For my STEP Experience I went on the Scholars DC trip through The Ohio State Scholars Program. This was a two week professional development trip in Washington, DC. For the first week, we went on group visits to several places and learned what it is like to work at those places. On Monday we did a welcome to DC scavenger hunt activity. On each other day of week one, we split into two groups and visited different places. On Tuesday, I went to the FBI Academy, The U.S. Capitol – to meet with Senator Carper, an OSU Alumnus, and the DuPont Company. On Wednesday I went to The Bipartisan Policy Center, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – where we we met the director, Richard Cordray, and The Pentagon. On Thursday I went to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Congresswoman Beatty’s office. ON Friday I went to the CIA Headquarters and the NSA headquarters. Over the weekend, there were not any activities planned; we were each free to do what we wanted.
During the second week, each person scheduled individual or small group visits with people in the DC area. On Monday I met with John Garrity, of CISCO. John works in policy advising / lobbying for CISCO; it was interesting to hear about some of the policy side of the tech world. ON Tuesday and Wednesday, I did not have any meetings scheduled, but I did participate in several small group visits to place such as the DEA museum and the White House. On Thursday I met with Ann Froschauer who works for the US fish and Wildlife service; she was able to share a lot about the process of becoming a federal employee and what it is like to live in DC. On Friday I met with several people. Firstly, I met with CJ Horn of the National Defense University’s iCollege; we had a great conversation and I wish I could have talked with him for longer, but I had to get to my next meeting with Helene Holstein. Helene is the Digital Media & Technology Director for Senator Sherrod Brown. After talking with Ms. Holstein, I, along with another student, met with Burke Beckley, of the NGA; he was able to tell us about what Geo-spatial Intelligence is and what the NGA does he also told as some of the basics of what he does for his job.
While in DC, I maintained a food blog of the food that I ate. The main reason I did this is because I had heard that DC has a great food truck culture and I love food trucks; I wanted to have a way to share my food truck experiences.
Before this trip to DC, I had never had imagined myself working for the federal government; the bureaucracy seemed like too much. I didn’t think I could even handle working in DC due to all the crowds However, after talking with several people who have worked for the private sector and the government and hearing them tell me how much they enjoy their federal jobs, working for the government no longer seems so bad. Also I learned how to navigate the city pretty well using the Metro and I think I could do that as a part of my commute.
The biggest thing that I gained from this trip was that it opened my eyes to more possibilities. I am now less afraid of becoming a lifetime government worker and that opens a lot of possible career paths for me. The most interesting career path that I realized on this trip is working as analyst for the CIA or NSA; I had previously not even considered either of those possibilities as a way to apply my Computer Science & Engineering degree from OSU.