20 Reasons to Spend a Semester in D.C.

The reasons to spend a semester in D.C. are too many to count. But here are twenty memorable experiences highlighted by this semester’s students during their first month here in Washington, D.C.:

Connecting with the City

  1. I love how I feel like I am a part of something important everywhere I go.
    • Andrew Ramirez, Olivet Nazarene University
  2. The connectivity in D.C.— with diverse organization and movements— really builds an overall picture of the body of Christ.
    • Sharlene Oong, Messiah College
  3. I knew it was fast-paced, especially in government work…but you don’t really know until you know. That surprised me.
    • Rachel Pelletier, Malone University
  4. I love how much is happening each day in this city.
    • Caleb Mathena, Whitworth University
  5. Being able to witness history in the making.
    • Ashley Fisher, Vanguard University
  6. I love the fast-paced environment here in D.C. It keeps me on my toes!
    • Karina Reyes, Fresno Pacific University

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Getting Around

  1. I love how everything is walking distance; it makes impromptu adventures easier.
    • Debora Timmer, Olivet Nazarene University
  2. I’ve been surprised at how accustomed I’ve gotten to walking. I laugh when I think about how I took an Uber to places that were only a 20 minute walk away!
    • Ashlyn Rollins, Corban University
  3. I was surprised that I didn’t take the wrong bus on the first day of my internship.
    • Rolaine Castro, Fresno Pacific University

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Favorite Things to Do & See

  1. I love the rush you feel when you’re surrounded by amazing history, beautiful buildings, and my version of celebrities—Congress!
    • Kaitlyn Fehderau, Fresno Pacific University
  2. My most memorable experience so far has been going to the Newseum!
    • Alyssa Burlingame, Azusa Pacific University
  3. I’ve been surprised about how easy it is to find people you see on TV!
    • Alexander Hamann, Messiah College
  4. Learning to give tours of the Capitol as a part of my internship has been the most memorable.
    • Katherine Jeffreys, Gordon College
  5. Visiting Lincoln at night has been the most memorable.
    • Amanda Enzenauer, Vanguard University
  6. The Women’s March on Washington was a formational event for me. I am so thankful to have been here for this monumental event.
    • Julia Baslé, John Brown University
  7. I hope I never forget the chilling excitement of seeing the Washington Monument at night.
    • Lydia Deatherage, Corban University

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Living in Community

  1. The most memorable part of D.C. has been getting to know each person in the program and connecting with them on academics, music, politics, and internships.
    • Jillian Pascua, Vanguard University
  2. I love how easy it is to adjust to the city-life because of how accommodating DC residents are.
    • Ryan Bolton, Friends University
  3. Getting to know the city through adventures with new friends has been most memorable.
    • Carlye Poff, Wheaton College
  4. I love the diversity of the people in D.C. Every day is a new opportunity to meet a different person, with a different background, experiences, and stories.
    • Daulton DePatis, Olivet Nazarene University

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      And in case you need Reason #21: Yes, we do have Chick-fil-A!

 

First Two Weeks (in Pictures!) {Spring 2017}

The ASP Spring 2017 Cohort have taken buses through some of the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, cheered on the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center, volunteered at an after-school program, explored a few museums, and attended the Presidential Inauguration— and that’s just in the first two weeks! This morning, the students are off to the first day at their internships. Check back for updates on what they learn and experience this semester.

Keep scrolling for a view of the first two weeks from the students’ perspective:

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(L to R) Rolaine Castro (Fresno Pacific University), Caleb Mathena (Whitworth University), Julia Baslé (John Brown University), Alyssa Burlingame (Azusa Pacific University), and Jillian Pascua (Vanguard University) are ready to start their semester in Washington, D.C.!

 

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(L to R) Jillian Pascua, Ashley Fisher, and Amanda Enzenauer (all of Vanguard University) at the 58th Presidential Inauguration. (PC: Jillian Pascua)

 

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Debora Timmer (Olivet Nazarene University) snaps a picture of her ticket to the Inauguration Ceremony.

 

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(L to R) Kaitlyn Fehderau (Fresno Pacific University), Katherine Jeffreys (Gordon College), and Lydia Deatherage (Corban University) pose in front of a street-art mural in the Navy Yard neighborhood. (PC: Katherine Jeffreys)

 

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Tasting the many delicious options at the Eastern Market! (PC: Ashley Fisher)

 

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At the Washington Wizards Game!

 

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Alex Hamann, Randy Lohman (both of Messiah College), and Carlye Poff (Wheaton College) stand outside of the United States Botanic Garden. (D.C. Pro Tip: This is a great place to thaw out after you have been exploring the city in cold!)

 

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One of the first things ASP students like to do is apply for an official reader card at the Library of Congress. There isn’t a better place to do homework!

 

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(L to R) Karina Reyes (Fresno Pacific University), Daulton DePatis (Olivet Nazarene University), and Alex Ruple (Mount Vernon Nazarene University) visit the National Museum of American History.

 

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(L to R) Ryan Bolton (Friends University), Lydia Deatherage (Corban University), and Kaitlyn Fehderau (Fresno Pacific University) are pleasantly surprised by what is within walking distance of the ASP Dellenback Center!

 

 

Internship Spotlight II {Fall 2016}

Hannah Wardell, Gordon College

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As a Values & Capitalism intern, Hannah helped plan several events and was even able to attend an AEI event in Boston.

I spent my semester interning at Values & Capitalism, an initiative of the American Enterprise Institute doing outreach to Christian college campuses. V&C exists to proliferate dialogue about the morality of free enterprise and the theological implications of capitalism on college campuses. I’ve spent my semester not only helping with event planning, content creation, and program administration, but also getting to be involved with the conversations happening in the Christian intellectual community.  As a part of a think tank, V&C has the ability to bring together thought-leaders for conversations about faith and public life, like when pluralism scholar John Inazu gave the keynote presentation at our Fall Summit in October. Working at V&C affirmed my desire to work in the context of theology and public life and gave me a practical look at how that’s done by way of high education programming.  It also showed me just how impactful a small department of dedicated and entrepreneurial people can be at engaging culture and how pivotal Christian higher-ed is in that culture.  I’m leaving DC with a better sense of the work I want to do and the kind of people I want to do it with, and I’m thankful to Values and Capitalism for showing me that!

Devin Hill, William Jessup University

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Devin (second from left) with other DNC interns in front of a campaign bus.

This semester I had the opportunity to intern with the Democratic National Committee in the Compliance Department. In the Compliance Department, I learned about financial compliance and ethical regulations. My day-to-day tasks included vetting donors, event attendees, and even possible candidate endorsements. While I was specifically in this department, I had many opportunities outside of it that were major highlights such as: helping with the digital team at the headquarters during the debates, meeting with senior officials, going to staff meetings with the DNC Vice President, and even helping track the polls on election night.

Being able to have this internship has taught me two major lessons. The first thing I learned is to try for the things that you think are out of your reach. When I first heard about the possibility to intern with the DNC, I did not think I was at all good enough to get this internship. But I knew that if I did not apply, I would regret it forever. When you are applying for an internship, do not just go for the safe ones; go for the crazy, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. You are probably much more qualified than you give yourself credit for.

The other major lesson that I learned through this internship is to be flexible. When I first accepted this opportunity, I was placed in the Political Department. But less than a week before my start date, they moved me into Compliance. To be honest, I was a bit let down when I first learned about the change. Now that it is over, I can say that I probably learned more in the Compliance Department than I would have in Political. Your future internship will not look exactly how you imagine it, but that does not mean that it will not be an amazing opportunity.

Derek Ross, Simpson University

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Derek at his internship site, located only a few blocks from the White House.

This semester I had the wonderful privilege of interning for the ONE Campaign, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that is focused on ending global poverty and preventable diseases. My role as an intern was to help with the research and gathering of data for the relaunch of a nationwide campaign for 2017, as well as helping the implementation and field work for a campaign during the 2016 election season. As a part of my internship, I also was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Atlanta and Orlando for work.

When I first accepted my internship, I wasn’t too sure what I would be getting myself into.  Before coming to DC, I was determined to get an internship focused on sports management. However, when God placed this opportunity in front of me, I decided to run with it and trust that he had an amazing plan, and that he could use me in exciting ways at the ONE Campaign. I am truly blessed to have gotten the opportunity to serve the ONE Campaign and have this real-world exposure for what it is like to research, plan, and implement a nationwide campaign for an organization here in DC. If I had one piece of advice to give to someone looking into the ASP program, I would say trust God and take the risk, because it is so worth it.

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Want to have your own D.C. internship experience? Click here to start an application!

Internship Spotlight I {Fall 2016}

Jake Hemme, Biola University

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Jake (left) with the Chief Prosecutor in charge of extraditions from the Canadian Department of Justice.

I have the distinct honor this semester to intern at the Office of International Affairs (OIA) at the U.S. Department of Justice. This office is charged with the responsibility of executing the extradition and mutual legal assistance proceedings between the U.S. and our foreign counterparts. Simply put, if a state prosecutor needs a suspect or piece of evidence that is in Canada, our office prepares the assistance request in accordance with the treaty, and then we work with the State Department to facilitate the extradition or evidence transfer. I am on the team that works with Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean countries, with six veteran prosecutors and two paralegals. My job, specifically, is to be the right-hand man for all of the staff on my team. I regularly analyze cases, pouring through police reports in order to identify the inconsistencies and missing links in the case facts. I also attend inter-agency meetings with the State Department, FBI, and U.S. Marshals, learning more about how the agencies interact with one another. Perhaps the best part of my internship is the opportunity to work on real-life cases. My intern supervisors do not believe in giving interns “grunt work;” they want me to play an active and significant role in a variety of cases ranging from fraud schemes to terrorism and murder cases. Not only am I developing skills that are relevant to law school and a career in law, but I am also developing an understanding of the delicate balance between law and diplomacy. I leave work each day with a sense of gratitude, knowing that I am part of an effort to make this deeply flawed and broken world just a little bit better.

Hosanna Unom, Gordon College

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Considering a career in law, Hosanna is interning at a lobbying branch of a Minnesota-based law firm.

This semester, I am interning at Lockridge Grindal Nauen, a small lobbying branch of a larger law firm that is based in Minnesota; most of the clients we represent on the Hill have ties to the state. In my first week, I helped organize and host fundraising events for two of the Minnesota members of the House Representatives. Since then, my daily tasks have included compiling daily and weekly news articles for client updates, preparing and editing documents for meetings and conferences, and doing research on various issues of concern for our clients. Working at LGN has challenged me in new ways that that have helped me grow professionally, personally, and socially. The office is smaller than I would have expected, but that has allowed me to get to know my co-workers better and learn a lot about myself. One of my favorite things about working within such an intimate office culture is how intentional everybody is about making me feel a part of the entire work environment. I have been able to learn so much about the law-making process within Congress and the role that lobbyists play in that, and that has sparked my interest in similar fields. As I approach graduation, I hope to find a job similar to LGN where I can continue to use what I have learned this semester, as well as grow personally and professionally in the work that I love.

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Want to have your own D.C. internship experience? Click here to start an application!

Neighbors Take the Bus

The Fall 2016 Semester of the American Studies Program—our 40th anniversary semester—is off and running!

One of the first things ASP students do upon their arrival in DC is participate in what we call a “Bus Day.”  Bus Days organize students into small groups and an Instagram photo scavenger hunt contest sends them off to discover the less-explored features and history of different DC neighborhoods.

The central purpose of this exercise is neighborhood engagement.  ASP students are not tourists; we are residents and we want them to be a part of the neighborhood.  The exercise allows students to personally interact with the Washingtonians living and working in these neighborhoods: visit the corner grocery store; interact with parents in the park; speak with the security guard at the bank; and eat at the family-owned restaurant.  The lessons learned from these exercises stick with you, informing our growing understanding of the importance of “place” to one’s sense of calling and responsibility.

This semester, for their first Bus Day, our students were tasked to visit all four quadrants of the city—Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest.  This included visits to the Brookland, U Street, Navy Yard, and Anacostia neighborhoods, among many others.  See below for some of our favorite photos!

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Hosanna Unom (Gordon College) taught her bus group how to eat with their hands at an Eritrean restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

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(Left to Right) Abby Morris (Milligan College), Anna-Monet Hartman (Northwest University), and Shea Fordham (Vanguard University) check out an expressive mural on Georgia Avenue.

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(Left to Right) Derek Ross (Simpson University), Shannon Hogan (Oral Roberts University), and Derrick Adams (The King’s University) take a rest at Suns Cinema in Mount Pleasant.

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(Front to Back) Abigail Nyberg (Whitworth University), Arilda Lleshi (LCC International University), Wesley Duncan (Oklahoma Christian University), and Jeremiah McCoy (Messiah College) explore the Anacostia neighborhood.

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(Left to Right) Ethan Peterson (Bethel University), Danielle Harrington (Vanguard University), Jake Hemme (Biola University), and Jessie McBirney (Biola University) stop for a pose at The George Washington University in Foggy Bottom.

Follow all of the Bus Day fun on Instagram by searching for #ASPtakesDCfa16!  And stay tuned for more blog posts to come!

Internship Spotlight II {Spring 2016}

Courtney Selle, Taylor University

Courtney Selle internshipI am currently interning with the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee under the office of the chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander. In this internship, I am specifically working in the education office; however, I also assist with the other areas: health, labor and pensions, as well as work on tasks for the personal office. On a day-to-day basis, I will research the daily news on education and labor issues, attend professional development courses, take notes at a briefing, sit in on staff meetings, and take a few phone calls.

I took this internship without knowing the specific details of what I would be doing, but I can say that the internship definitely has helped prepare me for a future career in education policy. Not only am I learning a wealth of knowledge on education policy and how the policy process works, but I am also meeting highly connected people who have advocated on my behalf as I look to find a job after I graduate at the end of this program. Furthermore the office culture has been counter to what I expected. I was expecting a cutthroat office environment where you are constantly critiqued and people are stomping on their colleagues to get ahead — NOT TRUE! Don’t believe everything you see on T.V. Instead I am constantly thanked for the most menial tasks, even when I do them wrong, and people have been so willing to lend their help to others and myself. I have truly enjoyed my internship and am thankful for the opportunity. If there are any future ASPers who want to intern on the Hill but who are more interested in policy work than constituent work, I would recommend that that to try to intern for a committee!

Ashley Bloemhof, Dordt College

Ashley Bloemhof internshipAs an intern at the American Conservative, I recently had the opportunity to work as a credentialed media reporter at CPAC 2016, the largest Republican conference in the nation. Suits and stilettos crowded the Potomac Ballroom at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Maryland, and though the organized chaos may have driven others mad, I could not have been happier to rub shoulders with exceptional writers and photographers. The experience opened my eyes to the daily routine of a journalist and furthered my understanding about what it means to write, and write well, to meet a deadline. Though thoroughly exhausted the week after, I feel incredibly blessed not only as a writer but as a believer as well. In the midst of an election season, it becomes all too easy to settle back into complacency and whine about the current state of our union. However, though the presentations of CPAC speakers and panelists undoubtedly contained rhetoric purposed solely to “rally the troops,” I truly do believe that there are honest, hardworking individuals in the legislature. I will not take for granted the lessons I learned this weekend and hope to continue building on them each and every day.

Internship Spotlight I {Spring 2016}

Hannah Scheenstra, Vanguard University of Southern California

Hannah ScheenstraThis semester, I am interning on Capitol Hill with the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform, and their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom has triggered my interest in military affairs. Having my brother in the military also opened my mind up to the life of a soldier and, therefore, encouraged me to pursue this opportunity to extend my knowledge on national security and defense issues.

Being the largest committee in the House of Representatives, HASC holds 63 members and an equally large staff. I get the opportunity to pick which issues interest me the most and reach out to the clerks or professional staff members to offer my help. Whether it be a hearing on emerging worldwide threats or just managing phones at the front desk, I continue to learn something new everyday. The work that I do in the office varies week to week. I assist with both full committee and subcommittee hearings, assist with briefings, and help with various projects related to the defense budget. Everyday I get to meet important military personnel and interact with multiple congressman and their staffers. At this point, I have lost track of how many different people I meet on a daily basis! Probably the coolest thing that has happened so far is seeing both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State.

Needless to say, I am immensely grateful that I have the privilege to intern with this committee, even if it is just for 4 months. I have learned so much and I have seen myself grow in more ways than one.

Patrick Hubbard, Taylor University

I am spending this semester interning for the Clapham Group, a creative consulting firm out in Virginia. This organization does work for a diverse array of clients, and I have been able to work on several projects aimed at connecting people of faith with organizations related to social justice. My first few weeks were spent doing research to develop a new nonprofit through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one that would connect millennials of faith to international organizations doing ministry in the fields of development and public health. Through this project, I was given the opportunity to see what goes into the development of new organizations, and how international development must be approached from an organizational standpoint.

Another project in which I got to participate was focused on the racial and economic inequalities that affect educational opportunity across the United States. I attended a collective action meeting hosted by the Expectations Project (a D.C.-based education advocacy organization) and attended by representatives from the National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners Magazine, World Vision, and the Center for Public Justice, among many others. At this convention, I was able to see power actually being exercised for positive change and was astounded that what I witnessed was actually something that could make a real difference in the lives of those who are discriminated against and unfairly disadvantaged. Through these two projects, I have learned much about the ways that Christians can utilize their social and political capital for good in the lives of others, both worldwide and domestically. I have been inspired by seeing strong Christians use their positions of power to effect real change and am thrilled that my own research and support can aid these efforts in some small way.

One Month in D.C. {Spring 2016}

ASP Spring 2016 has been here just over a month! Here are a few things they have learned in D.C. so far.

I’ve learned “relationship building skills, more about myself, how to plan meals for the week and score free meals!” –Courtney, Taylor University

“Strangers are only friends waiting to be made.” –Sarah, Northwestern College – Iowa

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“I learned the importance of having confidence in myself, my unique experiences, skills, and abilities.  If you don’t cheer for yourself, who will?” –Adela, Messiah College

I’ve learned “how to be involved in community.”

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“Public transportation isn’t as complicated as it seems — getting groceries, however, is.” –Rachel, Malone University

“I’ve learned to seek the Lord in times of change.” –Patrick, Taylor University

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“I may not be a politician, but I have power as a pedestrian.  I will exercise my power!” –Janet, Fresno Pacific University

I’ve learned “how to be confident in overwhelming situations; how to grocery shop; the value of having coffee with someone and hearing about their experiences.” –Cara, Olivet Nazarene University

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I’ve learned “how to navigate the metro bus system.” –Sarah, Southeastern University

“Networking is important. You need to be confident and approach people, but you also need to be approachable, as well.” –Hannah, Vanguard University

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“No story is too small to share.  No experience is too small to live.  No pizza is too big to eat.” –Ashley, Dordt College

“The right side of the escalator is for tourists, the left side for locals and commuters.” –Stephen, Northwestern College – Iowa

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First Two Weeks in D.C. {Spring 2016}

ASP Spring 2016’s first two weeks in D.C. have been filled with making friends, getting to know the city, and dealing with snow! Scroll through some snapshots from the semester’s orientation.

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Getting to know each other through Three Things

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Exploring the neighborhood during Bus Day 1: Courtney Selle, Taylor University; Mckayla Henderson, Biola University; Rachel Parnell, Malone University; and Farnel Maxime, Gordon College

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Apartment 9 ladies: Adela Antal, Messiah College; Hannah Scheenstra, Vanguard University of Southern California; Sarah Ooi, Messiah College; and Sarah Copeland, Southeastern University

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Adela Antal (Messiah College) reads with a local elementary school student at Little Lights Urban Ministries {Photo credit: Little Lights}

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Rachel Taylor (Messiah College) helps a local elementary school student with her homework at Little Lights Urban Ministries. {Photo credit: Little Lights}

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Attending a Washington Wizards NBA game: Farnel Maxime, Gordon College; Mckayla Henderson, Biola University; Veronica Ibarra, Biola University; and Rachel Taylor, Messiah College

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We got snow! Thanks to our dedicated students for helping to shovel out our offices and the Dellenback Center: Farnel Maxime, Gordon College; Sarah Ooi, Messiah College; Cara Champlin, Olivet Nazarene University; Adela Antal, Messiah College; and Sarah Wedel, Northwestern College.

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All dressed up for the CCCU 40th Anniversary Gala!

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ASP-Gordon College student Farnel Maxime with his president, Dr. Michael Lindsay, at the CCCU 40th Anniversary Gala

This morning, students are off to the first day of their internships.  Check back for updates on what they learn at work!

Internship Spotlight II {Fall 2015}

Kathryn Hopper, Westmont College

Kathryn Hopper internshipThis semester I have had the privilege of interning for Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). As a local from the district he represents, the office has been a nice taste of home even though I am living on the opposite side of the country. My role in the office gives me several opportunities to interact with constituents, either on the phone listening to their concerns or in person when I get to take those visiting on a tour of the Capitol. The last couple of months have flown by, and I am incredibly blessed to have had so many wonderful experiences thus far. Last week I attended a hearing when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. I also had the chance to see the Pope during his first visit to Washington D.C., to watch as Paul Ryan was sworn in as the new Speaker of the House, and to be present for several major votes on legislation addressing the budget, defunding Planned Parenthood, and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. I have thoroughly enjoyed having a front row seat to history in just the handful of weeks I have been on the Hill.

Victoria Goebel, Gordon College

2015-09-14 19.21.29 - CopyThis semester I am interning at the Borenstein Group in Fairfax, VA. BG is an integrated marketing agency that works with PR, advertising, branding, and digital strategy. The work mostly focuses on business-to-business and business-to-government companies in tech, security, and intelligence. Since starting in September, I have had the chance to experience all parts of agency life.

The Borenstein Group is a small firm, and this has given me the chance to have plenty of hands-on experience. I have worked on research, planning, social media, and a variety of projects. This internship has given me the opportunity to learn about industries I did not know much about and discover the world of government contractors.

My favorite part of the internship experience is applying 3 years of classroom learning to a real-life setting. It has been rewarding to see how lessons learned in the classroom apply to the work force. I definitely have developed a better appreciation for the ways in which Gordon has prepared me for this opportunity.