Scholars DC trip 2K14
I have been to Washington DC many times, but this time was the most professional one so far. All the networking and meetings I had while in DC helped me understand how the city works and where my part in it can be. Many of the places and people I visited sparked interest that I did not know I had or reaffirmed ones I have been focusing on. Overall every meeting was another experience and another person I know in DC.
The first week was helpful with group meetings. It not only allowed all of us students to get use to meeting with professionals, but we got to know each other as well. There were many places that we visited that I found fascinating. The very first group visit to the Federal Commissions Bureau to meet the director of the FCC was splendid. Although I did not want to go into media, it was fascinating visiting the Washington Post and NPR. Widmeyer Communications and the OSU government office were great places to visit since those cover the fields I enjoy. Many of the visits during the first week peaked my interests and opened my mind to what is out there in DC.
Many of my visits during the second week were either with attorneys, lobbyists, or universities. My first visit was with John Wingard, a Lawyer for the federal government. He worked with Real Estate law and held his job for many years. He talked about how he enjoyed working in the public sector a lot. He also gave advice and what not to do when working in a field that can easily be corrupt. The way he described his job pushed me even more to not be a lawyer. What was nice about him though was that he found what he enjoyed doing and stuck with it in a city where many jump around with their jobs. John is currently retired. He took us out for coffee in the morning and showed us around George Mason University Law School. There we talked to a student and met with admissions which was very helpful just in case I did decide to go into law. Wingard also talked about his time at OSU, being in a fraternity and his studies there. He was a nice start to the week.
Later I met with Meghan Gannon who is a scheduler for a congressman. She was a fellow Mountie when she attended OSU, so it was nice to hear about Mount back then. She talked about the move to Washington D.C. and how it may take time and lots of persistence. Her story, like many, demonstrated it is about who you know in DC, not what you know. She also talked about how scheduling for an official is a very time consuming job and very important. We discussed what it is like to be young and in DC, especially good places to eat.
The next day I visited City Year DC. I interned in City Year Columbus, so it was nice to compare it to DC. I met with many of the administrators there and talked about doing City Year in DC. We talked about where I am and where I want to go. I asked many questions on what people do after completing City Year DC. They said many do go into education and some go the political route. There are resources as they explained through city year and many scholarship options for grad school. It was interesting to compare the nonprofit to its Columbus office. They also offered to take a group next year and show them around or do a session.
For lunch, I met with Stacey Pelika of the Nation Education Association. I have always been interested in education policy but was unknowledgeable of the official organizations dealing with the issues. It was nice to learn about what the NEA does and how it works. I also enjoyed discussing current issues dealing with education. Stacey focused on the research part of education policy which sounded similar to what I am learning in my classes.
To end the day I visited George Washington Law School. Talking to GW law school admissions was helpful I figuring out if I wanted to go to law school. I learned that there is no one path to Law school or after. There is no answer to getting in to law school, it is about grades and showing a specific interests. Coming out I realized I still am leaning away from law school, especially right after under grad. It was cool listening to a top law school admission to understand what law school is like and helpful hints to get there.
I started my Wednesday at Georgetown. At first I got lost, but I loved seeing the school so much it was fine. I first met up with my cousin who is a leader in their international grad school program. She connected me to their Associate Director Eleanor Jones took my resume and went over it for majority of the time. We also discussed the path that got her to the high position. I learned that sometimes I will have to take a step back to move forward to get to my destination. The advice I gained from visiting Georgetown is irreplaceable along with visiting the beautiful campus.
I got dinner that day with Amber Phelps, a teacher near DC. The connection I found with Amber was her involvement with Teach For America. I am very interested in doing an AmeriCorps program after I graduate. Comparing TFA to City Year in DC was helpful on this trip. I enjoyed talking about how Ohio State has changed over our few years’ difference.
After a visit to the White House on Thursday, I had breakfast with Jay Hunter. Jay is OSU alum who works at the Congressional Quarterly. The CQ is under the economists. Jay writes information on different congressmen to be published. Visiting CQ, Washington Post, and NPR sparked interests in journalism I never considered. Jay taught me one does not have to be journalists to be in the industry. It was also great to speak with a recent OSU grad.
Sara Todd, a lawyer at Fannie Mae, took us out for a nice lunch. She did not want to talk about her job as much as she wanted to relive her days at OSU. She was such a fun person to talk to and interesting to. Like many, she stumbled into her job unsure of her desired career path. The best advice I got from her was to enjoy being young and in college, it doesn’t last too long.
Last for that day I met with Carla McGarvey, whom works on tax policy for a Florida Senator. Her, along with many, brought up the point of it is who you know not what you know. She told us what to do if we wanted to get involved with politics. We also discussed lobbying too. She brought up lobbying also and how there are lobbyists for everything. We entertained on the idea of Disney lobbyists and lobbyists for lobbyists. She gave hope to working in DC, like it is very possible as long as I did it right.
I met with Billie Kaumaya Friday morning who works for the Nation Association for Home Builders. She gave all the details on the fun side of Washington DC. Her energy was great for the morning and got me excited for the day. She did not go over her job as much as the transition for Ohio State to DC. She told me the places I needed to go and the best places to live. Her advice will be of assistance when I move to DC.
After, I met with CJ Horn a professor at the Naval Defense University. He had a lot of information on serving and working at a University. I was more interested in his work as a professor. I enjoyed hearing his comparison to all the different positions he held while on service and teaching. He had many stories and ideas to discuss.
My last meeting was a return to the OSU federal Governments Office. I luckily showed up early to talk to Joe Sadek who is in charge to the Washington Academic Internship program. We chatted about the program and the best time to take it. The information I gathered was helpful. Later when I talked with Stacey and Bill did I gain advice on how to get to their seats. Like many, it was not direct. I just have to find out what works for me and what I enjoy. Eventually it will lead me to where I need to be. It was also great to catch up with Bill and talk about the benefits of City Year. I enjoyed going to their office again and found it useful.
After the DC Scholars trip I feel more stable with my future, I am more sure of what I am studying is right for me. Meeting all the Ohio State Alumni was incredible. They still had a passion for the school and brought it to Washington DC. As much as I loved the monuments, museums, and White house, I found all the people I met the most fascinating. As one put it, in DC everyone has a cool job and a cool story. With more connections, I hope to be one of those people with a cool job and a cool story.