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

Bus Day 1

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!

Strategic Communication Snapshot {Fall 2015}

ASP is excited to have 5 trail-blazing students in our new Strategic Communication track this semester, and they have been busy engaging communication leaders in Washington, D.C. Currently, we are putting together a communication campaign for Bread for the World, as well as constructing two case studies – one based on the Ebola Outbreak in 2014 that the students are researching as a group, and the other done individually for their internship offices. Our students have great internship placements this semester at the Washington Redskins’ Business Development and Operations Department;  public relations firm, the Borenstein Group; Genocide Watch; Susan B. Anthony List; and a congressional office.

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Fall 2015 Strategic Communication: program director Peter Baker; Dietrich Heiss, Judson University; Brandan Wilchcombe, Taylor University; Christine Orr, Azusa Pacific University; Jodie Howard, Messiah College; Victoria Goebel, Gordon College; and ASP fellow in strategic communication Jacque Isaacs

We started our first week by meeting with Jared Noetzel, Church Relations Coordinator at Bread for the World. The students will be developing and presenting a communication campaign to Bread in three parts: a Formative Research Paper, analyzing tools such as a public relations audit and a SWOT analysis to build the foundation for their communication campaign; a Strategic Plan, working with Bread to establish goals and objectives for the campaign; and an Evaluation and Monitoring Plan, which will help measure and determine to what degree the campaign has achieved its goals. This has been a great experience for the students to work with a real client, understand their mission and vision, and apply what we are learning in the classroom in a way that creates value for a DC-based Christian organization.

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Strat Comm at Bread for the World

Next, we began work on the Strategic Communication case studies. The students are writing a group case study about the Ebola Outbreak in 2014, focusing on a communication decision that was influential which helps us to understand the big picture. We met with four professionals who actively worked on the Ebola Outbreak in 2014. First, we went to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and met with Marty Bahamonde, Director of Disaster Operations in the Office of External Affairs. FEMA’s strategic communication team worked directly with the CDC as they responded to the unfolding crisis. The student’s also video-conferenced with Rev. Susan Sytsma Bratt, associate pastor at Northridge Presbyterian Church, which is located in the Dallas community where the first Ebola victim in the USA was staying. She shared a fascinating first-person perspective on communication in Dallas during the crisis and how she and her church chose to respond.

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Strat Comm at FEMA

We also met with Jonathan V. Last, reporter at the Weekly Standard, who covered the case closely. He provided valuable insight to the students about what was being told to the media, when, and by whom. Lastly, we met with Caroline Booth, the communication director for Congressman Pete Sessions, whose district includes Texas Presbyterian Health Hospital, the focus of the Ebola crisis. The next step of this case study is for the students conduct their own primary research and interview more professionals. We can’t wait to see who they are able to speak with!

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Strat Comm at Congressman Pete Session’s office

Strategic Communication concludes its first half of the semester by sending each student to their internships with the assignment of identifying a decision point at their offices that they can focus on for their individual case study. This is a great opportunity for the students to add value to their internship placement sites. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve travelled in just a few short weeks. Next week, the students will present the research portion of their communication campaign to Bread for the World. We are thankful for all of the opportunities that are being made available to our students, and we are excited for the good work they are completely this semester.

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Internship Spotlight I {Fall 2015}

Fall 2015 students just finished the third week of their internships! Three students took a few moments to report on what they’re doing and what they’ve learned.

Jennifer Mayorga, University of Northwestern – St. Paul

Jennifer1I am the Immigration Policy Project Intern at the National Conference of State Legislatures. My internship has offered me an opportunity to reconnect with my first policy love: immigration. Coming from an immigrant family and recognizing all the issues related to our broken immigration system, I knew I had to come to Washington D.C. to learn about and get up to date on what our government is doing. My internship supervisor has allowed me the opportunity to attend a variety of hearings and briefings that expose me to the key players in the immigration debate.

My most recent project didn’t actually have to do with the type of immigration issues I grew up with but with the refugee crisis that has turned into a hot topic in Congress. I spent two weeks researching every website on refugee resettlement and reading reports from a variety of organizations and government offices. My supervisor asked me to create a fact sheet that she could take to informational sessions with legislators and governors. I was intimidated by the caliber of writing I was expected to produce! I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I saw my own senators advocate for more refugees and use our state as an example of a welcoming community. I saw my government, my democracy in action that day, and I think that is what has made my internship such a valuable experience for me. The opportunity to research and write and truly understand the barriers we face when creating public policy has been one of the biggest lessons I have learned during my short time at NCSL.

Eric Hensel, Gordon College

Eric1This semester in D.C., I’m interning in the office of Senator Kelly Ayotte of NH. This past summer, I interned in the senator’s state office and absolutely loved it. I definitely made the right decision to intern for her in D.C. There’s something special about the Hill. The atmosphere is intense, fast paced, and invigorating. The other day I was walking through the Capitol and passed John McCain — no big deal. Everywhere you turn, there is someone who has a hand in shaping the policy of the free world. It’s both incredibly intimidating and incredibly exhilarating all at once. I’ve gotten to do some amazing work in the area of defense while in Senator Ayotte’s office. As I’ve spent time preparing for briefings, I’ve found out firsthand not only that congressional staffers are mind-blowingly brilliant, but also that the issues they work on are really interesting!

My favorite moment of my internship so far happened a few days ago. I got a chance, near the end of the day, just to explore the Capitol all by myself. I made my way to the rotunda and found myself all alone. It was intensely quiet, and I was floored by a realization. Here I was, all alone, in the Capitol dome of the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth. It was beyond amazing to truly take in the rotunda, really examine the paintings, and just marvel at where I was. There’s something intensely beautiful about the quiet Capitol, and I was incredibly fortunate enough to wander into it. That’s the great thing about D.C. and ASP: you’ll stumble into a phenomenal experience right when you weren’t expecting it.

Brandan Wilchcombe, Taylor University

Brandan1I am originally from the Bahamas, and now I live in Indiana and attend Taylor University. I never thought I would actually be here in Washington D.C., interning for the Washington Redskins Business Development and Operations Department, but I am, and it is awesome. At the games, I assist with handing out the field passes, and sometimes I walk the clients down to the field or take them into the tunnel access area. I also shadow my supervisor while he checks the suites. During the Redskins’ season opener against the Dolphins, I got to meet the Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe and take a picture with him. When we went into our suite to watch the rest of the game, I met former NBA player Marcus Camby and actor Colton Haynes. Serena Williams was even there! This was a great start to my job, but besides working games, I also have office work. My tasks include entering and updating client information in our CRM, doing research, writing biographies for clients, and reaching out to clients about invitations. While I work, players from the team often walk by! At first it was shocking to see Robert Griffin III walking past, but now it just seems like a normal day. So far my internship has been great. I am really working hard, but there is still more I need to learn before I am done. I am really thankful for my supervisor because he is teaching me a lot. He is very determined and hard-working and does his best to make sure everything is done right.

Besides my internship, I am really enjoying this time working with my team in the Communications track. We are working hard and doing our best to complete our case studies and client work. ASP is a really good program, especially for new experiences and opportunities.

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

Bus Day 2 {Spring 2015}

As part of the Neighborhood Engagement component of their semester, students participate in several “Bus Days,” scavenger hunts throughout the city.  Click through the slides and videos below to see the experiences of three groups on Bus Day 2 this weekend.

Mount Pleasant in northwest DC:

with Alexcis Albert (Vanguard University), Tim Carr (Gordon College), Alberto Sanchez (Fresno Pacific University), and Patricia Vazquez (Fresno Pacific University)

Brookland in northeast DC:

with Hannah Crites (Franciscan University), Neakzaad Horriat (Biola University), Savannah Scherkenback (Azusa Pacific University), and Chelsea Tyson (Regent University)

Adams Morgan in northwest DC:

with Carolina Alvarado (Taylor University), Katie Barany (Eastern University), Eric Corona (Biola University), Jacob Fusek (Southeastern University), and Danica Smithwick (Union University)

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}