of IV, but the DC sunsets definitely rival your polluted Instagram feeds of cotton candy colored skies. And while on the subject of IV, I’m starting to deeply miss Hana Kitchen and Kaptain’s Mac… and my friends, I guess I miss you guys too. Hi Everyone!

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A review on the museums, monuments, and memorials I have spent time at thus far:

The Newseum: Located on Pennsylvania Avenue right across from the National Archives. If you have the time, and are willing to pay upwards of $10-15 then definitely go check it out. I was lucky enough to go in for free with my class, Media and Politics (which is one of the most interesting classes I’ve ever taken and I highly suggest it if you are studying at UCDC), but if you are not in the class ask for a student discount and it will take the $20 ticket down by half. The Pulitzer Prize winning hall of photographs was both moving and amazing. Everything in that hall is iconic, and you would be surprised at how many photos you automatically recognize. There is a small theater with a short film on the press coverage of 9/11 (be prepared to cry) with a beautiful dedication to those we lost that day. There are also halls of old newspapers ranging from anything having to do with Buffalo Bill and the Wild West to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Also displayed are portions of the Berlin Wall and an exhibit of the dogs of the First Families throughout the years (my roommate and I were quite upset Barney Bush was not featured since he is one of the most legendary). Located on the sixth floor is also a patio that gives a good Insta opportunity of the Capitol building.Rachael and friend at newseum

*Also speaking of student discounts, my newly learned advice from this week is to ask for a student discount whenever and wherever you go. DC loves its students and there is never harm in asking*

The Natural History Museum (Smithsonian): Located on the National Mall, this museum is one of the most interesting of the Smithsonians. While I did not spend crazy amounts of time in the animal exhibits, because who wants to see stuffed animals when you can go to the National Zoo (also a Smithsonian) that is right on the other side of town, I did spend a lot of time in the gemstone and ancient artifacts exhibits. The Hope Diamond resides in this museum and it is beyond worth it to check it out. There are also exhibits of ancient Egyptian mummies and relics as well as a walk through butterfly exhibit.

National Mall Monuments: Walk the Mall! It takes about 2.5-3 hours so wear comfortable shoes. The best way I found to do it was to take the Metro to the Smithsonian stop and walk through the middle of the Mall itself, hang right to check out the Vietnam Memorial, go back towards Lincoln, head through the Korean War Memorial, and walk around the Tidal Basin passing through the MLK, FDR, and Jefferson Monuments, ending back on the other side walking past the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and the Washington Monument and heading back towards the White House which is only a few blocks away from the Washington Center.

Washington Monument – Go to the top. While I have yet to be to the top of this towering obelisk this trip because my office is scheduled for the National Interior Monuments tour later in November, I have been up to the top before and it is one of the best sites of DC.

World War II Memorial – One of the most well thought out memorials on the Mall. The design has both Atlantic and Pacific towers on either side as well as pillars for each of the 50 states including territories and districts. There are scriptures on the walls surrounding a fountain in the middle and on one side of the wall there are hundreds of gold stars that represent hundreds of thousands of soldiers who fought in WWII. There are engravings of all the battles surrounding the smaller fountains on each side as well as massive statues in each of the Atlantic and Pacific towers. Take the time to read the scriptures on the walls, and take a tissue *commence feels*.

Lincoln Memorial – I would also take the time to read the engravings on the walls inside the Lincoln Memorial. They consist of some of his most famous speeches including the Gettysburg Address. After you stand in awe at the statue of the man, the myth, the Lincoln himself and get your snap chats out to everyone in your contact list that is sick of your snaps of iconic places around DC, take a seat on the steps of the monument and people watch. While I was there I saw a pre-law fraternity give their pledge oaths and many a type of people from all over the world come through the pillars of the memorial of America’s favorite top hat wearing, slavery abolishing president.

War Memorials – Both the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials are also worth checking out. I advise seeing both of these during the day though if possible. By the time I got around to them on my night time stroll, they were dark and hard to read the inscriptions.

MLK Jr. and FDR Memorial – These both lie on the edge of the Tidal Basin. I was surprised at how amazing the MLK Jr. Memorial was because I feel like it is one of the least talked about, but it was one of the most impressive in my opinion. They managed to carve him out of stone with some of his most famous quotes of hope and aspirations for civil rights into the walls surrounding him. The FDR Memorial is further on your way to the Jefferson Memorial and is worth stopping by. It is a longer maze sort of structure and the builders even gave shout outs to his dog Fala and wife Eleanor, both part of the A team during the Roosevelt Administration.

AND FINALLY the Jefferson Memorial – Positioned on the furthest side of the Tidal Basin possible, bordering Virginia, the Jefferson Memorial is a structure like that to the National Archives. It is a dedication to one of our country’s Founding Fathers and is an architectural feat. Quick warning, if you go there at night you are bound to see red foxes on the side of the basin as well as cruising around the Jefferson Memorial. While they are cute enough to pet, I’m sure they have rabies or something so let them do their thing and be on your way.

Till next time,


My One Month Anniversary in DC

Hello again,

I honestly can’t believe how fast time is passing. Its officially been one month since I’ve arrived and I’m having the time of my life to say the least. I am really learning a lot at my internship and have had the chance to get a real feel and I can really say that I love it. I’m gaining a lot of hands on experience and enjoy the professional yet friendly work environment. The attorneys in the office really work as a team and have made me as well as the other interns really feel like we are a part of that team.

As with everywhere else in the nation it is prime time for Midterm election campaigning and of course it hits DC in a big way. Because I work for the district’s Attorney General and this is the first year they are not going to have a mayoral appointment I was fortunate enough to sit in on a closed panel and meet all of the candidates running for the position.

Last week I had the chance to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was one of the most humbling and somber experiences I’ve had in a long time. It’s a really beautiful museum with a multitude of exhibits that definitely requires a half of day to be able to take in and see everything. I would personally dedicate a day to each museum especially the ones that are a part of the Smithsonian Institute and other free ones.Photo 1

Here are some of my first month tips and tricks:

* Always have an umbrella! Rain is frequent and varies between a light sprinkle to a very heavy pour.

* READ, READ, READ! There are signs and posters and flyers everywhere. Reading could be the difference from getting on the wrong train, walking down the wrong street, and ending up in a completely different neighborhood or missing out on a great opportunity.

* Talk to people. You’ll often be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make connections and gain new friends!

* Have fun! Work life balance becomes important. Besides work and school there are so many things to do at any moment. Plan ahead but also be flexible and accept on the spot invitations.


From Sea to Shining Sea: The Big Move Across the Country

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Hello all! My name is Rachael and I will be blogging for UCDC during Fall 2014! I am an Orange County native and am currently in my 4th year at the beautiful UC Santa Barbara. Go Gauchos! During my time here I will be interning on Capitol Hill with one of our distinguished California senators.

If there is one thing I have learned since I moved to DC, it would have to be to take photo 4advantage of everything that is available to you. In the few short weeks I have been here I have been in the same church as Supreme Court justices, met THE archivist of the National Archives, and witnessed streets shut down just for the Obama brigade to make its way from one side of town to the other. The Washington Center also puts on Monday night forums where some of the most innovative political minds speak. So far these have included the Rock the Vote President, Ashley Spillane, and even the center’s very own Marc Sandalow, a renowned journalist with a passion for media scandals and everything interesting in the world of writing. In a couple of weeks, the center is even hosting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg! And if the speakers are not enough of a catch, there is free food at the forums… and for someone who struggles to buy anything but ramen and frozen dinners at the Safeway and Trader Joes just down the block, this is quite a big deal.

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I must say, the east coast is very different from the west coast, but in many of the best ways possible. I’m not sick of wearing heels to work yet and I have become accustomed to the business professional vibe at happy hour. The people are beyond welcoming; big shout out to the guy at the Farragut North Metro Station who helped me for 20 minutes figure out how to get from point A to point B. I swear this only happened once though. Now I’m helping people master the DC underground. I’m looking forward to experiencing a real Fall season for once in my life and can’t wait to discover the rest of the city.

Here’s a comprehensive list of my dos and don’ts of DC thus far:

DO: Get an Ethernet cord. The Internet in the Washington Center is equivalent to that of the dorms freshmen year… need I say more.

DO: Stand on the right side of the escalators while going up and walk on the left side.

DO: Go to happy hour! If you’re 21, that is. Happy hour is the heart of DC’s favorite past time, networking, and a beer after an 8-5 shift is a gift from above.

DO: Register your metro card! If you lose it then you can cancel it like a credit card and no harm done.

DO: Look both ways before you cross the street. The taxis will not stop but DC is a culture full of J walkers and you won’t get a ticket for it.

DON’T: Expect your supervisor to understand your needs as an intern. Let them know what you want to learn and be vocal, without being annoying, about how work is going.

DON’T: Miss out on walking tours that start at the Washington Center! There are night walks of the monuments and even a cupcake tour of Georgetown’s famous cupcake spots. My personal favorite is Baked and Wired.

DON’T: Forget to call your family and friends back home. They miss you just as much as you miss them and talking to them can help with the big move 3000 miles away.

XOXO, Gossip Rach

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Week 1: Olamide

Hello, my name is Olamide Oladipupo and I am currently a graduating senior enjoying my final quarter of undergrad in Washington, D.C.  While I’ve only been here a little more than a week and a half I am definitely in love! There are so many things to do and see all the time. I will admit at first I was quite overwhelmed by the newness of it all but once I realized that I had already lived on my own for four years I was able to get over the initial shock of it all.

Photo 1When I arrived I was lucky enough to get in early on Sunday, which gave me time to unpack and get settled and make a run to Target for bedding! I had the chance to do some exploring as well as take the time to map my route and time it would take to get to my internship before my actual start date, which wasn’t until Thursday. I had time to go see the monuments and memorials and familiarize myself with the Metro (public transportation system). I took my time exploring the downtown neighborhood that the center is located in and tried to familiarize myself with the new city.Photo 2

So far I’ve been really enjoying my internship at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. I am interning in the Civil Litigation Division and work with three attorneys directly. Two of them represent the DC School District and the other focuses on other civil claims that occur between the district and other parties. I’ve learned so much during my short time here. On my very first day I was able to go to superior court for a hearing. I’ve got to read over cases that are in progress between the District and other parties and see the play out of the entire process from a complaint to trial all within the first week (which I’ve been informed is very unusual). On a daily basis I usually assist my lawyers with slightly less glamorous work such as redacting classified information from documents and copying documents to put together exhibits. However I hardly ever find myself bored as my assigned lawyers as well as others in the office try to make the day to day as interactive as possible and often invite me and other interns along even for somewhat menial tasks. Everyone is so nice and share lots of information about law school and any other useful things they may have come across. They also encourage questions and will take the time to explain things in layman’s terms to ensure that we understand. Needless to say I am greatly enjoying my time in DC so far and please feel to contact me with any questions :) Looking forward to keeping you updated!

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Guest Blog: Molly

**We asked a past UCDC participant, Molly, to write a bit about her experiences in D.C. and share a few pictures. You may read her blog entry below! Molly has also made herself available to anyone with questions about the program. If you would like to speak with her, please contact the UCSB UCDC office.**


“A view of the city from the Kennedy Center”

For those of you reading this, my name is Molly Highman. I participated in the UCDC program in Fall 2013 and interned at the Embassy of Australia in the Education, Science, and Technology Office.

On a daily basis at my internship, I conducted research, worked on briefs, communicated with individuals and organizations, and attended meetings and events with my supervisors around Washington, D.C. The majority of my colleagues were Australian nationals, so I had the privilege of learning a tremendous amount about Australia, as well as seeing the United States from a different perspective.

Washington, D.C. presented one surreal experience after another. At the Embassy, I met the Ambassador of Australia to the United States Kim Beazley, Australian Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. Additionally, I had the privilege of hearing Secretary of State John Kerry speak at the State Department, posing a question to former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, and attending UCDC Center discussions with influential speakers such as Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

During my stay in Washington, D.C., deadlock in Congress (just two miles away from the UCDC Study Center) led to the government shutdown. Although it was frustrating to see and experience the ramifications of this impasse (closed national monuments, cancelled meetings at the Embassy, and the temporary lay-offs of fellow students who were interning at government offices and government-funded organizations), the shutdown forced me to more fully realize the ripple effects of government decisions (or in this case, indecisions) and encouraged me to take more responsibility for actively shaping government.

Without a doubt, I would recommend that all UC students consider the program. There is so much that American students can learn about the United States from just a few months in the capital!

Here are two pieces of advice I would offer to anyone considering the UCDC program:

  1. Consider participating in the UCDC program in fall. The fall color is beautiful and unlike anything you will find at UCSB!
  2. Take advantage of the field trips sponsored by UCDC. I am so glad that I was able to see Philadelphia and Gettysburg as part of UCDC and it would have been much more expensive to go on my own.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program that I can answer. You can also stop by the UCDC office on campus at 2110 North Hall to speak with program staff. 


“Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”

Guest Blog: Eden

Hi everyone!

My name is Eden; I am a UCSB and UCDC alumna and former peer advisor for the program. I am currently working in the UCDC office, as well as in Visitor Services at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. McKenna (current UCDC Peer Advisor) and I are writing guest blogs to provide further insight into the program, tell some fun stories, and share how UCDC transformed our career paths.

I participated in the program in Spring 2013 and interned for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s (NPG) Office of Collections, Information, and Research within the Catalog of American Portraits. Every day I had the privilege of answering the public’s research requests, updating and creating records of over 200 portraits owned or cataloged by the NPG, writing blogs for the NPG’s website, fact-checking, performing gallery checks before the museum opened, and many other tasks. The highlight of my internship was traveling to Virginia with one of my supervisors to assess a private Elvis Presley collection. I am more than happy to discuss my internship in depth with anyone interested in interning with the National Portrait Gallery while participating in UCDC. It is a wonderful institution to work with, and I highly recommend it to history and art history majors or minors. Here are a few of my favorite works from the NPG database and museum:


Morris K. Jesup, oil on canvas by Daniel Huntington, 1896. This is an example of the many portraits I was able to work with on the NPG database. I believe this portrait of Jesup should win some sort of “Best Facial Hair Award.” Image from the New York State Museum (

dd Buffalo Milk Yogurt by Jennifer Levonian, digital video/animation (6:46 minutes), 2010 (image from This was the runner-up of the 2013 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and one of my favorite portraits in the museum. I love this portrait not only for its humor, but because it demonstrates that the category “portrait” is much more dynamic than one usually assumes it to be. Here is a short interview with the artist explaining her inspiration, process, and the plot of the portrait:

With regard to the UCDC experience overall, I am often asked for tips or things I wish I had known before living in D.C. My usual answers: 1) Journal! You will be doing many exciting things during your time in D.C., and you want to remember as much of it as possible. I recommend the secure online journal website It is accessible on any computer with internet connection and you are able to attach photos directly to your journal. 2) Get a metro card. It is cheaper than buying a new ticket every metro ride, it is easily reloadable, you can register it in your name online in case of loss or theft, and I believe you save money when you purchase it in comparison to the paper tickets. 3) Bring an umbrella everywhere you go. This may not apply to all quarters, but I highly recommend it at least for spring participants. I would go into work in the morning on a sunny day with clear skies, and leave the building to get lunch faced with rain three hours later. D.C. definitely does not have California’s climate. 4) On any escalator – walk on the left, stand on the right. You’ll thank me later. 5) Go to the Center forums! You receive a free meal (always a plus) and you have the opportunity to hear and potentially meet highly influential figures. Some of the forums while I participated included the Director of the Food and Water Watch, President Bush’s speech writer, Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Participating in this internship program was the highlight of my undergraduate career, and allowed me to approach my post-graduation plans with more confidence. I highly recommend it to every student I speak with, and to those who are currently in the program – make the most of it!

– Eden                                                                                                                                      891838_4456301215138_1599130730_oP.S. Check out our Pinterest! It is loaded with tips and ideas for sightseeing, securing an internship, places to eat in D.C., and more!


Ashley – Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

It has pretty much been officially a month since arriving in DC, which is crazy to even think about.  Just a month ago I was finishing up finals and worrying about how life in DC would be.  And now just one month later, I’m strutting to work each day and worrying about how bittersweet it’ll be when I have to leave.

But this post isn’t about the sadness of departure; it’s about the number of new and exciting things I’ve done in my month here!  Of course I can’t condense all of my experiences here, so I’ll just highlight some of the major ones:

Georgetown:  Repeat after me: “Baked and Wired”.  These are the only words you ever need to know if you’re venturing out into Georgetown.  From the amazing taste to the hilariously witty cupcake names (that are slightly embarrassing to order), Baked and Wired has everything I’ve always wanted and more in a cupcake shop.  But when I’m not shoving cupcakes down my throat, I’m exploring the other interesting parts of Georgetown.  Just this past Sunday, my housemates and I visited a small flea market where people were selling a ton of cool things.  There were comic books, handmade bracelets, old knickknacks, and more.  I didn’t buy anything, but I’ll definitely have to go back another week and look some more.  Georgetown is a great place to just hang out; there’s a bunch of different stores and restaurants (and an awesome gelato place, but I won’t get started on food again).


Happy 4th:  I was excited to celebrate a very American Fourth of July this year by Snapchatting my red, white, and blue outfit and watching the fireworks at the National Mall.  The sheer number of people all sitting out near the Washington Monument was overwhelming, but I loved being a part of it.  We waited almost two hours to see the show, waving around small flags and enjoying the festive anticipation.  Then finally, dramatic fireworks and flashes of thousands of smartphones illuminated the night sky.  Completely worth the wait and the memories.

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Philadelphia: A couple of weekends ago, UCDC took a group of us students on a day trip to Philadelphia (Note: If you’re planning on doing UCDC, definitely sign up for a couple of planned events).  We piled into the bus at 7am and watched Catching Fire as we drove the three hours to Philly.  The day pretty much consisted of a three hour walking tour of historical landmarks the city is known for.  Our tour guide was a sassy older woman dressed in colonial garb who made sure to tell us that the Betsy Ross house was more than likely not where Ross actually lived.  We made our way to a couple different churches, past Benjamin Franklin’s grave, and through Independence Hall.  It was great seeing these places that have such a huge stamp in American History, but it did get really tiring by late afternoon.  There was a major highlight of the day though: Reading Terminal Market.  It’s basically a huge indoor market where you can buy any type of food imaginable: pickles, Thai food, Philly Cheesesteak, Pasta, Fish, Candy, Donuts, Cookies, Fudge, and the list goes on.  Leaving was the hardest part, just after choosing what I actually wanted to eat.  I doubt I’ll go back any time soon, but I’ll probably visit in my dreams.



20140628_145812                                                       Independence Hall

There’s still so much to do here, and I only have about a month and a half left to do what I can.  Unfortunately that means I can’t always spend the weekends snoozing until 4pm and camping in front of the computer, but it’s definitely worth it.

Tip #2: When you meet the Senator of Hawaii, try to be a little less awkward than you usually are (oops).