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.

Olamide

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.**

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“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. 

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“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:

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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 (https://www.nysm.nysed.gov/research_collections/collections/history/nycc/preview/H-2003.41.7_huntington_jesup.html).

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http://vimeo.com/62949306. Buffalo Milk Yogurt by Jennifer Levonian, digital video/animation (6:46 minutes), 2010 (image from npg.si.edu). 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI6MNiJr9vo.

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 Penzu.com. 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! http://www.pinterest.com/ucdcp/

 

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).

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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.

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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).

-Ash

 

Debora – Sunday, June 29. Week 2

Today started really slowly, as I didn’t wake up until 1:30 in the afternoon. But soon after that, I made plans with my friend Ahva to go over to the pool at her apartment. Despite a persisting feeling of laziness, I got myself to get up and go. And I’m so glad I went, because I got to enjoy my first dip in a pool in DC, in a really nice pool on a rooftop. The weather was also perfect to jump in the water!

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After that, my friend invited me to come to this concert that she and her friend had registered for a few weeks ago. Although attendees technically had to register/RSVP ahead of time, we decided to give it a shot anyway. So we got there, and to our relief, they were handing out extra tickets right before the show. All we had to do was wait (So even if you didn’t get to RSVP for an event ahead of time, just go! At least you’ll enjoy visiting the facility and maybe even meeting some people along the way).

IMG_0955So then we go inside (We’re at the Kennedy Center!), take some nice seats up front, and start reading through the program brochure: “Inside NK presents: Freedom-less North Korea, by The Ahn Trio.” Okay—so I’d done lots of work and research on North Korea last summer, also because of personal interests and passions, but partly because of my Korean-American Coalition internship. Thus naturally, seeing familiar words and themes, I was anticipating the event. Another reason for why I was so excited was that the set list seemed to feature a variety of styles of music, so I knew it wouldn’t be a slow classical concert.

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Needless to say, the concert was amazing! Albeit there were some rather eerie-sounding, abstract parts/songs, overall, The Ahn Trio gave an amazing performance. My favorite was their tango piece Primavera Porteña, by Astor Piazzolla. You can say I was sitting at the edge of my seat from the beginning to end of that piece.

However, the BEST part of that night: meeting Shin Dong-Hyuk, the North Korean defector who was born in Camp 14, one of the most notorious political prison camps, and miraculously (literally) escaped the heavily secured and guarded slave camp. He is the subject of New York Time’s bestselling biography, Escape from Camp 14, written by Blaine Harden (former Washington Post journalist). I read the book last summer, and was utterly shocked by the details and attributes of the North Korean prison camp life.

During the initial introductions, speakers continuously mentioned Mr. Shin’s name as if he were present at the theater. So during intermission, I eyed the front rows—and found him!! I got to talk and take pictures with him, and get his signature (yes, his signature!). Here’s the picture I took with him! (Definitely not the most flattering picture of me, but just pay attention to Shin Dong-Hyuk! ^__^ )

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Despite his history and horrible life experiences, Mr. Shin was very kind and polite. All in all, today was certainly an unforgettable day and experience. Hoping for more days like this, good-bye.

Note: There is a site called “linktank.com” which lists multiple events, including networking and free concerts, in the DC area. That is how my friend found the concert, and I was able to go. So make sure to check the site often, for you never know who you might meet :)