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”

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