Week 8: The Shining City

The Washington Monument (by far my favorite monument to look at)

I’m not going to lie, I have been dreading writing this post, my final post (about my experience in DC). In all honesty, I think I was just really dreading the end of my time in DC. All week, I was wondering what words I would use to sum up my summer, to describe the experiences I had, the people I met, the opportunities given to me. And I failed to come up with any words that would fully and accurately convey what this summer meant to me.

While I struggled to find words of my own, quotes from two of the most influential men in our nation’s history kept coming to mind. The first is from John Winthrop who was a leading figure in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and later a governor in the 1600s. As he led the first large wave of immigrants from England to America, Winthrop stated “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”

The second quote comes from President Ronald Reagan, which he spoke at his 1988 State of the Union Address:

“It means, too, that the young Americans I spoke of 7 years ago, as well as those who might be coming along the Virginia or Maryland shores this night and seeing for the first time the lights of this Capital City–the lights that cast their glow on our great halls of government and the monuments to the memory of our great men–it means those young Americans will find a city of hope in a land that is free. We can be proud that for them and for us, those lights along the Potomac are still seen this night signaling as they have for nearly two centuries and as we pray God they always will, that another generation of Americans has protected and passed on lovingly this place called America, this shining city on a hill, this government of, by, and for the people.”

President Ronald Reagan
Natasha, myself, and Joe on our final night in DC at the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background

Both of these men, centuries apart, referred to our nation with the same sense of awe and hopefulness. As I reflected on these quotes, I wondered to myself, “is America still the shining city upon a hill? Are we still the country that all eyes look upon? And if we are, is that for reasons of which we should be proud? Do we as a nation, and others, still look toward the U.S. with the same awe and hope that Winthrop and Reagan once did?” I am sitting here today, in the kitchen of my sister’s home in Minnesota, typing this entry as our country reels from yet another set of mass shootings. I watch my little sister and young niece playing, beautifully innocent and not knowing of the devastation that many are suffering at this very moment. Are we really passing this nation on, lovingly, to the younger generation of Americans? The key word there is “lovingly.”

Since that day in 1988, we forgot somewhere along the way about that key word that Reagan had hoped we would always remember. With every mass-shooting, every act of hatred and discrimination, it becomes harder and harder to believe that love prevails. But despite this hardship, it is now more important than ever to remember love trumps hate and light will always shine through darkness. The United States is still indeed the shining city upon the hill, and the eyes of all people are still upon us. That is why we must go forward in careful consciousness and be mindful of the image and values we project into the world. We must pass along the America that John Winthrop envisioned and that Ronald Reagan believed in, lovingly to the next generation of young Americans.

2019 Leadership and the American Presidency graduates

Now, you might be wondering why I felt the need to talk about John Winthrop and Ronald Reagan to summarize my experience in the nation’s capital. All summer, at every lecture, site visit, class meeting, etc. there was a central theme focused on the division of our country today, the polarization between the right and left, and our country’s inability to find solutions. The young people of America know that this is not the America we were promised. We know that we can and must be better. That is why I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the Leadership and the American Presidency program co-sponsored by The Fund for American Studies and the Ronald Reagan Institute. It allowed us the chance to bridge the divide between political lines, to learn from one another, and to ponder solutions to the most prominent issues facing our country today. I am happy to report that there is hope. There is a bright future that involves both sides of the aisle coming together. Some may think I sound like a naive democrat, but that’s okay because one day soon my peers and I will be the leaders of this great country, and with every young generation that comes up, we will be better at fulfilling the visions of John Winthrop and Ronald Reagan.

I know this wasn’t the typical weekly update and I didn’t really summarize the last week in DC, but scroll to the bottom for some pictures that summarize better than my words could have!

I want to thank all the staff and faculty at The Fund for American Studies and the Ronald Reagan Institute for an incredible summer. Through so many enriching experiences, I had the opportunity to learn from amazing professionals and leaders, dip my toe into the nonprofit sector, be mentored by amazing and passionate people, debate and have peaceful discourse, see some the greatest monuments and artifacts of our nation’s history and, most of all, learn more about myself. I also want to thank my amazing school, Eureka College and the Sandifer Mentorship for making this experience possible. Thank you to all the staff and faculty that supported and encouraged me throughout this whole process. And thank you to everyone that followed along on this journey, either reading my weekly blog or texting me for updates–it was greatly appreciated! Most of all, the biggest thank you goes to my wonderful family and friends. They are the support system who always encourage me to take the biggest leaps of faith, that never tell me my dreams are too big, that always encourage me to go even when I haven’t been home for months, and who always pick me up. I’m one very blessed gal.

Natasha and I at the Sculpture Garden (technically not from the last week but I love this picture and wanted to share it)
LTAP Farewell Dinner hosted by the Ronald Reagan Institute–we heard from Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration
just a picture of me feeling professional in my business attire
Former Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration, Heh Johnson at the RRI LTAP Farewell Dinner
My favorite sign from the ESC office (it’s a WeWork office space)
Good ole Ron and Abe also at the WeWork office space (i was very sad to leave so took pictures of every wall)
Myself, Joseph, Barbara, Joe, and Natasha at the RRI LTAP Farewell Dinner
Myself, Kimberly, and Meredith from the RRI at the TFAS Closing Ceremony
My final goodbye to my man Abe

My weekly blog posts may be over, but keep an eye out for some updates in the future. I have a feeling some exciting things are about to happen.

Week 7: It’s almost over

U.S. Capitol Rotunda (center of the Capitol Building on the second floor ~ features 4 Revolutionary period scenes)

Woah, week 7 is over and I have one more week to go before I leave DC. This summer has flown by so quickly and these last 7 weeks have felt like they went by in the blink of an eye.

This week was busy, just like the others. I am in moving full speed ahead at the internship attempting to complete the last of my projects before I leave. I know I have said this many times, but I am truly grateful for my experience at the ESC. I have learned so much about the organization, non-profits, and have gotten a good look into the kind of career I hope to have.

On Tuesday, I attended a Capitol Hill Briefing at (you guessed it) Capitol Hill. TFAS arranged the opportunity for students to go inside the House Chamber and hear from Congressmen David Rouzer (R-NC 7th District), who is an alumni of TFAS as well. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the chamber, but it was a very surreal experience to be sitting in the same seats as many of our nation’s leaders. Even walking through the Capitol was captivating, we walked past Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s offices and it is hard to believe that so many people I admire walk the same halls.

The ceiling of the Capitol Rotunda featuring the painting “The Apotheosis of Washington”

On Thursday, the ESC arranged for the interns and staff to have a lunch with some members of the Board of Directors. It was really exciting to have conversations with the board members and share with them the work we have been doing at the ESC. I’ll say it again, I love the Endangered Species Coalition!!!

Friday was probably the busiest day of the week. We had out Leadership and the American Presidency class all morning and we were presenting our group projects on different events in American History that related to the role of the American presidency. After class, I got coffee (which everyone tells you is the best thing to do in DC) with a coworker from the ESC–he gave me advice on grad school, working on the hill, nonprofit, etc. and shared a bit about his career path. I’ve been really grateful to hear from so many people this summer about their career paths and how they have gotten to where they are now. It is very reassuring to hear that (almost) no one has any idea what they want to do for the rest of their life at 21 years old.

Following this coffee meeting, I made my way to the American Enterprise Institute office for another coffee meeting (again, always take the coffee) with the Senior Talent Development Manager who is also an alum of TFAS. I had networked with her at a previous TFAS seminar (on networking) and took her up on her offer to review my resume. Again, this was a really great opportunity and I learned so much.

Finally, it was the weekend and I had the chance to go spend a couple hours with my friend Capri, who I met while I was abroad in Spain. It has been really nice to have someone so close this summer that I can talk to (without annoying) about Spain and understands reverse-culture shock. Quick plug for studying abroad: DO IT! You make friends from all over and open up your world so much!!!!

Josh, myself, and Natasha loving the Mammals exhibit at the Museum of Natural History

On Saturday, Natasha, Josh and I went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I’ll admit it, I am a museum nerd, I love them and I love natural history museums. One of my favorite things about being in DC has been having the opportunity to go to so many different museums (they are free!!). This one was probably my favorite because there was so many different kinds of exhibits and we had a blast exploring around.

Art display of the ocean using materials found littering the oceans (TAKE CARE OF OUR WATERS, THEY’RE SO PRETTY)

Natasha and I ended the weekend going to Eastern Market, a huge street market with amazing, unique vendors in a really cool part of DC. We sampled some peaches, bought matching bracelets, and ate some delicious Thai food. Finally, we went on a hunt for ice cream with our friend Joe and fought through swarms of gnats to show him the monuments at night for his first time.

do it

That is it for week 7! I want to say thank you to everyone who has followed along on my journey this summer. I have one more week (and one more blog post). I am sad my time in DC is almost over, but am excited for a great last week!

Week 6: Go for the moon

50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing~Washington Monument

Aaaaaand just like that week 6 is over!!! Officially only 2 weeks left here in DC and I am pretty sad that my time in this amazing city is coming to an end. Week 6 was great, busy as usual but full of some really cool experiences!

Throughout the week, I went to my internship and class like normal. My internship has been amazing, I truly love everything I’ve been learning at the ESC and the work I’ve been able to do. I have been getting some more projects to work on and, while that makes it more busy and stressful, I feel really grateful that my supervisors trust me to give me these opportunities.

Monday night was extra special because I got to see some friendly faces from home, Drea, Sarah and Grace Boeringa. These 3 wonderful ladies are some of my favorites and I just so happened to run into them at the Lincoln Memorial while they were in DC for the day. It actually wasn’t that coincidental because Drea told me they were in town that morning and would be seeing the monuments at night, but I still took a chance and last minute decided to take a walk with Josh and see if I would find them (I honestly didn’t think I would!). It was so nice seeing some friendly faces because I haven’t been home for a long period of time for almost the last 6 months and while I love the adventures I have been having, I still miss all my friends and family like crazy! Drea, Sarah and Grace, it was so great seeing you all and I can’t wait to come home for a full catch-up session!!!

Drea, Grace, Sarah and myself at the Lincoln Memorial. I love seeing friends!!

On Thursday morning, I attended a professional development seminar organized by TFAS on landing a job and negotiating. I truly enjoyed this seminar, the speakers were very engaging, informative, and gave great advice about entering the workforce. This seminar provided me with some confidence as I am about to enter my senior year of college and all I think about 90% of the time is what am I going to do after graduation. This whole summer in general has been very beneficial in helping me figure that out and has given me some much needed clarity on what I want for myself post-graduation. Whether that is working in the non-profit sector, public/government sector, traveling/service work or pursuing grad school, I feel confident that I am equipped and prepared for the next chapter.

This past weekend was exhausting! On Friday, the LTAP program travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia for a weekend hosted by the Ronald Reagan Insitute. We left at 7am and spent 2.5 hours on a bus with NO AC!! I may sound dramatic for a second, but I felt like I was literally dying. I’m sure most of you know that this past weekend there was a heat advisory for most of the Midwest and East coast. By 9am, it was already 95 degrees, the sun was blasting through the windows on the bus, and there was no air circulation. It is very safe to say that everyone of us on the bus was miserable. About an hour and a half into the trip we had to pull over at a 7/11 to cool off. I got myself an Icee and some cold waters to keep myself cool for when we got back on the bus. After about 20 minutes, we had to get back on the hot bus to finish the rest of the trip. Finally, we got to UVA and took about 20 minutes to try and look professional and not like we had just gone to the sun.

The rest of the day was spent listening to speakers with the main topic being Polarization in the U.S. today. There were some very interesting conversations and it was really informative to hear professors and other experts talk about the issue of polarization, the differences in political culture between the millennial generation and generations pre-social media/24-hour news cycles.

LTAP-ers taking in the incredible views at Monticello (left to right: Barbara, Joe, Natasha, myself, Josh)

On Saturday, we made the short drive to Monticello, now on a fully air-conditioned bus (PRAISE THE LORD!!!)–the former estate of President Thomas Jefferson. Despite the 100 degree heat, I still really enjoyed this site visit. The estate is beautiful and learning about some of the more quirky facts of Thomas Jefferson was really interesting–he was obsessed with time and a very curious man.

The Washington Monument with a projection of space and the moon

After returning from Monticello on Saturday afternoon (and taking a much needed nap), my friends and I went to the Washington Monument for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing show. The national mall was PACKED, I had never seen it more crowded, not even on the 4th of July. Thousands of people showed up to see the special show displayed on the Washington Monument and surrounding screens of footage from the moon landing back in 1969. This was easily one of my absolute favorite experiences I have had this summer. I honestly shed a tear sitting in the lawn of the national mall watching footage from man’s first time on the moon. It was very emotional to watch in the nation’s capitol of the 50th anniversary. Maybe it was because the moon landing is something that I’ve only grown up learning about in school because I was not alive when it happened, but there is something really beautiful about witnessing the out-of-this-world (literally) achievement by the Untied States of America and all of mankind, even if it was 50 years later. Watching Neil Armstrong step out of Apollo 11 and take the first step on the moon truly represents the humans have the capabilities to use our forever increasing knowledge to do great things.

JFK’s speech on the day that the mission to put man on the moon launched.

Well, that is all for week 6. Heading into week 7 excited and ready to get so much done!!!

Week 5: I’m a (junior) lobbyist

Congressional High School Art Competition featured in the basement of the basement of the House and Senate buildings

That is right, I am a junior lobbyist. Week 5 was by far one my most favorite weeks I’ve had here in D.C. This week at the Endangered Species Coalition, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in and help organize a fly-in. A fly-in is when we fly in members from other organizations/groups and go to capitol hill to lobby on a particular issue. This fly-in was focused on saving the Snake River Salmon and we flew in members of tribal groups from the Northwest region. From Monday to Wednesday everything was focused on finalizing the details of the fly-in and preparing the groups we had flown in. Wednesday was the actual day that we were on The Hill and I got to sit in on so many meetings and meet a couple members of congress as well as go inside the Rayburn, Longworth, Capitol, and Russel Buildings. It was a very long 3 days, but I am so grateful for this incredible experience!

On Wednesday night, TFAS hosted an alumni dinner/networking event so we had the chance to meet a wide range of TFAS alums, some that had completed the program in the 80s and others that had completed it only a couple years ago but are already very successful in their careers. This was also one of my favorite program events that we have had because it was really encouraging to hear all these TFAS alums speak on their experiences in the work force and how TFAS opened so many doors for them. It gave me really great insight into what potential careers I may want to pursue in the future and really made me start thinking about some logical steps I can start taking now and after graduation.

Inscription on the outside of the Holocaust Musuem

On Friday morning, we had a class site visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and it was really impactful. We got to go through the the permanent Holocaust exhibit first and then the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit, both of which did a great job at conveying the heaviness of this tragedy. Something that I felt the museum attempted to do through its exhibits was to challenge visitors to think critically about how all these elements–from politics to economics to racial tensions–led to the Holocaust as well as examine the roles individuals played, either passively or actively. One of the biggest revelations I had was that it was not just the Nazis that contributed to the cruelness, it was so many others (including Americans) that turned a blind eye to the atrocities that were going on. A really big takeaway was the role that fear played–it’s crazy how powerful fear is. It can convince people that acts of inhumanity are okay. It can make them forget their own humanity.

Something that I felt was one of the biggest takeaways was the fact that the Holocaust is still extremely relevant today, even in the U.S. To me, it is so sad that we have done such a poor job at learning from the Holocaust, that the lessons it taught are being so widely ignored today. The inhumanity and prejudice that is shown daily to certain minority groups (even by our president) are sad, wrong, and unjust. Why is it that so many people default to fear when encountering someone/something that is different?

U.S. Botanical Gardens

After a pretty heavy and reflective Friday, I went to the U.S. Botanical Gardens on Saturday with Josh and Ryan. We loved it! We saw so many beautiful and exotic plants, flowers and trees. It was the perfect place to go when we all needed to be reminded of the beauty and goodness in the world.

National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution

Finally, to end the long and busy week, Josh and I went to the National Air and Space Museum, something that has been on my D.C. bucket list since before we arrived! It was really fascinating and we had so much fun!

Week 4: A Very D.C. Fourth of July

Josh, myself and my roommate Natasha on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building at the Capitol Fourth of July Concert

Wow, I can’t believe week 4 is at the end. My time here in D.C. is officially halfway over and it is just so crazy how fast this first month has flown by!

Week 4 was full of fun and celebration because, as you all know, it was Independence Day! It was really exciting to be in the nation’s capitol for the Fourth of July. I had Thursday and Friday off from my internship and the LTAP program also gave all of us students the week off as well to enjoy all the festivities.

The celebrating kicked off on Wednesday night. My friends Natasha, Ryan, and Josh and myself all attempted to see the rehearsal performance for the Capitol Concert, however, after being given some wrong location information, we unfortunately missed it. It was okay, though, because we still got to enjoy a nice walk around the National Mall at sunset, eat some ice cream, and enjoy the nice weather!

Josh, myself, Natasha and Ryan at the Washington Monument

On Thursday, the four of us enjoyed a pancake breakfast (thank you, Josh) before venturing off into the city for all the celebrations. Although we did have tickets to attend President Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial, we decided to head straight for the West Lawn at the Capitol Building so we could be sure not to miss the concert again! We ended up leaving later than we planned and were nervous we wouldn’t even be able to see the stage. However, to our advantage, law enforcement had evacuated the thousands of people who had shown up 6 hours early because of lightning; so, when we arrived at 6pm, we were the first in line and got to sit in the very front of the lawn!

The concert was really cool to experience. John Stamos was the host and performers included the cast of Sesame Street, Keala Settle, Carol King, Vanessa Carlton, Lee Brice, Vanessa Williams, Lindsey Sterling, Angelica Hale and many more. My favorite part was by far seeing Keala Settle perform This Is Me live. I have been obsessed with that song and with Keala since I first saw The Greatest Showman and I honestly had tears in my eyes. It was also really surreal to see Carol King perform live and of course Uncle Jesse made my childhood heart burst with excitement!

John Stamos hosting the Capitol Concert on the Fourth of July (sorry for the poor picture quality)

The rest of the weekend was filled with good food and lots of time relaxing, which will be much needed as we head into the fifth week because it is going to be a big one!

Week 3: Reflection and Congressmen playing baseball (badly)

U.S. Capitol Building

Well week 3 has officially come to an end and, unlike week 2, it was much more calm (thank you, Lord). It was also nice because I got to meet up with my Aunt Ann while she was in town for work and Josh and I got to spend some time with his dad while he was also in town for work (thank you for all the meals! It was very appreciated, especially the steak). I mostly spent this week trying to catch up on some of the work that I did not get to complete because of last week’s craziness for my internship at the Endangered Species Coalition. I am LOVING my experience at the ESC so far. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be working for them this summer. Already only 3 weeks in and I feel like I have learned so much about the organization and the nonprofit sector. I love that I get to work pretty independently, but also have the option to participate in group work, like conference calls about upcoming projects and updates with the field team.

On Tuesday, the LTAP program hosted the first event in a series called Across the Aisle at the Capitol Building. This series gives us the amazing opportunity to listen to senators from (you guessed it) both sides of the aisle (and even the middle of the aisle) speak. This week, we heard Senator Angus King from Maine speak about his career journey and his views on various political topics. I personally think Angus King was the best person to kick off this series with because he perfectly addressed the importance of bipartisanship in politics.

Wednesday night was a VERY fun night because I attended the annual congressional baseball game at Nationals Park and, after finishing my hotdog and only 2 innings into the game, I realized congressmen are not that great at baseball. But it was pretty entertaining to watch their attempts. Unfortunately, the game was going just a little too slow to hold my attention plus my friends and I wanted to get back to campus to watch the first night of the Democratic Debates. For anyone that was looking forward to hearing how the game ended, I did hear that the Democrats won the game 14-7. It was really cool to watch the debates with other young people that are committed to being informed citizens. The best part was that it did not matter what side of the political spectrum you lean towards or what your background is–the main reason we are all here in D.C. participating in this program is to become better, more informed citizens that can participate in civil discourse and exchange ideas about the biggest issues facing our generation and country.

Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park

On Friday we had our third site visit with our LTAP class to Ford’s Theater. I really enjoyed this visit because we spent the morning participating in an oral speaking workshop and got to read excerpts from some of most notable speeches of several presidents. After the workshop, we got to explore the museum and actually go inside the theater. It is a very surreal thing to be in the same room staring at the chair where President Lincoln was assassinated over 150 years ago. It makes you wonder about the the kind of place the United States were in then and where they are now, you would be surprised at some of the similarities you could still find.

View of the Presidential Box in Ford’s Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated

I took advantage of the extra free time this week to reflect a lot on my experience thus far here in D.C. And, honestly, the best way I could describe it is exciting, yet strange. Exciting because, for a political science major like myself, having the opportunity to spend a couple months living in the nation’s capitol is an absolute dream; yet, strange because I am constantly reminding myself that only a little over a month ago I was living on a completely different continent. Now, that might seem like a lot of time, but it is still such strange concept to comprehend. I can tell that the culture shock has not yet hit in full force, perhaps it is because I am still in new surroundings; but, I am constantly very aware of all the differences between my life here in the states and the life I had in Spain. Both equally amazing and full of people I love. I guess what I am trying to say is that life is just so crazy weird–full of exciting, yet strange experiences. One day you are galavanting across Europe on charter busses and the next day you are pushing your way through the crowds at the metro station to get to work on time. The best part about both of these experiences–Spain and D.C.–is that they were both dreams of mine that I never ever would have thought would become realities.

Week 2: This was a crazy one

My second full week here in D.C. has come to an end. Boy was it a crazy week!

Before I begin rattling off about all the craziness that was this week, I’ll begin by giving a run down of what my typical week looks like.

On Mondays, I will be working from my dorm at George Washington University. Tuesdays I go to work 9:30-3:30 and have my required program class, Leadership and the American Presidency, 4:30-7. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I go to work 9:30-5, and on Fridays I have my LTAP class again but these days are reserved to do site visits.

Alright now that you all know what my usual week looks like, I’m going to give a run down of all the unexpected twists that occurred.

I knew this week was going to be a bit more hectic because we had a lot of program events going on. On Monday, I attended a a reception with the White House Fellows and had the opportunity to hear from several of them about their own career and leadership journeys. This talk was really interesting and I really appreciated the opportunity to talk with these very accomplished men and women about their paths and what they have learned from being White House Fellows.

Tuesday. Well that day was actually pretty normal and not much happened so I’ll skip over that, which brings me to Wednesday. This day, I’m not going to lie, made me want to pull my hair out. As I was getting ready for work in the morning, my laptop unexpectedly crashed. Now this is extremely inconvenient because I use my laptop to do all my internship work. I went to work hoping I would be able to get it back on. After about 4 hours of calling my tech wiz brother-in-law (shoutout Jacob) and Apple support, I was able to restore my display to normal, however, my trackpad was then delayed. Finally, I admitted defeat and accepted that I would have to bring my laptop to an Apple store. After trying to spend the rest of the day working on my phone, I booked it to the nearest Apple store and spent over an hour with the nicest worker trying to fix my laptop. Again, we both admitted defeat and decided that it would be best for me to leave my laptop at the store so that they could look at the software and hardware and fix the problem.

Thursday. I woke up this day with a minor case of food poisoning (thank you left over chipotle) and was not able to go into work as planned. However, I did have to rally because I had to attend a seminar at the International Republican Institute followed by an economics workshop. It was really cool to hear about the work that the IRI does and I must say that the economics workshop was probably the first time I understood economics.

Good ole Abe

On Friday, I woke up early to go to President Lincoln’s Cottage here in D.C. with my LTAP class. I really enjoyed this site visit and learning more about Lincoln’s presidency and leadership style. This was followed by a second (3 hour long) economics workshop that resulted in me leaving with a bag of candy and a paper plane so I was honestly pretty content. Later that evening, I had the chance to finally (after about 3 reschedules) to FaceTime my mentor, Emily. We had an amazing conversation about career/life aspirations, traveling, goals for the summer, possible contacts, and just getting to know each other. I feel really blessed to have her as my mentor this summer and to learn all the lessons she has already learned in her own career.

President Lincoln’s Cottage

Although I was still waiting to get my laptop back and was internally panicking the whole weekend about having to potentially pay over $400 to send it off site and get it fixed if no other attempt was so successful (thankfully I did not have to do this), Saturday really turned the whole week around because I spent it with Josh (my boyfriend who is also doing this program) and some new friends exploring Georgetown. We walked along the Potomac River, ate some delicious (but not as good as Chicago) pizza, and some cookie dough. We ended the night by walking along the National Mall to look at all the monuments lit up.

View of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial

And now, we made it to Sunday, I finally have my laptop back and will end the weekend by doing some laundry and watching a movie because I am exhausted!!!

Wait, where do I live now?

After about a week and a half home from a semester in Spain, I geared up for the next adventure–Washington, DC!

Granada in Andalucía of Spain--so blessed I got to call this wonderful city home for 4 months

As most of you know, I spent the past spring semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain. Those 4 months were absolutely incredible and full of enriching experiences. And it is time for an all new adventure and even more enriching experiences! 

After about a week and half home, I packed up again and made my way to Washington, D.C., where I will be spending the summer participating in The Leadership and the American Presidency Internship Program co-sponsored by The Fund for American Studies and the Ronald Reagan Institute. 

I am very excited to be participating in this program and to be spending the summer in DC! Through the program, I will be taking a class a George Washington University and attending seminars, guest lectures, and workshops in addition to working as the Member Group Intern at the Endangered Species Coalition.

I just completed my first full week participating in the program and at the ESC. And boy it has been VERY busy! I’ve already learned so much at the ESC and I really like all my coworkers (bonus: the office building is a shared workspace and there is always free coffee!!). During this first week, I have had the opportunity to meet Congresswoman Katie Hill from the 25th district of Southern California, which was very exciting because Ronald Reagan was also from the 25th district (if y’all didn’t know, Reagan graduated from Eureka College). In addition, we had our first class field trip to visit the estate of President George Washington at Mount Vernon in Virginia. 

World War II Memorial at night with view of the Lincoln Memorial

So far, I am loving my experiences here in DC and I am so excited for the rest of the summer. From conquering the metro system to seeing all the monuments to meeting the leaders of our country, I love everything about this city.