Not Your Average Classroom {Fall 2017}

One of the distinctives of the ASP curriculum is the opportunity to conduct fieldwork. Instead of receiving instruction solely inside the classroom and gathering material from the campus library (though, the Library of Congress is just a 10 minute walk away!), ASP students collect their research directly from the source: stakeholders in governmental offices, advocacy groups, marketing firms, and more!

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On the roof of the Canadian Embassy with the embassy’s trade and political counsellors.

Using our network from over 40 years in DC, we arrange private briefings and small-group interviews with organizations and professionals all over the city. This fieldwork provides opportunities for ASP students to move beyond the question of “What is your position?” and on to more substantive questions like “Why do you believe your position is preferable to other alternatives?” and “What are the most common misconceptions about your positions and how do you respond to them?” With the floor open for more questions, students are able to dig even deeper into these issues and begin processing what this new information means for when they write their own policy memos.

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Hearing from Carlos Guevara, senior policy advisor at UnidosUS, about several immigration issues we are researching.

This semester, ASP’s public policy students are meeting with policy stakeholders with an interest in influencing the direction of U.S. immigration policy and U.S.-Mexico relations. On September 15, we went to the hearing room of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for a private briefing with Jay Sulzmann, the legislative director in a Senate office, to learn more about researching and writing effective policy memoranda.

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In the hearing room of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for a private briefing with a Senate legislative director.

On September 22, we visited UnidosUS, an advocacy group for the Hispanic community, to meet with senior policy advisor Carlos Guevara (who, previously, was an immigration lawyer and Department of Homeland Security official). Mr. Guevara discussed UnidosUS’ policy positions on several immigration issues we are researching: the H-1B visa, the DREAM Act/Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, and U.S. refugee policy.

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Last week, we went to the Canadian Embassy to meet with Carrie Goodge, the embassy’s trade policy counsellor, and Kevin Tunney, one of the embassy’s political counsellors. This conversation kick-started our foreign policy studies of two issues: the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Merida Initiative, a security agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. The visit ended with a tour of the Canadian Embassy’s famous rooftop deck overlooking the National Mall.

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Looking ahead, we have briefings confirmed with the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. House Speaker’s office. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see the results!

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Ian Snively (right, George Fox University) shakes hands with Kevin Tunney, one of the Canadian Embassy’s political counsellors.


Want to have your own DC experience? Click here to start an application!

 

And We’re Off! The First Two Weeks {Fall 2017}

The ASP Fall 2017 cohort has now been in Washington, DC for two weeks. This semester, we have representatives from Biola University, Bluefield College, George Fox University, Gordon College, John Brown University, Judson University, Northwest University, Olivet Nazarene University, Seattle Pacific University, and Whitworth University.

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Checking out the amazing view from the Dellenback rooftop! [L to R: Rebekah Mauer (Whitworth University), James Selvey and Elizabeth Lanham (Olivet Nazarene University), Shelby Baumgartner (Biola University), and Bethany Maddox and Matt Logan (John Brown University)]

After a few days of orientation, the students were off to explore the city. Their adventures brought them to the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion, a baseball game at Nationals Stadium, and to volunteering at Little Lights (an after-school program). Continuing with the ASP tradition of Bus Day, the students spent their first Saturday meeting their new neighbors in each of DC’s four quadrants.

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ASP Director Dr. Peter Baker and his son, Jackson (ASP Fall 2027), at the Nationals game.

In the classroom, we have been learning about the origin stories of state, law, and government, and why political order and development matter to public policy.  We have also been discussing what it looks like to live and lead when Christ and his kingdom define our identity and images of success at work. And on Monday, the students will show up for the first day of work at their internships!

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Hope Koumentakos (right, Gordon College) speaks with fellow Gordon alumna Townsend McNitt (left, ASP Fall 1987). Townsend led a class discussion on how to have a successful internship.

Check back here for regular updates on what we learn and experience this semester, and keep scrolling for more pictures from the first two weeks:

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At the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion. With the Washington Monument closed until 2019, this is the next best view of the city! [back L to R: Matt Logan (John Brown University), Hope Koumentakos (Gordon College), Ian Snively (George Fox University), Luke Atherton (Whitworth University), Dominic Heiden (Seattle Pacific University); front L to R: Nathan Sebranke (Northwest University), Teague Broquard and Bethany Maddox (John Brown University), and Rebekah Mauer (Whitworth University)]

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Shelby Baumgartner (Biola University) and Dagoberto Acevedo (Bluefield College) give a thumbs-up to Eastern Market.

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The Trinity Forum invited the ASP students to an evening event at the National Press Club– a discussion with Ambassador Mark Lagon (not pictured) on the connections between faith-based notions of human dignity and international development efforts.

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An impromptu photo shoot while walking by a Women’s Equality Day event at the Newseum.

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Lincoln Park is only a 15-minute walk from the Dellenback apartments. [L to R: Alex Reinhold (Judson University), Kelby Goudey (Gordon College), Dominic Heiden (Seattle Pacific University), and Nathan Sebranke (Northwest University)]

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Selected “Best Picture” from Bus Day

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Winners of Fall 2017 Bus Day #1: The Filibuster Family! Their matching t-shirts definitely provided an advantage.

 


Want to have your own DC experience? Click here to start an application!

 

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!

What I’ve Learned So Far {Fall 2015}

Fall 2015 students have been in D.C. for a month! We asked them what they have learned about their new city so far.  Here are a few of their responses.

“The city is a metaphor for life. Everything is constantly and rapidly changing at all times. Being here has helped me to remember how important faith is. Even when we don’t see the next step ahead, have faith.”
— Christine O., Azusa Pacific University

“The city is full of brilliant people who are more than willing to teach you.”
— Eric H., Gordon College

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“There’s more to D.C. than the federal side. The neighborhoods have so much life to them!”
— Danni J., University of Northwestern – St. Paul

“D.C. is a really small town. Everyone seems to know everyone, so a good (or bad) interaction with a person can go a long way.”
— Jason S., Biola University

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“D.C. is a very federal power type of place. It almost puts on a show to a point where it detracts from the real D.C.: neighborhoods, communities, and people.”
— Isaac S., Vanguard University

“D.C. is culturally rich. Everywhere you go, you experience a different culture and can be welcomed in. I experienced so much culture this weekend at the H St. Festival and the Latino Festival on Penn. It’s not just suits and ties here — it’s food, singing, and dancing on Pennsylvania Avenue with strangers.”
–Tori G., Gordon College

12049306_1720344878193791_6075489689274188108_n“It’s important to take the time to enjoy the small things during the hustle and bustle of the busy life.”
— Jodie H., Messiah College

“Life in D.C. is very fast-paced. Everyday you have to be better at what you do, especially at the office/workplace. You will meet nice people and mean people, but you should show respect to all kinds.”
— Brandan W., Taylor University

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Welcome to Fall 2015!

ASP Fall 2015 is off to a great start with students from Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Gordon College, Judson University, Messiah College, Taylor University, University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Vanguard University of Southern California, Warner Pacific College, Westmont College, and William Jessup University.  Especially exciting this semester is the launch of our new Strategic Communication study track! Internships start week after next, but until then, students are exploring their new home; discussing themes of justice, power and poverty, shalom, and faithful practice; serving their community; and building relationships.

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Introductions via “Three Things”

Trivia night on the roof of the Dellenback Center

Trivia night on the roof of the Dellenback Center

Exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Another group exploring the city through Bus Day 1

Another group exploring the city through Bus Day 1

We love our neighbors at Little Lights Urban Ministries. Each semester ASP students get the Little Lights buildings ready for the school year and sometimes volunteer as tutors.

We love our neighbors at Little Lights Urban Ministries. Each semester, ASP students get the Little Lights buildings ready for the school year and sometimes volunteer as tutors.

With Miss Linda, associate director of Little Lights

With Miss Linda, associate director of Little Lights

One Month in D.C. {Spring 2015}

ASP students have finished their second week of internships and track work and are celebrating one month of being in Washington. What have they learned in D.C. so far?

Savannah Scherkenback, Azusa Pacific University: (1) When you arrive–walk everywhere during your first week! That’s how you get to know the heartbeat of this city.  (2) One of the best “must do” experiences: grocery shopping on weekends at Eastern Market.  Talk to the people.

Katie Barany, Eastern University: The city is alive and busy, and so am I.  There is always cool stuff happening if you look.

ASP students attended an event at George Washington University with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg {photo credit: Katie Barany}

ASP students attended an event at George Washington University with Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia {photo credit: Katie Barany}

Timothy Carr, Gordon College: We aren’t in Vermont anymore.

Alberto Sanchez, Fresno Pacific University: I have learned that this city is amazing.  I want to keep learning what it takes to be successful in this city.  My internship is very fun.

Amanda Bishop, Biola University: Lebanese food in DC is delicious (like the “Lebanese Chipotle”).

Biola ASPers joined Biola President Barry Corey on Capitol Hill to meet with Congressman Ed Royce [l-r: Amanda Bishop, President Corey, Congressman Royce, Neakzaad Horriat, Luke Bennett, and Eric Corona] {photo credit: Eric Corona}

Biola ASPers joined Biola President Barry Corey on Capitol Hill to meet with Congressman Ed Royce (CA-39) [l-r: Amanda Bishop, President Corey, Congressman Royce, Neakzaad Horriat, Luke Bennett, and Eric Corona] {photo credit: Amanda Bishop}

Luke Bennett, Biola University: There is no excuse for being bored.  There is always something to do, so go do it.

Charlie Richert, Taylor University: D.C. is a wonderful place, full of energy, growth, and vigor.  At the same time, it is a city full of hurt, poverty, and inequality.

Students hang out in the Dellenback [l-r: Rachel Malcolm (Azusa Pacific University), Shelby Holloway (Trinity Western University), Alexcis Albert (Vanguard University of Southern California), Carolina Alvarado (Taylor University), and Norann Beidas (Whitworth University)]

Students hang out in the Dellenback [l-r: Rachel Malcolm (Azusa Pacific University), Shelby Holloway (Trinity Western University), Alexcis Albert (Vanguard University of Southern California), Carolina Alvarado (Taylor University), and Norann Beidas (Whitworth University)]

Norann Beidas, Whitworth University: I have learned the layout of the city and how I can attend amazing events because of this knowledge.

Alexcis Albert, Vanguard University of Southern California: There are so many kind people in the city that love to discuss anything and everything.  It is so easy to meet cool people like the Mayor of London, and congressional hearings are awesome to see politicians in action.  Come to D.C.–it’s amazing!

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London Mayor Boris Johnson at a Politico event attended by ASP students {photo credit: Norann Beidas}

Eric Corona, Biola University: Here in D.C., it is never proper to merely ride the escalator; you must expeditiously walk.  Escalators are not fast enough.

Jacob Fusek, Southeastern University: Opportunities are everywhere if you keep your eyes open!

Patricia Vazquez Topete, Fresno Pacific University: So far I think I have started to learn how to network at different events and how to reach out to people who have similar interests.

Oscar Martinez is the author of The Beast (Spanish translation for The Immigrants that Don't Matter). On Wednesvday Feb.  12 he won the WOLA and Duke Human Rights Book Award. The Beast talks about the journey that immigrants take from Central America to the U.S. Mexican Border and the dangerous experiences they encounter. At the book award Martinez said that individuals from El Salvador don't just immigrate but they flee their country.

Salvadorean journalist Oscar Martinez receives the WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award at an event hosted by the Washington Office on Latin America, where ASPer Patricia Vazquez Topete is interning.  Mr. Martinez is the author of The Beast which chronicles the journey that immigrants take from Central America to the U.S.-Mexican Border and the dangerous experiences they encounter. {photo credit: Patricia Vazquez Topete}

Neakzaad Horriat, Biola University: Everyone is here for a purpose, and if you are here without a purpose, you cannot succeed.  But if you do have a purpose, you will flourish here.

Rachel Malcolm, Azusa Pacific University: I have learned about the interesting dynamic of Washington, D.C.  The poor work and live side by side with the rich.

Carolina Alvarado, Taylor University: Never underestimate the metro system.

Homeless Liaison for Prince George's County speaking at a panel discussion on child homelessness hosted by the Congressional Homelessness Caucus and Senator Patty Murray's office (WA)

Homeless Liaison for Prince George’s County speaking at a panel discussion on child homelessness hosted by the Congressional Homelessness Caucus and Senator Patty Murray’s office (WA) {photo credit: Christina McIntyre}

Tara Tankersley, North Central University: The world is bigger than I thought it was! But very different people living in the same place is a beautiful thing.

Reuben Van Gaalen, Dordt College: Advice from someone at my internship — “Never think like an intern!”

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{photo credit: Katie Barany}

Orientation Week {Fall 2014}

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The Fall 2014 semester is off to a great start! Students from Biola University, Bob Jones University, Emmanuel College, Gordon College, Malone University, Messiah College, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Olivet Nazarene University, Oral Roberts University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Seattle Pacific University, Warner Pacific College, and Whitworth University arrived August 28th–and have stayed busy ever since! From orientation to neighborhood engagement to classes to monument walking tours to community events to scavenger hunts, ASP students and their WJC classmates have been getting to know their new community in exciting ways.

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A Bus Day group presents their excursion to the rest of the class.

Kaitlyn Stump’s Bus Day group presents their excursion to the rest of the class.

The first weekend of the semester included a group scavenger hunt or “Bus Day,” giving the opportunity to explore different parts of the city.

Suzanna Bregar of Malone University said that the scavenger hunt was her favorite part of the semester so far.  “I liked that we were broken up into small groups.  It was easier to get to know people.  I also liked exploring the city, missing the bus, or waiting forever for a different bus!”

“My favorite part was the Marine Barracks parade, particularly the silent platoon,” said Kaitlyn Stump also from Malone University.  “Their discipline was extraordinary; they were so in sync without any verbal commands.”

S'mores night on the back patio [From left, Shaefer Bagwell {Biola University}, Collin Callhan {Biola University}, Trenton Pouncy {Oral Roberts University}, Chris Rednour {Mount Vernon Nazarene University}, and Justin Botejue {Whitworth University}]

S’mores night on the back patio [From left, Shaefer Bagwell {Biola University}, Collin Callahan {Biola University}, Trenton Pouncy {Oral Roberts University}, Chris Rednour {Mount Vernon Nazarene University}, and Justin Botejue {Whitworth University}]

Monument walking tour with RD James Kim

Monument walking tour with RD James Kim

Becoming part of the monument at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Becoming part of the monument at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

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Apartment 5 organized a potluck brunch for the rest of the Dellenback!

Later this evening, ASP is attending a Nationals baseball game at Nats park.  Alexander Hayes of Warner Pacific University comments, “If you don’t have fun here, you won’t have anywhere else!”

ASP at Acton University: Report from Gerry Hartis

logoAfter several years of getting encouragement from faculty at a number of CCCU campuses, I was finally able to attend Acton University, a three-day conference sponsored by the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, June 18-20. The University serves to advance the Institute’s mission of “promoting a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles”.

Three things about the Acton University experience are well mentioning: first, the number and quality of lectures and presentations from American academe and practitioners in business, public education, public policy, and ministry. With over a thousand economists, philosophers, and theologians attending the nearly 100 sessions, the main challenge was to decide which presentation would have to be dropped from my personal wish list.

Second, the Acton team structured the event in a way which demonstrated that widely varying theological traditions–Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant (Reformed, Pentecostal, and African-American Baptist)–each have a contribution to make to the work of promoting a “free and virtuous society.”

Third, and maybe the most fun, was hanging out with the like of Tyler Castle (ASP alum now with the Value & Capitalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute) and Steve Garber (former ASP faculty now leading the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture).  Steve’s influence was evident everywhere–in conversations, presentations, books. And Tyler, well, let’s just say he’s making a strong contribution to a very important initiative. I also discovered that he is a model of grace under pressure when it comes to travel logistics and nearly-missed flights.  Grand Rapids at 4am will never be the same.

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From left: Steve Garber, Tyler Castle, and Gerry Hartis

Guest Post: “Top 5 Questions I’ve Gotten Since My Return from DC” by Stephanie Grossoehme

For ASP students, life in DC is life-changing.  They navigate a city, take on adult responsibilities, grow professionally through their internships, mentorships, and track work, and ultimately discover a lot about themselves.  Adjusting to life after ASP is often harder than one might expect.  How do you answer the dreaded “So, how was it?” question? How do you explain your experience to other people when you’re still processing it yourself?

Fall 2013 alumna Stephanie Grossoehme blogs her way through some of these questions, and we are thrilled to feature a guest post (and pictures) from Stephanie as she reflects on her semester experience.

#5. Did you see Obama?

Yes, I did. I didn’t get very close. I saw him at the Mall at the 50th anniversary of MLK Jr’s Dream speech. More exciting than that was the woman who started to faint and fall back onto me. I didn’t even catch her, I just watched her fall. At first I thought she was just stepping back. Nope. She was falling. She ended up being okay though. Another time I saw President Obama was at the National Christmas Tree Lighting. It was cold and very rainy. So he didn’t hang out for very long.

 

Jefferson Memorial#4 So you’re done there, then?

Yes, for now. I don’t think anyone who ever goes to DC can ever fully escape it. And that’s not because Big Brother is watching you. But I’ll speak for myself and just say that I’d totally live there again. DC is a great place to thrive in and it’s one of my favorite places. I plan on applying for jobs there after I graduate.

 

 

#3. What exactly did you do in DC?

Does anyone ever really know? I didn’t work for the CIA. I had 16 credits of coursework and internship. I interned with an organization called Free the Slaves. They do anti-slave labor work in 6 countries. They’re awesome. I worked with a team on a global development project with World Vision. I was mentored by an amazing and funny communications professional. I took a course called Vocation and Leadership. It was heavily discussion based. It made me think deeper. We explored truth and justice and Shalom, and I liked it a lot. I still like to go back and reference my reading assignments and I’m not even a hardcore nerd. In addition to the coursework though, I got to explore the city and learn from the people who live there.

 

DC rowhouses#2. Ew. Why did you even go to DC?

This is my personal favorite. Washington has a bad rep. People don’t agree with the government, I get it. But let’s be honest. DC is a great place to live. It even has its own laws since it’s not a State. It’s clean. It’s friendly. People say good morning to you as you walk by. Like, people at my little college don’t even do that. The city is full of history, obviously. It’s amazing how you never tire of the architecture. DC has this thing for cupcakes. The city is brick-paved and lined with unique row houses. My point: don’t hate on DC until you’ve walked a mile of her. She’s a beauty that’ll take your breath away. (Sigh. Pardon me while I go write a love song).

#1. Are you glad to be back?

Meh. I love Chicago, for sure. But since my experiences in DC probably changed my life, it’s difficult to get back into previous things. That’s why I write here, silly. (Obviously the people asking me these questions should just go read my blog and save me from further social interaction and contribute to slowly digress the way we humans communicate non-verbally with one another ahhhh…jk). Anyways. I think it’s something of a culture shock. I like being home, but I’m in search of the balance in taking my newfound lessons and stories and living them in an old place. That’s epitome of the struggle. It’s a progress.

Stephanie in Old Town Alexandria

Stephanie in Old Town Alexandria

A rising senior, Stephanie is a Communication major at Olivet Nazarene University.  While an ASP student, she was the social media intern at Free the Slaves; since returning to ONU, she has continued to manage Free the Slaves’ social media remotely.  After graduation, Stephanie plans to pursue social media marketing (basically anything that involves traveling, tweeting, photographing, and planning) in a major city–hopefully DC! You can find her blogging at Steph Went to Washington as she has time.