My D.C. Adventure

This fall break, instead of going back home like I have for the past couple years, I went with some members of the government and public policy work group along with faculty members Amy Heath-Carpentier and Molly Burkot to D.C. to tour organizations there and meet Wash U alumni in the area. The trip was such a great experience that I figured I’d share about it with you all.

The first night in D.C. was a little overwhelming since students had to arrange for their own transportation and lodging. However, I was easily able to find my hotel and get settled in. The next morning, I met up with the rest of the group at Starbucks so we could all walk over to NPR together. The tour of NPR was incredible. We were able to see the studios where they record segments and get a glimpse of the newsroom where the reporters were hard at work. We also learned a little about the reporters’ hectic schedules. Some even need to plan their days down to the second, which sounded both exhilarating and stressful.

Our next stop was World Resources Institute, where we were treated to a delicious Mediterranean lunch as we learned about the company’s work, part environmental advocacy and part think tank, and the paid internships available to us there. Afterwards, we headed to Capitol Hill for a presentation from two alumnae about how they landed their jobs as legislative assistants to Representatives. Finally, we visited Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a polling firm for progressive candidates. There, alumni Ben Winston gave an overview of the different career possibilities for those interested in politics and the pros and cons of each before discussing what his job was like.

That night, law firm Nixon Peabody hosted a networking event for current Wash U students and Wash U alumni. I was able to chat with various alumni, including a current immigration lawyer. As I’m considering going into immigration law, talking with her really cleared up some confusion for me about the different paths open in the field.

The next day, we had a small breakfast at Busboys and Poets where representatives from Hamilton Place Strategies, a political consulting firm, informed us about the type of work they did. They also explained how project assignments at their firm were conducive to teamwork. In addition, they mentioned the paid internships and post-graduate jobs available at their firm to qualified Wash U students. We then listened to Wash U alumnus Sam Daugherty talk about how he became a lawyer who works on indigenous rights cases and what his job is like.

After breakfast, we headed over to American Enterprise Institute, or AEI, where we learned about the different types of think tanks and the different roles within a think tank. They also served us a delicious lunch as a panel of Wash U alumnae working at AEI spoke about their roles in the think tank.

I learned so much on this trip about potential career paths in the government and public policy sector and what day-to-day life in those jobs are like. Thinking about life after graduation is scary and confusing for me. Even though I’m still not sure what exactly I want to do, I have a better idea of what I could do. I would definitely recommend going on this trip for any student interested in a job in the government and public policy sector who is just as confused as me.

As a bonus, I had time before my flight left on the last day and so I got to visit Ford’s Theater, which was a great experience for a history nerd like me. D.C’s truly an amazing city with a rich history. It was incredible just to spend time there and learn how I could find a job or at least an internship there.

(The box where Lincoln was shot)