This blog will hopefully document my experiences, for better or worse, during my time in Washington, D.C.
Yesterday was my first day at work. From my apartment in Columbia Heights, it is really easy to get to work. I just take a bus down 16th Street to K.
I have to be at work at nine every morning which isn’t too bad at all. Work ends at five in the evening. I arrived at CSIS without any trouble, having taken a test ride the day before. When I first arrived, I sat in the reception area until Scott Aughenbaugh, one of the supervisors of my department, came to take me back to my desk.
The department I requested during the CSIS application process was the Global Strategy Institute
. The Institute is “dedicated to promoting long-range thinking about the big global issues that lie before us.” The trademark program of GSI is the Seven Revolutions, the program Erik Petersen presented to our class in January. When I arrived in DC however, I found out that GSI had been dismantled, with different departments taking former GSI programs under their respective umbrellas. The Seven Revolutions program is all that remains with GSI. So, while I am technically a GSI intern, I am also working with the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy
. If you think that sounds a lot like the Presidential Leadership Academy, you would be correct. AILA is responsible for creating programming that helps all CSIS interns become better leaders and develop important professional skills, like debate and policy proposal presentation.
So, arriving at my desk as a GSI/AILA intern, I met my intern colleagues. One I already knew quite well from Penn State. Another had gotten to CSIS on Wednesday, a native of Minneapolis by way of UC-Berkeley. The last intern is still in high school and has to commute every day from Annapolis. A long trip for a great opportunity.
After meeting everyone and getting acclimated, we decided to go get coffee at Starbucks around the corner from the CSIS offices. Enjoying that perhaps a bit too long, we were almost late to the all-CSIS intern orientation at 10:30. That meeting discussed what not to do on the internet, what not to wear to work, and most importantly, what not to do if you take the last cup from the coffeemaker (ALWAYS REFILL IT!). In fact, it seemed like the most important thing, the only thing that was continually harped on the whole meeting was about the sanctity of this coffeemaker.
Following that meeting, GSI/AILA department members, about six people plus interns, had lunch together in one of the CSIS boardrooms to get to know each other a bit better. After that, we went back to our desks without anything to really do. Then, I met with Scott again at 3, at which point we went over what I would be doing for the summer.
Specifically, I will be working on updating the student toolkit
that supplements the Seven Revolutions material. The 7Revs is designed to be taught as a part or as the entirety of the curriculum of a college class. The student toolkit provides information to students about the different Revolutions and offers facts to put the seven in perspective. The last time the toolkit was updated was a few years ago, and at the pace the Revolutions are changing, the information is out of date. Thus, it is my job to scour the internet in search of statistics and other information to help students conceive of just how “revolutionary” the Seven Revolutions are.
Additionally, as part of AILA, it is one of my responsibilities to help set up the logistics for conferences and intern enrichment activities.
One cool thing about interning at CSIS is that they give you the freedom and flexibility to leave pretty much whenever you want. By that, I mean, if you want to go see a speaker that you are interested in somewhere in Washington, by all means, go. For example, I intend to attend one of the House Subcommittee hearings on the oil spill on Thursday. They take place in the late morning and I am allowed to just get up, leave, and go over there.
After working on the 7Revs stuff for a little bit, it was time to head home.
Today was more of the same. There was free breakfast in the lobby which was nice. We went to a restaurant down the street for lunch. I’m going to eventually start bringing my own. Maybe on Thursday. Throughout the day, I added more new facts to the toolkit.
Washington has had beautiful weather the past two days. That is supposed to change tomorrow with the rain that is expected to come in. Oh well. It was good while it lasted.
I’ll be updating this once a week, filling you in on how DC is going.