Political Science

Arlington Diocese Migration and Refugee Services

Congressional Award Foundation

Constituency for Africa

Department of Labor

Federal Trade Commission

Meridian International Center

Office of the Attorney General for D.C.

Polish American Congress

Potomic Institute for Policy Studies

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)

Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL)

Tricom Associates

 

Arlington Diocese Migration and Refugee Services

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

My internship at Arlington Diocese’s Refugee Services granted me the chance to perform in a professional setting and to learn from a variety of different people. Through my work, I have interacted with staff and clients from all over the globe, which has greatly expanded my knowledge in international studies. I have developed excellent people skills, team building skills, initiated many new projects, and have gained hands on experience in a diverse environment. My assignment mainly focused on the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Project, performing duties such as interviewing families, students, teachers, and other school personnel, as well as compiling resources for the families. I feel as though my work at Arlington Refugee Services has fulfilled my overall goal while in Washington D.C., which was to gain experience working either as an advocate or in a policy-making position involved with African countries and African immigrants. Furthermore, the many components of The Washington Center program along with my internship kept me well-rounded while in Washington D.C. and enriched my learning throughout this past semester.

Given that there were many tasks I was responsible for at the Arlington Diocese’s Refugee Services and at The Washington Center, I initially developed my own academic, professional, personal, and civic goals, in order to remain focused throughout my time here in Washington D.C. I can proudly say that I was able to achieve all of my goals over the past four months, and in many ways I have surpassed them.

My work at Arlington Refugee Services was my first experience in a professional office setting. From this, I learned that I really enjoy working full time and that I transitioned well from the routine of a college student to the routine of a professional. When I began my internship, I wanted to gain better people skills in an office setting. I succeeded in this task by conducting interviews with incoming refugee clients, and learning from the staff about their various skills and duties on the job. I also built better communication skills because it was necessary to penetrate language and cultural barriers with my diverse colleagues and refugee clients on a daily basis.

I also coordinated an educational workshop for teenage girls, in which we discussed adolescent issues. It was a huge success in that we had thirteen girls attend who originated from countries such as; Somalia, Kenya, Iran, and Afghanistan. I led a discussion about high school in the United States and the girls compared their experiences to the schools in their home countries. The workshop gave me the opportunity to learn about the different countries, and I explained to the girls that it is possible to preserve the culture of their home country and be a happy teenager in the U.S. The workshop improved my speaking and people skills, and gave me a chance to connect with some of our refugee students.

I feel very fortunate to have worked at Arlington Refugee Services, because it has allowed me to assimilate my classroom knowledge on African studies with the hands on work with African refugees that I performed in the office. I initiated my own independent project in which I took an account of discussions I conducted with refugee clients about what their homeland life was like, what political issues are poignant, what their cultural differences are from other ethnic groups in their countries, etc. I also discussed with the staff and refugee clients about African topics I have learned in my studies at the University of Iowa, and compared information. Furthermore, The Washington Center program helped expand my knowledge on Africa when they had Lynn Fredriksson, the Advocacy Director for Africa, from Amnesty International come speak to the international affairs program students. She spoke about the genocide in Darfur, Sudan and the actions that are taking place amongst the global community.

Since I will be searching for a job after graduating this May, I have been networking with various African organizations that concentrate on African policy, advocacy and lobbying. I have built many contacts in D.C. and have met one-on-one with Lynn Fredriksson from Amnesty International and Sam Bell from The Genocide Intervention Network. Both gave me great advice on what my next steps should be in order to obtain a job in African affairs. I am currently in contact with Cynthia Berning from the Congo Coalition, which is an organization working to bring public and government awareness to the violence in the Congo. I would really like to join the Congo conference calls, and organize a student group in Iowa at the university next semester.

As part of my academic goals, I wanted to improve upon my Swahili speaking skills that I learned at the University of Iowa, because I am planning a trip to Tanzania this May. In order to do this, I had conversations in Swahili with the three Swahili speaking staff members at Arlington Refugee Services. Many refugees flee to refugee camps in Kenya while waiting to be resettled in the U.S. and learn Swahili in the camps’ schools. Therefore, I met numerous refugee clients that spoke Swahili that I also tried to converse with. It was very beneficial to me to be able to practice my Swahili speaking, and I do feel as though I made improvements conversationally.

Aside from work, the class that I enrolled in at The Washington Center was taught by Professor Colman McCarthy and titled, “Peaceful Solutions: An Alternative to Violence.” I wanted to familiarize myself with peace studies and non-violent alternatives to war, and I accomplished this by attending my class weekly and completing the assigned readings. Professor McCarthy focused his lectures on awakening us to the violent patterns of our government in hopes to open our minds to a more peaceful future. I found him to be very wise and I value his view points. Therefore, I met with Professor McCarthy outside of class to talk to him about his background in peace studies and things that he has accomplished.

Both Professor McCarthy and The Washington Center stressed the importance of being civically engaged. I feel very strongly for Africa and the issues that plague the continent, so I wanted to educate the community on African issues and mobilize public outreach. One of the many ways I reached out to people was to research and compose pamphlets containing information about the hardship situations that our refugee clients come from to inform the sponsor families from the local churches. The sponsor families buy Christmas gifts and food for the families who are struggling financially. The pamphlets are a way to make the sponsor families aware of the reasons why people of African countries, such as Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, and Sudan, are seeking refuge in the U.S.

Because of my job at Arlington Refugee Services and my focus on the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Project (VRSAP), my compassion for Africa broadened and fostered a deep caring for these refugees. Therefore, I found it equally important to educate the community on refugees and their circumstances. Due to the large population of refugees in Northern Virginia and the wide diversity of many local schools, I contacted teachers throughout the Fairfax County Public School System and offered to present to students about how refugees differ from other immigrants and highlight the regions that many of the refugees are fleeing from and the issues surrounding those regions. On December 1st, I presented two different programs to the students of St. Mark’s Catholic Grade School in Vienna, VA. We showed video clips describing who refugees are, and then performed activities that taught the children what it is like to be a stranger to a new country. Overall, we wanted to send the message that refugees are people just like other Americans, but have come to America in a different way.

I also helped create our fundraising project in which we conducted an art contest for our refugee students. We encouraged the students to draw pictures of things they find peaceful or things that made them happy. Then we chose ten of the drawings to make into stationary cards that we are selling to raise money for school supplies and scholarships for the refugee students enrolled in the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Project. The stationary cards will also teach community members about refugees, because we included an informational message on the backside of each card.

All of us working with the Virginia Refugee Student Achievement Project emphasize our outreach to our students and those also involved in their aid. Therefore, on December 8th we hosted a Recognition/Celebration Banquet to honor our students who are showing great improvement, and to thank all those who are making that improvement possible. We asked teachers, counselors, and other school personnel to nominate students who they felt have done extraordinarily well over the past 4 months. It was my task to craft proposals for numerous local businesses requesting for food and prize donations. I was fairly successful, and restaurants generously donated dinner platters and gift certificates. The planning efforts I executed for the banquet caused me to reach out to the local community for assistance so that our banquet could be a very special event for our students and all of those who have encouraged their learning. This is an excellent example of our organization working together with the community for the good of our students and the cause of our program. It is practical work experience to help coordinate the banquet and the donations, especially if I plan to continue non-profit work.

Furthermore, I volunteered for the Bishop T. Walker dinner hosted by Africare. Africare is a leading non-profit organization that dedicates itself to bringing aid to Africa and improves the quality of life for Africans. This dinner is the annual fundraiser that Africare hosts to raise money for the organization’s various programs. I was so happy to have the opportunity to help Africare since the organization does wonderful things for the continent of Africa. President Bill Clinton was the key note speaker and was awarded the 2006 John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award. He spoke of the accomplishments the Clinton Foundation has achieved across the African continent. He also commented on the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and explained his dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration’s lack of concern. However, I was most touched when ten AIDS orphans from Mozambique, who were helped by Africare’s COPE project, performed for the entire crowd. They were amazing singers and dancers, and it was incredible to meet the children and hear them present. This volunteering experience was very rewarding because Bill Clinton’s speech taught me of the most recent conditions in Africa, and I was able to help raise money for humanitarian aid.

On a personal level, I wanted to take advantage of all that The Washington Center program had to offer socially. I have befriended many other Washington Center students and all of my work colleagues at Arlington Refugee Services. My new friends are invaluable and from all over the world. My friends and I have done many unique things together such as; going to museums, ice skating, and even making Sunday brunch together. I have also absorbed the many sights and memorials in D.C., and I even took a weekend bus trip to New York City. The only personal goal I fell short of was losing excess weight. I did become fit and walked to many places around the city, but I did not lose fifteen to twenty pounds. I did lose five, which is a good start! After living in D.C. for nearly four months, I thought the wonderment of living in the nation’s capital would have faded. Instead, I have fallen in love with working and living in this area, and I am still taken back by all the sights. I feel very well established in D.C., both professionally and socially, and I wish The Washington Center program was not coming to a close.

All in all, my experiences at Arlington Diocese’s Refugee Services and at The Washington Center have benefited me in immeasurable ways. Using my practical job experience that I've garnered, as well as the contacts I've made, I will attempt to find a job in the African advocacy field. I have improved upon my speaking, writing, people, and team building skills, which are imperative in the professional world. Additionally, I have been exposed to a unique work environment full of diversity that has enriched my learning. Over these past months that I have worked with refugees from Africa and other parts of the world, I have found them to be products of the world’s best conditions and its worst. The stories of the refugees I worked with during my internship increased my knowledge, and I discovered that those who many people view as hopeless are the most hopeful and happy people. My wish is to use my knowledge of what issues are in largest need of attention from the refugees I talked with, so that later I can help influence policies that address these needs. The Washington Center has more than adequately prepared me for this task, and I am confident in saying that I am more qualified for a job in African advocacy after having been a part of the program.

Thank you, Mr. Fitzgerald, for pointing me in the right direction, and helping me throughout my semester in Washington D.C. Your guidance, along with The Washington Center program has helped enlighten me in regards to my future career path.

 

Congressional Award Foundation

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

It has been a pleasure doing an internship through the Washington Center this semester and I want to thank you for your guidance through the application process. The experiences that I have had in Washington, D.C. have shaped numerous aspects of my life. Through my internship at The Congressional Award Foundation (CAF) I have developed new skills professionally, in leadership, and personally. Living in Washington, D.C. has given me the ability to contribute to the community and to understand more productive ways in helping with a political campaign. The class that I was required to take through The Washington Center has taught me time management skills as well as, the different functions of policymaking triangles. Overall my semester in Washington, D.C. has been a rewarding experience that will continue to help me in my future endeavors.

I know that you mentioned that you did not know much about the organization, so I included a brief summary of the organization for you. CAF is a non-profit organization that was signed into law by former President Jimmy Carter in 1979. It is congress’ only award for youth and has been referred to as congress’ only charity since it does not get any federal appropriations. Anybody from the ages of 13 and a half to 23 are eligible to earn the Congressional Award. To earn the award the youth donate a set number of hours on each of the following categories: Personal Development, Physical Fitness, Expedition/Exploration, and Volunteer Public Service.

My internship at CAF has given me a chance to look at various areas of the Washington, D.C. work force. First, being a non-profit organization CAF has proven to me that I can work efficiently without modern technology. Our computers are approximately ten years old and only a few of them have internet access. These two factors have effected my work at CAF more than one would expect. Doing an internship at a non-profit organization like CAF gives an intern more experiences than at most other placements. I was put in charge of a lot throughout the semester and this taught me how to become a successful leader.

Another area that CAF is involved in is “lobbying” congress, although, it is not what would be considered “normal” lobbying. Our organization lobbies members of congress to be involved in CAF. Members of congress help CAF get donations from corporations by attending events that are set up by CAF. Also, members of congress are expected to award constituents medals in ceremonies that can be held in the district. The gold medal is awarded during the Gold Medal Ceremony in June. Here all of the CAF Gold Medalist are awarded medals by their member of congress and are able to attend a week long tour of the Washington, D.C. area.

CAF has also taught me a lot about event planning in the Washington, D.C area. There have been numerous events that have been held by CAF since I have been in Washington, D.C. and I have had a lot of responsibly in all of them. One of our most successful events was the Georgia Delegation Reception. My involvement in this event included drafting both invitations to the event and thank you letters to those who attended, setting up the room of the event, helping to choose a venue and a menu, and running the door of the event. All of these aspects were important to the success of the event, and through the work of my supervisor on the event Adam Drucker (Program Manager) and myself we got most members of the Georgia Delegation to attend the event, including both Senators.

My internship at the CAF has given me the tools to figure out what careers I would be most interested in after graduating. I had always been interested in working for the executive branch of government, but through my internship I have learned how interest the legislative branch is. When I graduate from the University of Iowa I would like to work for a member of congress.

The Washington Center course that have been enrolled in (Policymaking Triangles: The Executive Branch, Congress, and Interest Group Advocacy) has been one of the most challenging experiences during my semester in Washington, D.C.. This course has required the students to write seven 3-5 page papers, participate in a lobbying simulation, complete a final presentation, write a 10-15 page final paper, and take a final exam. The short papers that we have been required to write have been extensive analysis of a chosen organization. These papers are assigned with only one week to complete and normally need for me to contact my organization. This class has been time consuming. Although, I have learned a lot about interest groups and advocacy.

For my civic engagement project I volunteered at the Capitol Area Food Bank. There I assembled bags of food for elderly people in the Maryland area. These bags were important because these citizens were given a list of what would be included in the bags and they were to go grocery shopping for the entire month to get items that would be able to be cooked with the items in the bag. After my group completed the bags, we were then assigned to sort food into numerous containers. Volunteering was rewarding and I intend to volunteer more when I return to Iowa City.

I have become involved in former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s campaign through a face book group on the internet. One of my former classmates has put together a group that is dedicated to helping Giuliani win the nomination from the Republican Party for Republican Presidential candidate in 2008. Here they have went to different events that have been held by Giuliani and are trying to spread his name around the University of Iowa’s campus. Being in Washington, D.C has hindered my participation in these events, but I have actively participated in emails and inviting people to join the group. When I return to Iowa City I plan to become more involved in this group and also to give the members of the group some insight through my experiences in Washington, D.C..

Most importantly, while being in Washington, D.C. for the last three and a half months I improved on many skills. I have learned how to write more professionally through my internship. Not only did I have to draft letters for the Georgia Delegation Reception, but I have also drafter letters for numerous aspects of the Congressional Award Gold Ceremony. Including letters to Key Note speakers like former President Jimmy Carter and actress Ashley Judd. Through my internship I have also made major connections in Washington, D.C.. My networking skills have vastly improved and they will hopefully earn me a career when I graduate from the University of Iowa.

Doing an internship in Washington, D.C. is an experience that most people are not able to have. Just being out here puts me one step closer to obtaining a job in Washington, D.C. when I graduate. Although, without the networking skills, the numerous skills learned at CAF, and The Washington Center, I would not be able to know where to start looking. My semester out here has been rewarding in many aspects, but it also has challenged me in more ways than I thought that it would. As the semester comes to an end I will return to Iowa City with a new outlook on careers and of course a new outlook on the area of Washington, D.C and the careers that it holds.

 

Constituency For Africa

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

I am writing in regards to my status and accreditation of my internship for the spring of 2006 with the Washington Center in Washington, D.C. At the beginning of my internship I was asked to create a list of academic, professional, personal and civic goals to help make possible an experiential experience. As an intern with the Washington Center my experience has far exceeded my own expectations. It has allowed me to dig deeper into myself and given me the opportunities to use my academic knowledge in the real world. Over the last five months I have been interning at the Constituency for Africa (CFA), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization whose goal is to develop a strategy to build organized support for Africa in the United States. CFA has been involved in educating the U.S. public with regards to Africa, particularly in the area of U.S. foreign policy.

My role at CFA consisted of attending lectures, forums, and receptions to get information on key issues surrounding Africa. As an intern at CFA I interviewed key people with probing questions, then investigated and researched further to get all sides of a situation in order to come up with a comprehensive picture of an issue. My responsibility as an intern was then to create a report of what I had learned and my suggestions on policy recommendations and how CFA could help in creating awareness about the issue surrounding that country.

At CFA, I got the opportunity to meet one on one with ambassadors from the Embassies of Namibia, Chad, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria to discuss and report issues such as health, education, the economy, and other important issues surrounding the country. After meeting with the ambassadors I wrote reports on the country and researched further on things of interest to me, particularly land resettlement and oil. By interviewing and collecting information from lectures, forums, and personal research, I was able to not only learn about the country but also to see what role the United States plays in Africa and how the Untied States can help in policy issues towards African nations. To be a part of getting awareness of the situations occurring in Africa, my colleague, Ann Lyons and I wrote editorials to major newspapers to attempt to help generate greater concern on the situation in Darfur that is spilling over into neighboring Chad. Not only did I write editorials to newspapers but I also participated in two Darfur rallies and a global night commute which mimics the nightly commute the Ugandan children must face.

My first academic goal included familiarizing myself regarding African culture, society, and the economy. I attained this goal by attending forums, lectures, and other African events to learn about African culture and society. I also attended the Smithsonian African Art Museum to familiarize myself with African art and culture. I committed myself to reading current events concerning Africa in the newspaper, online and magazines. I was also given the opportunity to talk to several people who are from Africa, such as ambassadors, to learn about the culture, society and economy of their country. My second academic goal was to gain a better understanding and insight into my class, “Peace Studies: A Solution to Violence.” By attending class and completing all reading and writing assignments, such as writing a reflective journal, and actively participating in class discussions I was able to gain a better understanding and insight into what Peace Studies is and why it is important to teach peace. One of the things I have taken away from “Peace Studies: A Solution to Violence”, is that violence is not the solution to creating lasting peace. Only by using peaceful means to end violence is it possible to gain sustainable peace.

My third academic goal was to enhance my verbal and written communication skills. One of the ways in which I achieved this goal was to participate in conversations with knowledgeable individuals, such as ambassadors and other key figures. Speaking with these knowledgeable individuals allowed me to gain confidence in myself to ask probing questions. My first embassy visit I went to was by myself with Ambassador Hopelong Ipinge from the Embassy of Namibia. This visit with Ambassador Hopelong was very rewarding because it helped me become comfortable with my speaking skills, which gave me confidence to speak to others about Africa.

With the help of my supervisor and my colleagues, my first professional goal in completing projects requested to be done at CFA was achieved by setting up a conference with my co-workers to understand the issues, aims, and objectives of the projects assigned. As an intern I actively participated in the projects that were assigned and managed my time so that pressing projects were done on time.

My second and third professional goals go hand in hand. My second professional goal was to understand how American people effectively influence the U.S. in its foreign policy agenda. The first thing I was able to do was observe how individuals and organizations, specifically CFA, gets involved in influencing U.S. Foreign Policy. The second thing I was able to do was to become actively involved in helping influence positive U.S. foreign policy agendas towards Africa. In particular, my involvement with protesting in February for the United States, who was the leader during its month-long presidency in the Security Council at the United Nations, to issue a resolution for immediate and concrete action to stop genocide by protecting the people of Darfur. I also was able to write editorials to major newspapers on this conflict, principally to create awareness on the effects it has on neighboring Chad. Because I was unaware of exactly how advocating and lobbying works, my third professional goal was to learn the integral parts of advocating and lobbying. By observing and asking questions concerning the functions of CFA and other institutions I was able to see how advocating and lobbying works.

My last professional goal was to network with organizations and individuals committed to Africa. By talking with organizations committed to helping Africa, ambassadors, representatives, and others I was able to get their comments and talk about some of the things that can be done to help Africa regarding the issues I was interested in. My opportunity to talk with Ambassadors and with the World Bank representative for the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project allowed me to receive comments on one of my areas of interest, oil in Africa. By attending the events that CFA was invited to, I was able to hear about issues, such as humanitarian aid, challenges for security, and HIV/AIDS and then talk with people concerning these pressing issues.

My first personal goal was to organize my time and be prepared for events so that my stay in Washington D.C was productive and experiential. By keeping a detailed planner to schedule events, researching and preparing ahead of time for events, and setting aside time to work on course assignments, readings and other important issues that needed focused on, I was able to attain this goal.

My second personal goal was to determine what I would like to pursue in the future. One of the things I was able to do while interning was talk and observe people who have the same areas of interest as me. Three things that have appealed to me that I would like to do in the future is join the Peace Corps, become a Foreign Service Officer, and go to graduate school in either the field of economics or international affairs.

By volunteering at the Samaritan Inn on April 7, 2006, I was able to fulfill my first civic goal. The Samaritan Inn is located at 2423 14th Street, N.W. in Washington D.C. and helps recovering addicts make the transition back into society after going through an intensive recovery program. All the men have obtained employment and learn money management and get support. At the Samaritan Inn, we cooked supper, served and got to eat supper with about ten men. Hearing about the trials and tribulations of the men and seeing how thankful they were that people came to cook, serve, and eat with them, was a very rewarding opportunity.

My second civic goal was to involve myself in political activities. To achieve this goal not only did I take part in protests, I also achieved this goal by contacting my local congressmen on issues relaying my position on ruthless arms brokers who continue to fuel the world’s conflicts, particularly in Africa.

My experience with the Washington Center and interning at CFA was beyond my expectations. When I first came to CFA, I had very little knowledge concerning Africa. As an intern was able to learn and expand what little knowledge I had to a whole new level. The things I was able to learn about and was able to participate in have made lasting impressions on what I would like to do in the future. Not only has my experience at CFA been rewarding for me but while interning at CFA, I feel that I represented the organization in a positive way and helped contribute with the knowledge I gained back to the organization.

In closing, I hope that you will consider my performance and the knowledge I have gained during my internship with The Washington Center at CFA for credit at the University of Iowa.

 

Department of Labor

Mr. Fitzgerald,

Washington DC has been an experience unlike any other. It has allowed for me to grow in a variety of areas from becoming more mature in the work environment to simply surviving in an area with a high cost of living.

I believe the latter example proved to be the most worthwhile experience. Given the fact that I lived at home throughout the duration of my college career, considering that I was originally from Iowa City, I had never lived on my own for such a length of time. Never before have I been so separated from family and friends, either by distance or level of contact. This is because I have created a life for myself out here. Meeting new people, working at the Department of Labor were the focus of my time out here.

In the beginning of this internship I was required to complete a Learning Objective Statement or LOS. This paper was designed with the purpose of laying out certain goals for the semester term. These goals included: Civic Engagement, Academic, Professional and Personal.

Before I go into those goals I must profess that I found the TWC academic requirements of this entire semester ridiculous and a complete waste of my time. The job experience in itself should have been adequate to gain credit hours. I was out here to work and not to be consumed in writing papers. What you will find in the material below is that by and large, I was not able to complete most of the goals I outlined for myself. This was because the requirements of my workplace largely prevented me from participating in them.

Aside from Mondays, which was freed up in the afternoons only because I had to be at a required TWC event, I worked a 9-5:30 shift every day. Every time I took off to go to one of the events, I was not paid. When I come home, I am like everyone else. I have certain things that need to be done whether it was washing clothes, shopping for groceries etc. The last thing on my mind is compiling the numerous papers that are required throughout the term. This seems like an unnecessary burden at the end of the day.

With that issue addressed I will move onto my LOS. The first set of goals on my LOS was my Academic goals. My goals in this section were to attend a Supreme Court hearing and learn the processing of a bill before it reaches the floor. As of today I have accomplished neither of these goals. Why is that? This is the case simply because I have not had the time to invest in attending these events. Supreme Court hearings and committee hearings occur only Monday through Friday, thus while these events are going on, I am at work. I do anticipate that I will be able to attend a Supreme Court event in the near future.

My Professional Goals were to understand the inner workings of the Department of Labor and to continue to increase my professional skills. As a member of the Office of the 21st Century Workforce within the Office of the Secretary, I have gotten an interesting insight into the internal political workings of the department. Our office deals primarily with the workforce training programs. These programs are initiatives sponsored by the Secretary herself and were not in existence before she came along.

In terms of understanding the inner workings at the department, I would say that I have gained a great insight into how relationships are forged and how staff members interact with other departments. This was most notable when departmental events occur. Everyone who expects to receive help with their own events volunteer for everyone else’s events. There is also no quick rise to anger when someone doesn’t do something right or is moving too slowly in processing your request. If you do get angry, you tend to get the opposite effect. The process will move even slower. This also includes turf battles. People don’t appreciate it when you do something that is within the realm of their influence. For example, the White House recently called over my office’s director to ensure that our upcoming training event doesn’t conflict with the White House’s own initiatives. If they had made the determination that our events did encroach on their turf, we would have likely lost their support and their funding.

In terms of increasing my professional skills, I would say that I have made great strides in this goal. Before my arrival at Labor, I worked only retail service. This can be a serious environment, requiring good customer service skills, but most of the time the environment was casual. My position at Labor requires a professional attitude nearly at all times. I must react quickly to requests and be able to come through on any request without arguing the merits of the request. The finished product must also be of high quality, sometimes needing me to anticipate certain requirements that were unsaid when they were asked for. Based off my own personal evaluation, I believe that I have done an excellent job of adapting myself to this environment. I would say that however, even in a professional environment it is not without its moments of stupidity and inefficiency. This has required me to extend my patience beyond its normal boundaries. To blow up at the situation would not produce any good results.

My civic goals were to attend a Supreme Court hearing and attend a protest or a counter protest that I agree with. I already discussed the Supreme Court issue, but in terms of attending a demonstration, there really hasn’t been a major protest to attend as of late. The last major protest occurred before I had my LOS written; therefore, I did not attend the event.

My personal goals were to learn how to conduct myself in a professional environment and to increase my network of contacts. Conducting myself in a professional manner was not very difficult to do. Through my projects, most notably a dinner event in which I created a game show for DOL staff members, I showed that I could create a team building game without a great deal of supervision. When I did need guidance on how the program was advancing I was able to coordinate meetings with people across offices to reach an agreement on the end result of the project. I also have been able to absorb without complaint any project that has come my way, which has included research, errands, and paper writing. Sometimes all at once.

Increasing my contacts started slowly due to the fact that my supervisors made no attempt to introduce me to anyone. I eventually made my own by reaching out to other members of offices. Contacts have included a White House Liaison, British Embassy Staff and private sector contacts. Whether or not these people will aid my job search or fulfill some unknown purpose is still up in the air, but nonetheless they have proved willing to talk to me and discuss my ambitions for my future. It’s a start.

 

Federal Trade Commission

Dear. Mr. Fitzgerald:

My time in Washington, D.C. has been an extremely worthwhile and rewarding experience. I want to thank you and the University of Iowa for providing me with this opportunity. I also would like to thank you for your continued communication with the Iowa interns throughout our time here. Being a lifelong Iowan, moving to the nation’s capital has been an eye-opening experience. I have been able to be a part of things I never imagined possible and for that I am incredibly grateful. This experience has positively affected my life and I will never forget my semester here.

Near the beginning of my internship, I submitted a list of academic, professional, civic and personal goals I sought to achieve throughout the semester.

My academic situation through The Washington Center was peculiar. However, in the end my class proved to be successful and worthwhile. The professor who began teaching our human rights class did not continue teaching beyond the 10th week. The situation was unfortunate but the class was lackluster and repetitive. The rest of the semester, our class was interactive, interesting, informative and fun. My first academic goal was to gain a broader understanding of human rights. The last portion of the semester, with the new professor, provided me with a great understanding of human rights issues both presently and in the past.

My second academic goal was to explore new ways of learning. Both professors this semester offered different teaching methods which allowed me an opportunity to observe each professor’s unique teaching style. I enjoyed how both professors tried to make the class as interactive as possible. I really enjoy this approach. Many of my classes at the University of Iowa are interactive so this was very familiar to me. My classmates were extremely enjoyable personally and intellectually. Our class was very diverse which allowed for many different opinions and viewpoints. Everyone knew everyone else’s name in the class which allowed for a close, relaxed atmosphere.

After our professor changed, the class became much more educational and enjoyable. I believe it showed a great deal of character for our class to continue to attend class each and every week and make every attempt possible to make the best of each class. I believe I exceeded my academic goals and learned more in the few great weeks of class than I have in some full-time semester long courses I have taken before.

My professional goals focused primarily on learning as much as possible. My first goal was focused on learning about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its inner workings. My time here at the Commission has taught me a great deal. I have attended congressional hearings involving the FTC, worked directly with attorneys and other legal staff and was given substantive, interesting tasks. The staff in my department was not at all hesitant about allowing the interns to become fully involved. They gave us jobs that were meaningful, worthwhile and important to the cases at hand. I am very pleased with the quality and quantity of work given to me, and also the willingness of everyone in the office to provide us with substantive work.

My next professional goal was broader and sought to gain a new understanding of working in a professional environment. The atmosphere in my division was more laid back than I originally thought it would be. It allowed for creativity and it made my time at the FTC very comfortable. I worked closely with the staff on a variety of projects and completed them in a very timely fashion. It was a pleasure to work in my division and will miss everyone after the internship is over.

In Washington, D.C., I learned a lot about the culture and history and achieved the goals I set out to achieve in my civic goals. My first goal was to learn as much as I could about the city currently and historically. I found that nearly everywhere in this city has some sort of history behind it. I did something every weekend while I was here. I visited many museums, art galleries, monuments and other sites of interest. I took a night trolley tour one night and learned a great deal about many sites throughout the city. I went to historical Ford’s Theatre and watched a political satirist and also attended a protest in the pouring rain with a friend I met in my apartment building who is also an intern through The Washington Center. I observed a great deal during my short time here and will miss seeing the beautiful sites of Washington, D.C. that I see everyday.

My second civic goal was to become a valuable member of society in Washington, D.C. I volunteered for the National Multiple Sclerosis Walk in April. It was a very rewarding experience. My mother has Multiple Sclerosis so when I learned I was going to be in Washington, D.C. for a semester, I planned on being involved in the walk somehow. I arrived at 6:15 in the morning to help set up and get ready for the participants to arrive. During the check-in time I assisted a drug representative with her booth and instructed participants on how to get checked-in. I learned that there are an enormous amount of people who care because the crowd was amazing. I also realized that I need to become more involved when I return to Iowa. I had a great time and hope to return soon to participate in the Multiple Sclerosis Walk. I also wanted to give to those less fortunate while in Washington, D.C. Coins seemed to always accumulate in my coat pockets. Often times I would give those asking for change a small handful of coins from my pocket. I realized that the change from my pockets was just accumulating and cluttering up my bedroom so I might as well give it away to those who need it more than I do.

My fourth and final set of goals dealt with personal goals. Personally I think I learned and accomplished the most. One of my goals was to learn about others’ beliefs and cultures. There is such a diverse group in The Washington Center program and also residing in Washington, D.C. I have made friends from all over the country and world. I learned a great deal from those in my class, individuals in my apartment building and even people I met randomly. This diversity provided me with many opportunities to have a new perspective on how I perceive different situations.

I also personally wanted to learn better time management skills and to enjoy myself. I have never had to manage my time so carefully before. At times it was stressful trying to balance various tasks and issues both at my job and in my spare time. I learned how to work under a deadline at my job and I also learned how to take a step back and make sure I have enough time for myself. Learning good time management skills in this setting will prove to be very valuable in my future.

More importantly than time management or spending time with friends, I grew more as a person than I ever thought possible. I was fortunate enough to live in the same apartment building as a former roommate in college. We have grown apart the past two years but have since realized we will not allow that to happen again. He has taught me more about life and people in general than anyone ever before. I am glad we did this program together because it made the time here even more enjoyable.

I am requesting to receive an ‘A’ grade for my internship. I believe I have proven through my actions during my internship that I gave my best in everything that I did and have successfully completed all of the criteria required. I received perfect marks on my mid-term evaluation from my supervisor at the FTC and am confident the grade in my class will be above average.

Again, I cannot stress how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. It has really helped me grow as an individual and it has opened many doors for my future. I will never forget this experience.

 

Meridian International Center

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald:

I am writing you concerning the status and accreditation of my internship for the fall of 2006 with The Washington Center in Washington, DC. As an intern with The Washington Center, I can say that my experiences have been both positive and negative. On the positive side of things, I feel that my internship with Meridian International Center has been an invaluable experience – my hopes are that this internship will be the first step to a promising career in the nonprofit sector. On the negative side of things, I do not feel I gained as much from my academic class as I had originally hoped I would.

Nonetheless, I am deeply appreciative to be have been given the opportunity to spend a semester in Washington, DC – a semester that I believe will have given me the tools I need to succeed come my graduation from The University of Iowa in May of next year.

As a part of the Washington Center’s requirements, I began this semester by creating a list of goals that I have used as a barometer in which my time in Washington, DC, is measured. Through this letter I hope to give you an idea of how successful I was in attaining these goals.

My professional plans for the future are to graduate from the University of Iowa in May, work for three to five years for a nonprofit organization, and then return to school to receive my MBA. Considering this plan, I was extremely excited for the class I enrolled in for my semester with the Washington Center. The class I am enrolled in is entitled Fundraising and Development Strategies. I believed that this class – combined with my internship for a nonprofit – would be extremely enlightening to the world of nonprofit organizations. As mentioned earlier, while my internship has proved to be very beneficial, I was very disappointed with my academic class.

While my professional history with The University of Iowa Foundation has been very beneficial, I hoped this class would enlighten me to other aspects of fundraising. The first problem with this class was the content we began with was very introductory and continued this way throughout the semester. Moreover, the vast majority of the class consisted of watching outdated films or our professor showing us a quick presentation via Power Point that he had received from some organization. Nonetheless, this class did open my eyes to a very viable resource for foundation research – The Foundation Center. Instead of meeting for class on three different occasions, our professor sent us to The Foundation Center to do research on prospective funders for nonprofit organizations.

In the past few months I have immersed myself in the nonprofit world of Washington, DC. Working for Meridian International Center has been an invaluable opportunity for me. The connections I’ve made, the skills I’ve learned, and the challenges I’ve faced have provided me with invaluable experience and insight as I begin my post-undergraduate career.

Meridian International Center is a nonprofit that works to promote international understanding through the exchange of people, ideas, and the arts. We offer programs to educate the public about global issues the world is facing today. Through outreach, exchanges, and arts programs, we are able to educate and enrich the cultural perspective of people of all ages – from professionals to schoolchildren. Our mission of promoting international understanding is so important at this time.

As an intern at Meridian, I have worked with their development department. The development department is responsible for raising funds to enable Meridian to offer its services from year to year – as well as ensuring Meridian is able to fulfill its mission in years to come. The first six to seven weeks of my internship, the vast majority of my time was spent assisting in planning and implementing the 38th annual Meridian Ball. The Ball is Meridian’s largest fundraising event of the year as well as one of Washington, DC’s most celebrated social events.

My responsibilities were multifaceted it planning for this gala. One of my main tasks was to act as the liaison for our embassy sponsors. In doing so, I provided them with information on guests we would be sending to their Embassy as well as answered questions they had. I also worked with our many corporate underwriters who received complimentary tickets for assisting in sponsoring the event. The Ball itself – which I was able to attend – was a truly magical experience. The gala took place at Meridian’s two houses – both of which are mansions designed by famed architect John Russell Pope. Over 900 guests came following their dinners for an evening of drinks, desserts, and lively conversation. Additionally, this year’s fundraising event was the most successful in its 38 year history. We raised over $900,000 in support for Meridian.

I was concerned that the experience might be anticlimactic after the workup for the event. However, this has not been the case. While we have had a great deal of Ball follow-up to do – acknowledgements, receipts, and balancing our books – I have now taken on the task of planning for Meridian to begin selling its own branded merchandise.

The internship has undoubtedly prepared me for my future. There is no question in my mind that should I ever want to return to Meridian, they would undoubtedly give me a position.

Growing up in Iowa, I was lucky to have been able to travel throughout the United States. Unfortunately, Washington, DC, was one area of the country I had never made it to with my family. I have grown to love this area of the country. One might say I’ve caught the Potomac Fever. Within days of arriving to the District, I could tell that this is an area I could see myself in the future. While it was overwhelming to have relocated to a large city, I quickly found that DC is a very manageable city. Throughout my time here I have been able to take in DC for all of its very different neighborhoods. This eclectic feel is one thing I enjoy most about DC – downtown, Georgetown, Dupont, Adams Morgan – they all have a very unique feel to them.

I am very grateful for my experience in Washington, DC. I would recommend it to anyone. It was indeed a difficult decision to decide to relocate to DC during the last semester of my senior year, but the experience I’m walking away with is truly priceless.

While I am typically not fond of touristy type activities, I have been able to take in many of the District’s national treasures. I now have gotten to the point of being able to give my own tour to many of the visitors I have hosted.

I am of opinion that an internship will either make you want to stay in school for many more years or quickly join the workforce; my experience has done the later. While I will cherish my last semester as a student, I am looking forward to my entrance into the professional world. This internship has reaffirmed my opinion that I want to work for an organization that I know truly makes a difference in this world.

 

Office of the Attorney General for D.C.

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

Since my internship experience here in Washington, DC is now drawing to a close, I feel it necessary to address to you a list of justifications for the credit I intend to be awarded by The University of Iowa for my time here in the District. I feel that I have fulfilled all the requirements that have been asked of me, and have achieved the necessary success to have earned the 6 semester hours of credit offered to me by the University for the summer.

At the outset of the summer, I laid out numerous goals for myself in four major categories, subsequently listing at least three ways that I intended to achieve of the goals listed in each category. This document became my “Learning Objectives Statement,” and was approved by my Supervisor at my internship, as well as my Washington Center Program Director, Ming Lowe. My Learning Objectives Statement (aka LOS) has been attached with this letter, and shall be referenced throughout the rest of this letter as a measure of my success.

As part of my involvement here in the summer, I took a course on Constitutional Law, called “Our Living Constitution,” which was offered by the Washington Center. I chose the course because it appealed to me on a variety of levels. Being a Political Science major, and an aspiring law school student, the course offered me a chance to begin learning about the application of the law in the U.S. Courts, giving a historical context for many of the decisions and controversies that are hotly contested in our world today. Noting my goals stated in the LOS, I was able to take the skills that I learned from my internship and apply them to my academic coursework. Specifically, exercises in defense strategy for cases that were dealt with by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia were extremely valuable in being able to understand how to approach problems and cases studied in class from many different perspectives. I was also able to keep myself in touch with the Federal Courts by actually going to hearings at the District Courthouse here in Washington, DC. In addition, I traveled to the Supreme Court twice during the course of the summer, one day actually getting to observe the Justices of the Court in action while announcing decisions in late June. I did very well in my academic course here this summer, and got excellent marks on all of my assignments, which further proves my success with respect to my academic goals.

The area in which I achieved the most growth and success this summer, by far, were with my Professional goals. I worked in the Equity One Sector of the Civil Litigation Division at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (aka OAG) with Senior Assistant Attorney General Thomas Koger. Tom helped me achieve my first professional goal of gaining an understanding of Civil Law and procedure throughout the summer by having me work on different aspects of cases, and always offering answers to all of my questions. He worked with me to help me understand how a defense strategy comes together in civil litigation, and the attention to every minute detail that must be paid in order to bolster a case, as well as recognizing the weaknesses of an argument so as to be comprehensively prepared for the case, and not allowing the opposition to exploit any of those weaknesses. Tom had me do research on cases using Westlaw, an online database of case law. I also was assigned the task of compiling audio-visual discovery materials to make a video montage that helped to build a defense in one of the mass demonstration cases being handled by our office. At the end of the summer, I was able to help draft discovery requests from the plaintiffs in various cases, as well as drafting motions to be submitted to the court. Tom has become a personal mentor, and has taught me more than I could have ever hoped to learn about the law, as well as a number of life lessons that I will carry with me long after I leave the District. If nothing else, I feel that the work and experience that I have had with Mr. Koger here this summer warrants full credit from the University.

The next major area of goals that I established for myself this summer were those relating to Service. I enumerated two different types of service that I aspired to accomplish this summer, and while my efforts in one of these areas were not entirely successful, I was able to contribute my time to a good cause with respect to the other type of service that I wished to perform. I was interested in volunteering in a political capacity for one of my own representatives this summer, but despite my offers of volunteerism, both Senators from Illinois rejected the offers, and I never heard back from my Congresswoman. However, I was able to give my time to Push America, a philanthropic organization that benefits people with disabilities established and run by my fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. The Push America team gave me the assignment of helping to set up an event for a group of men who had spent their entire summer riding their bikes across the country to raise awareness for people with disabilities on a ride called the “Journey of Hope.” My job was to call as many area alumni and undergraduate chapters as I could to try and raise money for a banquet that will be held the week after I return home. I had a great time being able to get in touch with some of the people that live here locally, and to be a part of the Journey of Hope, albeit a small part, was really great.

Finally, the personal goals that I laid out for myself were all a great success. I became very well acclimated to living and working in a major city, learned the DC metro system within a few days, and took routine trips into the city to experience different parts of the local and national culture that exists here. I set a fairly frugal weekly budget for myself, but was still able to have a great time with the modest sum of money that I afforded myself, and still feel that I took great advantage of all the District had to offer me this summer. I saw every museum, monument, and exhibit that I set out to see at the beginning of the summer, which amounted to a list of twenty-one different sites of interest around the area. In addition to that, I had the opportunity to hear distinguished speakers ranging from the ambassador from India, to Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska, an opportunity that I know I would never have had in any other place, at any other time in my life. I gained a cultural perspective on how The District of Columbia itself operates, as well as a new appreciation for the United States as a nation itself as a result of all of these experiences.

Given all of the different experiences and successes I have had this summer, I feel that I am justified in asking for full credit from you, Mr. Fitzgerald, on behalf of the University of Iowa, for my participation in the Washington Center’s Law and Criminal Justice program this summer. I have gained great real-world knowledge, and have grown as a student and a person since coming here. Six semester hours of academic credit is a well-deserved award for all that I have done and learned this summer.

 

Polish American Congress

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

I am writing this letter in regards to the accreditation of my internship during the summer of 2006 with the Washington Center in Washington D.C. This opportunity has allowed me to accomplish the professional and personal goals I had set for myself when arriving in this city. I was eager to explore the nation's capitol, meet new people and start my internship. I will never forget the first weekend in D.C., with three brand new, strange girls as my roommates, with no idea of what the city had to offer and struggling to figure out my route to work. Now, three weeks before I am scheduled to return to school, I find myself to be a different person, enriched with my summer experiences.

I spent this summer interning with the Polish American Congress, the Washington D.C. office. The Polish American Congress (PAC) is an umbrella organization for Americans of Polish decent or origin all across the country. The PAC promotes programs to further enrich and educate about the Polish culture, as well as works closely with the American government to ensure contentment and assistance to the Polish-Americans living in this country, as well as the citizens of Poland. I can truthfully admit that my placement with this organization was everything that I hoped for. My tasks, as well as the overall intentions of the organizations, fit the description of my interest and possible future career.

While interning at the PAC this summer, I worked under the direct supervision of Dr. Barbara Andersen. She is the research director as well as the coordinator of the internship program. With Dr. Andersen's supervision, I was assigned to coordinate the "Taste America" project. I would like to discuss a little about what the "Taste America" project is and also my involvement with it. "Taste America" is an event that occurs each year. It is a formal dinner held especially for all the members of U.S. Congress as well as their families. This year's theme is E Pluribus Unum, the United States’ national motto that today signifies the coming together of the people and cultures of many nations, and the PAC was picked to present the country of Poland at the reception. My involvement in the project includes coordinating the efforts. Furthermore, it was my responsibility to prepare displays, newsletters, conduct research and of course put together the final display. Along with the "Taste America" project, as the "eyes and ears" for PAC, I was accountable for attending daily seminars, lectures as well as a few various House Committee hearings. I was then, responsible for writing a report on each event, in order to report back to my supervisor. I enjoyed each and every event. It was a great opportunity to be able to listen and at some occasions meet, many important individuals and politicians.

I believe that I fully achieved each professional goal that I had set for myself in the beginning of this internship program. Before participating in the program, I was never really exposed to the professional work environment I worked in this summer. I also was not prepared for how different and at times very challenging it would be. After a few weeks of work, and observing the actions of Dr. Andersen, I felt myself becoming much more mature, confident, knowledgeable and professional. Furthermore, while working on the "Taste American" project, I acquired more ability to be creative and proficient with my work. Also, as a pleasant addition, I acquired much needed knowledge about my Polish culture. Even though I have been exposed to it my whole life, this culture knowledge includes political issues, that I would not have otherwise known.

In addition to my confidence in the achievement of my professional goals, I believe I have accomplished all that I set out for myself personally. I took advantage of a great deal of activities that Washington D.C. has to offer, which I would not have been able to encounter in any other city. These activities include visiting a series of Embassies, partaking in many lectures but also things such as participating in the 4th of July festivities at the capitol, as well as visiting the monuments, museums and ethnic, one of a kind restaurants and shops that this city is known for. Cultural exposure is unavoidable in this City. Also, as I had proposed in my personal goals, I had become a much more confident individual. I met many important people over the time of my internship, and I will admit that in the beginning it was difficult to talk to them. As the time went on I became used to sharing my opinions and ideas in different crowds, and became a much more courageous and composed person.

Along with becoming a more confident and composed person, I had learned to me much more independent. Even though I have been living away from my family for the past three years, these circumstances were a little different. I was forced to live in an unfamiliar environment, in a large, strange city. I was also responsible for making up a new schedule and making sure I manage my time correctly. Between working full time, attending Tuesday night’s class and attending a series of events, it was difficult to find time for relaxation and entertainment. I was glad to find myself managing my very limited time quite efficiently and wisely.

Lastly, I had set citizenship goals for my summer internship. Once of them was to volunteer in the DC area. I was originally planning on volunteering at the local library, unfortunately that was unfeasible. After conducting some research, I was fortunate enough to come across volunteering opportunities at the Folk Festival. I volunteered with the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. I enjoy music, especially country specific music. It was pleasant to be around my interests, but also to help out during the busy time. I was able to talk to many interesting people with different ethnic backgrounds, as well as meet some inspiring, international musicians. Even though my volunteer position wasn't exactly relevant with my internship program, it was definitely one of my interests. The others included being aware of the current news, and issues of this country, as well as the country of my origin. I have successfully fulfilled that goal, by reading the paper each morning, as well always being informed by the news.

My internship this summer serves as a foundation for my interests and a future career. It has also allowed me to explore this wonderful city, meet many interesting people and get to know the political world from a different perspective. I am also proud to say that I have carried out all the responsibilities handed to me at my work, as well as all the assignments handed to me in my class. I anticipate your consideration of the hard work I put in this summer during my internship, for credit at the University of Iowa. Thank you for your time.

 

Potomic Institute for Policy Studies

Looking at photos of the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court and various other DC monuments is one thing. Actually visiting the aforementioned buildings while learning first hand what business is conducted in them is another thing altogether. As much as my education in Iowa City enriched my mind and challenged me, my Washington DC experience provoked my intellect in ways that a typical classroom never could have. I have learned and done so much while being in the District this semester that deserves credit. Being given the opportunity to do and interact with, instead of merely read about, the government has been a highly worthwhile experience. Learning is not confined to a classroom setting and an education is not only obtained through lectures. Nonetheless, this experience has increased my intellectual curiosity while engaging my mind, much like a classroom setting.

For this experience, it feels appropriate to utilize an abstract explanation of what I have learned here. However, in order to gain official credit hours, I understand the necessity of a concrete record, and explicit explanation of the things I have accomplished. My ability to keep this record was aided strongly by my Learning Objective Statement. Within the first two weeks of coming to the District, we had to list two goals under four different goal sets. Through this assignment, I was forced to ponder and list my academic, professional, civic engagement, and personal goals, alongside concrete objectives on how I planned to reach them. This statement, much like a course syllabus, set the course of my semester.

Most relevant to the University of Iowa would be my academic goals. During my time here, I was enrolled in a class entitled “Law and Politics.” I was extremely fortunate to be able to read about and discuss abortion, and then, the following day, observe and participate in a protest in front of the White House regarding this heated issue. It is examples like this that enriched my learning experience. Studying something and being able to engage in that topic first hand is invaluable. My first academic goal was to gain a better understanding about the probability of Roe v. Wade being reversed. This goal has been accomplished wholeheartedly through class debates, assigned reading, personal research, and attending debates and rallies/protests on the topic. Through class, and my personal experiences and studies, I have greatly furthered my knowledge on this topic. I now find myself with the knowledge that the current Court is conservatively leaning, has already passed a ban on partial birth abortions, and is likely to continue to chip away at Roe. This knowledge furthers my passion for a very salient topic of which I am strongly concerned about. I believe in pro-choice and now am more encouraged to aid the movement.

My second academic goal was to learn about the affirmative action debate. My Law and Politics greatly aided me in accomplishing this goal. Professor Hoffman was very interested in this topic and this was reflected in his lectures and assigned readings. The class was given much material on the topic and provided with a forum for debating it. Gaining greater background knowledge through the readings and then applying this knowledge and personal opinions on the topic through debates greatly altered my view on this controversial issue. This was accomplished through well informed classmates whom provoked my outlook on affirmative action through countless counter arguments and diverse opinion sets. During my time here, I immersed myself with information on this issue, and abortion, and know that for the final exam and during future debates, I will be prepared. Not merely prepared to spit out a few facts on paper and then be done with the topic, but instead to further my side on each issue. Learning about and seeing each issue in focus first hand has inspired me further than any typical classroom model could have.

Class, although important, was only a small part of my time here. Most of my time (around 35+ hours per week) was spent at my internship. My placement was at the International Center for Terrorism studies. During my time here, I have set up for, and attended conferences on Counterterrorism and Mind Wars: Drugs, the Brain, and National Defense. These conferences gave me conference set up experience and the opportunity to hear experts speak on terrorism related issues. One of the speakers I was especially excited to hear was my own supervisor, Yonah Alexander. The conferences were when we got to see our brilliant boss’s extensive knowledge on the topic in action.

A huge part of the internship involved researching terrorism. The research was done in order to produce daily terrorism attack reports, provide Yonah with information for conferences, add information to books set to be published, and do country specific terrorism updates for our records. On top of researching the topic, I was given the opportunity to utilize my knowledge through writing an introduction for, and editing chapters in, Mike Kraft’s Counterterrorism book.

Prior to this internship, I had general knowledge on terrorism and the psychology behind terrorism. During this internship I was able to vastly expand this knowledge base as well as learn much about specific countries terrorist threats and responses in depth. The internship also taught me practical things such as how to conduct myself in a business setting. This was my first official job outside of college in which I had to wear a suit. At first this fact intimidated me, yet now I am comfortable interacting with business professionals in an office setting. Furthermore, I have learned the important lesson of what to say, and when to say it, in an office. I tend to have a big mouth, and have learned to keep it shut at strategic times. These lessons relate to professionalism and accepted conduct; knowledge which will prepare me greatly for my future jobs.

On top of my class, and internship, I gained knowledge through the TWC events. During my time here, I was able to visit, amongst others, the Israeli, Indonesian, and Nigerian embassies, hear Madeline Albright, the former press secretary to Bill Clinton, and others speak, as well as attend a terrorism discussion panel and a congressional breakfast with an Arizona representative. I have taken various bits from each lecture, speaker, embassy visit, and professional workshop. These various events I attended this semester greatly added to my experience in the District.

On top of providing us with the aforementioned opportunities, the TWC also heavily preached civic engagement. Having its importance stressed, I was forced to make it a priority. This was not hard as I have always enjoyed volunteering. Once told to find a problem with society that I was passionate about, I knew right away what I would do. My civic engagement project was done with the amazing Special Olympics organization. Acting as a coach who was supposed to teach the children something, I can honestly say, I learned much more from these children than I taught them. I learned to appreciate the little things, not to take life as seriously, and the values of teamwork. This volunteer opportunity was very enriching and I am glad I continued my involvement with the organization while in DC.

Through all of my experiences this semester, I feel as if I have greatly grown as a person. In the beginning, I was an inexperienced employee, intimidated by certain people, and unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. At this time, I have grown into someone who knows how to conduct their self in an office setting, have gained office experience to help me land a future job, and have figured out what to do with my near future. Since I am graduating this May, figuring out what to do with my future was very important. Coming into the program, I was debating law school, eliminated that option by applying late, and then sent into a period of sheer uncertainty. Through spending time in the District, and learning about opportunities available, I now have a plan. I am going to get an apartment in DC with a friend and work for a law firm in order to determine if I want to devote three years and much money to law school. I can’t wait to spend a few more months post-grad in DC to grow further as a person, employee, student, and member of society.

 

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

From August 29, 2007 to December 14, 2007 I have lived and worked in our nations’ capitol. The experience has been absolutely amazing. I have had the opportunity to attend lectures, conduct an informational interview, participate in a walk for the homeless, and intern for the Office of Congressman Phil Gingrey. This paper will focus on how each of these experiences has contributed to my knowledge of political science and the professional world. It will also show how this experience has helped me to be prepared for my future.

At the beginning of my time here in Washington D.C. I created a learning objectives statement which set forth goals and objectives for my time here in Washington D.C. These goals included learning more about the budget, learning how to work in a professional environment, serving the community, and becoming better at networking. I feel that I have achieved many of the goals which I set forth in my learning objectives statement. The class that I took gave me insight into the budget process and its affect on congresses ability to pass legislation. My time on the hill and seeing first how the appropriations bills are voted on gave me knowledge into how important the budget is. I feel that I have a better understanding of what it means to work in a professional environment than I did when I came to Washington. This is because I spent everyday whether with my internship, class, or lecture in a professional environment showing what appropriate behavior is. I felt that I could have done a better job of networking as I did not always capitalize on opportunities to make contacts. Overall, though, I believe most of the goals and objectives that I set forth in the beginning of the process were met.

While in our nations’ Capitol I had the opportunity to participate in many lectures which heightened my understanding of work in the public sector and different political topics. Being able to participate in a forum on transparency in government was a chance for me to learn about a topic I had not heard much about. I had the opportunity to hear the Secretary of Agriculture. This lecture was particularly interesting because I go to school in Iowa and one of the main topics discussed was ethanol. Hearing from the Treasure of the United States was also an exciting opportunity for me. By participating in these lectures my knowledge of certain issues was heightened in a way that could not have been accomplished had I stated at my university this semester.

Perhaps the most important part of my stay here in Washington D.C. was my internship. I had the chance to intern for the Office of Congressman Phil Gingrey. As a political science major there has been no better opportunity for me to learn more about government than to be on the hill five days a week. While interning for Congressman Gingrey I did a lot of constituent work. Since 9/11 congressional offices have been in charge of giving tours of the Capitol Building and organizing tours of other buildings, such as the White House, for their constituents. As intern I was in charge of all tours from start to finish. I set up tours of the White House, Capitol Building, Kennedy Center, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I also gave the tours of the Capitol Building which meant I had to memorize facts and be able to present them in an interesting manner. Also as intern I was in charge of going through e-mails, faxes, and postal mail and deciphering their issue codes. I was also answered phones often talking with constituents about issue codes. By doing all of the work I gained a better understanding of how to be organized and obtained better people and communication skills which I believe will help me later in life.

No class can ever convey how intense and exciting it is to be on the hill. What it is like to be in the middle of the American political system. Throughout my internship I had a first hand view of politics in action. I had the opportunity to see the SCHIP battle play out. Had I not been in Washington I doubt I would have been as informed about SCHIP and the politics behind it. I watched republics play a political game that got me so excited I felt I was watching a football game. A bill was brought to the floor by the democrats calling for the impeachment of Dick Cheney and during the on whether or not to vote for the bill Republicans played a political game. At the beginning of the vote the majority of republicans were voting no on the vote to vote and our communications director was getting very upset because there were a few Republicans voting yes on the vote to vote. However, we soon realized the game. Slowly a small number of Republicans were convincing all the republicans on the floor to vote yes on the vote to vote. What must be understood is during this time congress was way behind on passing appropriations bills and the Democrats should not have been wasting time by bring a bill to the floor that would never pass. So we watched the votes change as intensely as we would watch a ball game and got very excited when the vote to vote passed. Steny Hoyer promptly came to the floor and motioned to move the bill to committee and the game was over, however the Republicans had made an exciting point. This is something that I can never and have never experienced in a classroom; it is what makes this internship an important part of my education. Nothing compares to being able to see government and politics play out first hand.

My experience in our nations’ Capitol has been irreplaceable. I have set goals and accomplished many goals while learning how to become a better public servant. I have been able to listen to many prominent people in our nation’s government. Politics has been made more alive to me than any classroom has ever made it. I have also been able to participate in a Help the Homeless walk. This internship and experience of participating in the Washington Center has educated me in a way that class at University of Iowa could not. I come away from this experience excited, prepared and ready to enter the professional world after my graduation in the spring.

 

Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL)

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

From August 29, 2007 to December 14, 2007 I have lived and worked in our nations’ capitol. The experience has been absolutely amazing. I have had the opportunity to attend lectures, conduct an informational interview, participate in a walk for the homeless, and intern for the Office of Congressman Phil Gingrey. This paper will focus on how each of these experiences has contributed to my knowledge of political science and the professional world. It will also show how this experience has helped me to be prepared for my future.

At the beginning of my time here in Washington D.C. I created a learning objectives statement which set forth goals and objectives for my time here in Washington D.C. These goals included learning more about the budget, learning how to work in a professional environment, serving the community, and becoming better at networking. I feel that I have achieved many of the goals which I set forth in my learning objectives statement. The class that I took gave me insight into the budget process and its affect on congresses ability to pass legislation. My time on the hill and seeing first how the appropriations bills are voted on gave me knowledge into how important the budget is. I feel that I have a better understanding of what it means to work in a professional environment than I did when I came to Washington. This is because I spent everyday whether with my internship, class, or lecture in a professional environment showing what appropriate behavior is. I felt that I could have done a better job of networking as I did not always capitalize on opportunities to make contacts. Overall, though, I believe most of the goals and objectives that I set forth in the beginning of the process were met.

While in our nations’ Capitol I had the opportunity to participate in many lectures which heightened my understanding of work in the public sector and different political topics. Being able to participate in a forum on transparency in government was a chance for me to learn about a topic I had not heard much about. I had the opportunity to hear the Secretary of Agriculture. This lecture was particularly interesting because I go to school in Iowa and one of the main topics discussed was ethanol. Hearing from the Treasure of the United States was also an exciting opportunity for me. By participating in these lectures my knowledge of certain issues was heightened in a way that could not have been accomplished had I stated at my university this semester.

Perhaps the most important part of my stay here in Washington D.C. was my internship. I had the chance to intern for the Office of Congressman Phil Gingrey. As a political science major there has been no better opportunity for me to learn more about government than to be on the hill five days a week. While interning for Congressman Gingrey I did a lot of constituent work. Since 9/11 congressional offices have been in charge of giving tours of the Capitol Building and organizing tours of other buildings, such as the White House, for their constituents. As intern I was in charge of all tours from start to finish. I set up tours of the White House, Capitol Building, Kennedy Center, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I also gave the tours of the Capitol Building which meant I had to memorize facts and be able to present them in an interesting manner. Also as intern I was in charge of going through e-mails, faxes, and postal mail and deciphering their issue codes. I was also answered phones often talking with constituents about issue codes. By doing all of the work I gained a better understanding of how to be organized and obtained better people and communication skills which I believe will help me later in life.

No class can ever convey how intense and exciting it is to be on the hill. What it is like to be in the middle of the American political system. Throughout my internship I had a first hand view of politics in action. I had the opportunity to see the SCHIP battle play out. Had I not been in Washington I doubt I would have been as informed about SCHIP and the politics behind it. I watched republics play a political game that got me so excited I felt I was watching a football game. A bill was brought to the floor by the democrats calling for the impeachment of Dick Cheney and during the on whether or not to vote for the bill Republicans played a political game. At the beginning of the vote the majority of republicans were voting no on the vote to vote and our communications director was getting very upset because there were a few Republicans voting yes on the vote to vote. However, we soon realized the game. Slowly a small number of Republicans were convincing all the republicans on the floor to vote yes on the vote to vote. What must be understood is during this time congress was way behind on passing appropriations bills and the Democrats should not have been wasting time by bring a bill to the floor that would never pass. So we watched the votes change as intensely as we would watch a ball game and got very excited when the vote to vote passed. Steny Hoyer promptly came to the floor and motioned to move the bill to committee and the game was over, however the Republicans had made an exciting point. This is something that I can never and have never experienced in a classroom; it is what makes this internship an important part of my education. Nothing compares to being able to see government and politics play out first hand.

My experience in our nations’ Capitol has been irreplaceable. I have set goals and accomplished many goals while learning how to become a better public servant. I have been able to listen to many prominent people in our nation’s government. Politics has been made more alive to me than any classroom has ever made it. I have also been able to participate in a Help the Homeless walk. This internship and experience of participating in the Washington Center has educated me in a way that class at University of Iowa could not. I come away from this experience excited, prepared and ready to enter the professional world after my graduation in the spring.

 

Tricom Associates

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald:

The experience that I have gained out in Washington, DC for this semester is one that has not only been invaluable as far as my work experience, but has been incredible as far as the friendships I have gained and the cultural experiences I have encountered. I am extremely happy that I left my comfort zone in Iowa and took part a great adventure out East. I think it is important to point out that I have never been away from Iowa for more than a couple of weeks at a time. I went off to college and visited my home every so often, but it was always accessible and easily to get back to if I wanted. So, coming out here I challenged myself in that I left the great state of Iowa for a much more extended period of time as well as my friends and former basketball teammates, with who I had been inseparable for years. That being said, I know I made the right decision.

Academically, I feel more connected and informed politically than ever before. Though I didn’t learn every Congressman and women as I had originally sought to do, I do know many of them and not only that but also their stance on issues as well. I was so fortunate to be out here at election time and I dutifully read the paper and watched the news making me incredibly knowledgeable about what is going on in the world today. My reading the papers also has kept me up-to-date with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the major problems the United States is experiencing in both places right now. My class, Peaceful Solutions: An Alternative to Violence, allowed me to see the war and violence in a pacifistic way. I have thoroughly enjoyed Professor Coleman McCarthy’s Wednesday night classes and have accumulated a great amount of respect for him in the process as well.

Also, continuing on with my academic progress while out here, I did purchase a GRE book and have been studying for that. I took a practice GRE at Catholic University in September and have called and researched various graduate schools such as Georgetown, George Washington, and American Universities. I am seriously considering graduate school out here for next fall.

Professionally, I have grown leaps and bounds more than I could have ever expected. My internship placement at Tricom Associates has been one of the most beneficial experiences that I have ever had. I have learned the interesting connection between our clients and the media. When I first started my job I thought young energetic journalist ambitiously sought out their stories (think Woodward and Bernstein) but the reality of it is that public relations firms, like the one I am working at, call journalists and “pitch” their client’s stories in hopes to secure them coverage. It’s a very interesting relationship. Throughout my experience I got to know many of my clients and found myself really believing in their causes. We have clients ranging from a youth voting and civic engagement research group, various teacher awards, United Steel Workers, and a project devoted to further science education for middle school aged kids. One of the accomplishments that I am most proud of is my work on the $10,000 web advertising campaign for our Leaders in Learning Awards. I had never had any experience with web advertising and I had to call various sites and get numbers and figures as far as costs, etc. It was like they were speaking another language! So I went home that night and did some Googling and learned the terms and “lingo” that I needed to know and the next thing I knew I was wheeling and dealing with the salespeople trying to get as many hits or impressions for our banners as we could get. I feel that was not only my most successful work experience, but I also learned so much. The part I appreciated the most was that my co-worker trusted me enough to do much of it on my own. I was incredibly nervous to be signing contracts for $4,000 worth of advertising! As far as some of my other previously stated goals for my work experience, I didn’t get to do as much writing as I would have liked, but I did do several press releases and advisories and know that I still need work but can be assured that based on the feed back I received, I have a clean fluent writing style. I did become much more fluent on Mac computers, and now I love them! I actually purchased my Mac lap- top and I am still learning more from that as well. As a whole, my computer literacy skills have improved greatly, and as a result, I want to expand them further even after I am finished here.

Personally, I have a wonderful experience! I have taken full advantage of a variety of events while out here. I have gone to all the monuments, the Holocaust Museum, the Spy Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Botanical Garden, the National Gallery of Art (which I loved) and Arlington Cemetery (to name a few big ones). I have gone to two University of Maryland football games; one was at University of Virginia, which was a beautiful campus. I went to a Washington Wizards basketball game at the Verizon Center and I have gone to many concerts. I have seen some of my favorite acts at a place called the 9:30 Club. One night there was an act I wanted to see so badly that I went all by myself and made some friends while at the show.

As far as running a 5K while out here, though I didn’t run an actual race, I have been really good at running a 5K on the treadmill about four times a week and have eaten nutritionally, too. I have really taken advantage of the many Whole Foods stores out here. I also found a spot to play some basketball in Dupont Circle where I have played pick-up games with a group of guys.

My relationships with my roommates have been great. We have gotten along very well and I have developed solid relationships with them. I have done a great job of keeping my apartment clean and have grown in that I have become much more patient with subtle indifferences that can often result in conflict. I think I am very lucky to have gotten them as my roommates.

My volunteer experience was a lot of fun! My roommates and I volunteered for Adam’s Morgan Day. It was one of the first things we did while in DC and it allowed us to not only help out but also see the really hip and cool Adam’s Morgan District. The annual street festival celebrates international cultures, creativity, music, food and dance. It is organized by AdamsMorgan MainStreet Group, a partnership of residents, business owners and non-profits that work to magnify, retain and promote Adams Morgan's unique and vibrant character. I worked the information booth where I directed people to the various activities they were trying to find and I sold t-shirts as well. It is a great festival and Lisa Dupier, the lady that runs it and works for the non-profit community agency also told us that any money made goes back to improving the community. I also enjoyed how nice and kind all of the volunteers were. We even attended a volunteer after party where we had some food and hung out. I chose this activity because I wanted to be involved with something where I could see the community and become familiar with it as well. As I stated earlier it was one of the first things I did here and I was amazed at the incredible diversity of this city.

Overall, I have had the experience of a lifetime while out here. I took a risk in coming out here and as a result I opened myself up to different people and different experiences. I opened my mind and was able to see a different culture and for that I think I am much better off in life as far as understanding and becoming more sensitive to my surroundings. When I left Iowa everyone told me to be careful and that DC was just so incredibly dangerous. I told myself right away that I wasn’t going to fear anything and I was going to take everything in. I see a horrific homeless problem and less than desirable schools, but I also take away from those circumstances that this country has flaws and that not everything is so nice and tidy like the life I have lived. I have been inspired since being out here to come back and be a part of change or better yet help educate people about the realities of societal problems that exist right under their nose. I feel very fortunate for The Washington Center opportunity and everything that I have learned and gained as a result of it.