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.

Alumni Feature: Agaba Bisengo (Spring 2006)

A year ago I accepted a new job at Urwego Opportunity Bank (UOB) in Kigali, Rwanda, where I serve as the Transformation Advancement and Deputy Team Leader. I am in charge of donor relations and grant management. Prior to UOB, I worked as the Executive Assistant to the President of Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) in Arlington VA. I graduated from Ashford University with a Master’s in Business Administration: concentration in Organizational Leadership/Management in 2010. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science: concentration in International Relations and a minor in Economics from Messiah College in 2006. In my final year at Messiah College, I did an internship at the World Vision Office in Washington, DC through the American Studies Program in DC. After graduating from Messiah College, I led a mission of 14 American students to Congo and Rwanda. Their task was to teach math and English and minister to orphans. On March 31, 2009, I learned I had won a full scholarship from Ashford University while as a guest on the Tyra Banks Show. Prior to IGE, I worked as a Research Coordinator for the Corporate Executive Board, a best practice research firm serving over 3,700 leading corporations and nonprofit institutions. I supported three program leaders with editing, client communication, and meeting planning. I have been calling Silver Spring, MD home since 1996. I am married to Alexis Sharangabo and we have two boys: Mihigo and Muhoza.


Agaba is pictured with her husband, Alexis, in front of the Rwanda King’s House in Nyanza, Rwanda

Fall 2013 in Review: Global Development Enterprise

Last semester, GDE worked with World Vision to develop a strategy to market a training manual for very poor farmers.  This was a follow-up to a USAID-funded project in which Spring 2012 GDE students developed the manual on helping these farmers work together to bring their product to global markets.


ImageGDE students Brett Woods (Missouri Baptist University), Christopher McGee (Biola University), Shayla Wakumoto (Biola University), Devin Proctor (Gordon College), Stephanie Grossoehme (Olivet Nazarene University), and Dirk Oudman (Dordt College) outside World Vision’s DC headquarters