Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Public Service Career Fair

After work today we were given the opportunity to attend the Public Service Career Fair at the National Building Museum. When I first showed up, I realized I should have been more prepared. I was part of the 15% or so that wasn’t wearing a full suit, armed with plenty of questions and multiple copies of my resume. Since I wasn’t ready to seriously consider working for any of the participating government agencies, though, I wasn’t too disheartened. It was a great event to go to and just see what the government had to offer for careers. It was a good event to go to because it reminded me just how many careers there are in the federal government, and how appealing an employer the government can be.
Not surprisingly, the longest lines were for the CIA, DIA and the FBI, as well as the other National Security/International Relations-related departments and agencies. While waiting in line for the CIA, we got to listen to an agent in the Clandestine Service and an analyst as well (the analyst was actually taking resumes). What they said was a reaffirmation of what I somewhat already knew: national security agencies want people of various backgrounds, as long as you are intelligent, have a desire to serve your country, and are willing to do or learn something that most others will not—such as serve in a hardship post or learn a non-romantic language. While everyone wants to be the next James Bond, it’s good to know that only the most serious, dedicated, and patriotic of us will actually get inside the national security circles.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The world of journalism to International Politics from a different perspective

Last week I attended a discussion titled "The Participation of Indigenous Peoples in OAS Activities: Recommendations and Next Steps” hosted by the Secretariat for External Relations of the Organization of American States. This seminar explored the indigenous community of Latin America and their relationship with the global community as well as some of the challenges to the indigenous people in the midst of a globalizing world.

The CSB/SJU group met with Al Eisele, Editor at Large at the Hill, a congressional newspaper based in Washington. This proved to be an ideal conference, as it is closely connected to the world of journalism, that I am currently experiencing at my internship to at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Erika Niedowski, an Associate Editor at the Hill, also joined the group. She spoke of her experience as a journalist in Russia as well as the language barrier challenges to reporting and publishing articles.

SJU grad Mr. Steve Yurek, president of AHRI, an air conditioning and heating trade organization also provided value insight in a later seminar meeting with the CSB.SJU group. The discussion with Mr. Yurek and his staff allowed me to take totally different perspective towards the role international affairs and its backbone. It is intriguing to notice how politics is like a thread that weaves through a basically every organization or company. Like the United Nations, CARICOM and the European Union, Trade Organizations also face a number of challenges when it comes to standard and codes in both the developing and developed world.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A nice weekend

This past weekend was a blast. Friday night we were all ready to go out and we had a great time meeting some friends from MN who now live in Georgetown. It was great to catch up with them. Then on Saturday Colin and I walked around the city a bit, ending up perusing the National Archives for the better part of the afternoon. It's great that such an educational place is not only close to where we live, but also free. I was too impatient to stand in the line for the Declaration of Independence. Oh well...maybe I'll come back later and see it. Last night was spent in Adams Morgan for awhile. It's a very cool place--still quite cosmopolitan like Georgetown but a little bit more alternative and quirky. I'll be looking forward to going back and continuing to explore the other areas that DC has to offer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So many firsts...

I have now been in D.C. for about two and a half weeks, even though it seems so much longer! It's such a great place to live for an extended period of time, with so much to do, see and explore! I have experienced so many "firsts" since I have gotten here, most good, but some bad.

Some of those include:

• Walking out my front door to see the US Capitol, Hart Senate Building and the Supreme Court building
• Eating Thai food (which Claire was appalled by!)
• Seeing my first rat/mouse while running by the Capitol
• Hearing a U.S. Supreme Court Justice speak (Sonia Sotomayor)
• Visiting the famous monuments on or around the Mall/Capitol
• Starting work at 9 am
• Being 2 feet away (literally!) from Sec. Of State Hillary Clinton and hearing her speak at the World Food Prize event
• Having squirrels chase you while carrying food
• Walking past Senator McCain on the tram
• Having to pay for plastic bags at stores
• Playing slow pitch on the mall infront of the US Capitol/Washington Memorial
• Giving directions to tourists (I think that makes me no longer a tourist!)
• Shaking hands with Iowa Secretary of Ag. Tom Vilsack
• Getting lost in the underground tunnels of the 3 Senate Buildings
• Being able to eat popcorn no matter what time of day while at work

I am sure there are so many more things that I have experienced or done for the first time since I have been here, but those are probably the highlights. It truly is an extraordinary city and I can't wait to see what else it has in store for me!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finally started working...

I have finally started working at my internship in the DOJ. Technically, I am working in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General.

It has been a bit of a slower start but it should be a very busy summer with the DOJ. We have a lot of new important stuff to work on and I'm excited to get started on it. I'm very pleased with the location of my internship and all of the people I work with. It is also great because the DOJ has a lot of great events and activities for the summer interns, including a trip to the Supreme Court this Monday to hear the Court in session.

Also, in things non-work related, we've been enjoying going to the GWU and meeting other fellow interns, as well as enjoying the nightlife of Georgetown. It's really fun to go out and meet all of these people who share similar interests as myself--even if work is the last thing people want to talk about when it's finally the weekend. Also, Georgetown=expensive.
More to come later this week.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Washington D.C.- A new beginning

I have been in Washington D.C. for almost a month now and I must say the area is engulfed with a number of activities from visiting historical museums, baseball games to even walking through The National Mall, an open-area park spanning from Capitol Hill to Lincoln Memorial.

After reflecting on my first week, I was truly amazed by the two polarities offered by the Nation’s Capitol. On one hand, one is exposed to the commercial and political ambiance of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the White House, Congress and the Pentagon. While on the other hand, open air exercising is readily available. From running and jogging through the streets of downtown D.C. to even the team sports of kickball and softball on the National Mall.

Coming from a region known for “sun, sand and sea” to being an intern in Washington D.C. has been truly eye opening. The last few days have been hot and humid so I often heave a sigh of relief as I enter the air-conditioned office. An ironic statement coming from a Caribbean national, who should be accustomed to a humid climate.

D.C. also offers to interns the opportunity to attend several seminars by The Congressional Summer Series, embassies and notable organizations like the CATO Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center. My first few weeks in Washington have been astounding thus despite my gradual adjustment to the Metro and the summer heat. However, I can already tell that it is going to be an incredible summer.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The first few days

Hello all

I thought I should post something towards the end of our first week here in DC.
I flew in on Monday, and although I was tired and (very) hot when I arrived, the excitement of the city and everything that was going on quickly energized me, and by the time I had settled in to our apartments on Constitution Ave. I couldn't wait to get outside and start seeing everything that was going on around us.
I've had a little more time to do sightseeing and all of that than everyone else has had because I have not started interning yet. Since my internship is in the Dept. of Justice, I have to endure a long background and security check, which as of today has not yet been completed (hopefully I'll start early next week). But being temporarily internship-less isn't so bad. I've been able to really get settled into our place, get chores done and step out into the streets of DC to do a little bit of sightseeing.
The greatest thing about being in DC is that on a simple walk to Bed Bath & Beyond, you'll look up from your phone and see some great institution or awesome landmark. On my way to the Office of Justice Program, where I will presumably be working (glad that it's a walkable distance!) I walked by the Supreme Court building, passed by the Mall, Georgetown Law, as well as other national headquarters of numerous organizations. So much magnitude packed into a few square miles..
We've had a few seminars already from CSB/SJU alum, and it has been really great to hear from these people who were in positions just like us that are now doing awesome things. Peg McGlinch gave us insight into her career that had seen her work years on the Hill to her present career as a lobbyist (while obtaining a JD and Masters from Harvard along the way). We also met Jeff and Kayla, two very recent alum who did the same DC program we are on but had decided to go the step further and turn an internship into an actual job and were now enjoying their time working on the Hill out here in DC.
It's been an awesome first week. I hit me as I was going for an evening run--down to the Washington Monument and back--that I was in a really exciting place at an exciting time of my life, and I know I am going to have a great summer.