Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DC Update 4


My last month in D.C. was filled with just as much excitement as the first three.. and I can't believe it's over!

I got to go to the Supreme Court on April 22 to hear an oral argument for Ricci v. DeStefano.  It was one of the more popular cases chosen so the place was PACKED and there were several TV stations filming outside!  There was a waiting line to get in just to be able to sit for 3 minutes and listen.  Once I finally got in, I was allowed to stay for the last 30 minutes since I was an intern on Capitol Hill!

The next week, several of us got to go meet Congressman Edwards.  He set up a time for the Aggie interns to come to his office so he could talk to us about our internships.  It was really neat to get to meet him and hear how he became a Congressman.

In my last two weeks, I got to meet and take pictures with Senator Hutchison and Senator Cornyn at events they have each week to meet constituents.  I also got to go on a tour of the capitol dome with one of our staff members!  He was taking a group and invited me to come along.

Here are some pictures!

Week 15: The view of the Lincoln and World War II Memorials from the Washington Monument.  This same day I got a ticket to go through the White House Grounds and Gardens.
Week 15: Arlington National Cemetery for Aggie Muster wreath laying.
Week 15: One of the groups I took on a tour.  They were all members of embassies in D.C.  Two were from Canada, then one from Germany, Korea, Belgium, Estonia, Montenegro, Chile and Algeria.
Week 15: I went back to the Vietnam Memorial one last time.
Week 15: I visited Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown.  It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!  The gardens just went on forever.
Week 15: My roommate Jenna and I rented a car and drove to Monticello.  Of all the houses I saw during my internship, it was my favorite by far.  It was VERY unique inside and out!
Week 16: The view of my building, Cannon House Office Building from the top of the capitol during the dome tour I went on.
Week 16: The National Cathedral the third time I visited for "Flower Mart."  I went on a tower climb during this visit!
Week 17: My sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece got to visit right before I left!  My nephew and I flew a kite in front of the Washington Monument.  The next day we went on a boat ride (pulled by mules!) up and down the C&O Canal and got cupcakes at famous "Georgetown Cupcakes" for his fourth birthday.
Week 17: Old capitol columns at the National Arboretum.
Week 18: On our last night in D.C., my roommate Amanda and I took her sister's car into town around midnight to see the monuments one last time.  It was absolutely beautiful.  There was hardly anyone out.  At one point, I was the only person in the Lincoln Memorial.
Week 18: I left for the airport at 10:30 Eastern, my flight left at 1:40, and I had a three-hour layover in Denver.  I finally arrived in Austin a little after 10 Central for a total of 13 hours in airports and on planes!  By my travel still wasn't done!  I called my parents when my plane landed, and one of our mares was in labor so they hadn't left for the airport!  My dad ended up having to take the mare to the vet for a caesarean section, so my mom had to come get me by herself.

Where I've been since my last update:

Washington Monument (inside)
White House Garden Tour
National Geographic Society
Cathedral of St. Matthew The Apostle
Charles Sumner School
Einstein Monument at The National Academy of Sciences
DAR Headquarters (toured)
Department of the Interior Museum
Heurich House Museum (outside)
National Trust for Historic Preservation (outside)
Wadsworth House (outside)
Washington Club (outside)
Anderson House (outside)
Woodrow Wilson House (toured)
Textile Museum
Embassy Row
D.C. WWI Veterans Memorial
Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site (inside)
Dumbarton House (tour)
Oak Hill Cemetery
Mount Zion Cemetery
Tudor Place (tour)
Dumbarton Oaks (toured gardens)
Old Stone House (outside)
Montpelier (tour)
Monticello (tour)
U.S. Capitol Dome (tour)
Old Stone House (inside)
C&O Canal
Washington Harbor
Blues Alley
Dean & Deluca (inside)
Forrest-Marbury House (outside)
Halcyon House (outside)
Worthington House (outside)
Prospect House (outside)
Georgetown University (outside)
Cox’s Row
St. John’s House (outside)
Berry House (outside)
Laird-Dunlop House (outside)
Library of Congress Reading Room
Department of State Diplomatic Reception Rooms (toured)
U.S. National Arboretum

With John Cornyn
With Kay Bailey Hutchison

Me with Congressman Carter on the steps of the house side of the capitol
       So after four months in Washington, D.C., sorting 5144 faxes and 20968 digital and physical pieces of mail, giving 23 tours to a total of 98 people, and about 13 hours of airports and planes on the way back, I write from home, sweet home in Buda, Texas.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DC Update: Muster


 The National Capital Texas A&M Club honored fallen Aggies today by laying a wreath in Arlington Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The wreath was placed by Congressman Louie Gohmert ('75), Lieutenant General John Sylvester ('67, the club's Muster speaker), and two members of the club.  I wanted to share some pictures from the ceremony with the Aggies/honorary Aggies on my DC update mailing list...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

DC Update 3


I can't believe another month has flown by.  Spring is in full swing here now and the scenery has become breathtaking.  The cherry blossoms were incredible while they lasted.  This past month I continued my regular job duties, survived probably the roughest phone call I'll ever encounter, and got to go to a fundraiser for Congressman Carter!

A work-related highlight of the month was the Republican National Conference Committee’s March dinner.  Congressman Carter is the Conference Secretary and he had a few extra tickets so the office was kind enough to let me go.  It was held in the National Building Museum and was absolutely gorgeous!  I sat at a table with our staff assistant, Victoria, and several other people.  We got to hear Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speak.

I went to New York again to visit my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece, and got to see an absolutely amazing musical called Wicked on Broadway, and a play called The Unseen that my brother-in-law was working for.

Spring Break for Texas was a busy week for our office!  We had several tours scheduled every day, so I have now given 14 tours to a total of 67 people.  One of the tours I gave was to a family originally from Sri Lanka.  They gave me a Sri Lanka flag pin at the end of the tour.

A very new experience I had was campaigning for a candidate in the New York special election for the vacant seat in the House of Representatives.  I don't know how many phone calls I made, but most people didn't answer so I just left messages for them.  The neat thing is that the election ended up being so close that at one point the difference of votes could have easily been the number of calls I made.  They still don't know who won!

My parents got to come up to DC for a trip with the Texas Farm Bureau at the end of March.  I took one day off of work to take them around sightseeing and the other days they had meetings to attend.  It was great to get to show them around and then go to the events Farm Bureau had planned for them!  I got to sit in on their group meeting with Congressman Carter, took photographs with my Congressman, Lloyd Doggett, went on a night tour of the capitol with Congressman Louie Gohmert, and on a night tour of the monuments.

Week Nine: Dinner with Dr. Elliot head of the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications department at A&M
Week 10:  At the circus in Verizon Center with some of the other interns
Week 10: The Washington Monument
Week 10: Part of the Korean War Memorial
Week 11: RNCC dinner at the National Building Museum
Week 11: Some of the A&M interns before our tour of the Pentagon
Week 11: Beautiful Saucer Magnolia tree outside of the Smithsonian Castle
Week 12: Congressman Lloyd Doggett, me and my parents
Week 12: The view of the National Mall from the Speaker's balcony.
Week 12: Dr. Murano with some of the interns after a hearing she was in town to testify for.
Week 12: President of Texas A&M, Dr. Murano and me
Week 12: The White House, statue in President's park, and beautiful tulips
Where I've been since my last update:

Senate gallery
Senate floor
The Pentagon (tour)
The Speaker’s balcony
Prayer chapel in the Capitol
Eastern Market
National Postal Museum
Sewall-Belmont House (tour)
Union Station
National Museum of American History
Vietnam Women’s Memorial
Korean War Veteran’s Memorial
Tidal Basin
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
George Mason Memorial Garden
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
National Aquarium
Decatur House (tour)
Blair House (outside)
Renwick Gallery
The Octagon (outside)
DAR Headquarters
Organization of American States (outside)
Verizon Center
National Building Museum
Carnegie Library (Historical Society of Washington)

US Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center

Thursday, March 12, 2009

DC Update 2


I’ve now been working in DC for a little over two months!  Last time I wrote, I had just completed capitol tour training.  Since then, I’ve given eight tours to a total of 52 people.  My first tour (if you can imagine) was to 16 employees of the British Embassy in DC!

My seventh weekend in DC, I met two co-workers, Congressman Carter and his wife Erika at the Washington National Cathedral to hear the Round Rock Community Choir perform.  It was so much fun!  I also got to take my first picture with Congressman Carter after the concert.

Another notable experience I have had in the past month was getting to go to a joint session of Congress!  One of our staff members was kind enough to give me a ticket to go hear Prime Minister Gordon Brown speak.  I was able to recognize Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry on the house floor during the session.  The only bad thing was that I had a terrible time paying attention because of my excitement!  Every once in a while I would realize how far away my mind was, and would pull it back and concentrate on the speech for a while before my excitement would take over again.

I’ve gone to three congressional hearings in the past month.  These are meetings where committees discuss and hear witnesses speak for or against new legislation.  It’s always interesting to hear the questions the congressmen ask the witnesses after their testimony.  I’ve also gone to several briefings.  Briefings are sponsored by groups, so they are more one-sided than hearings, and give presentations to encourage funding or new legislation for the group’s interests.

Here are pictures of what I’ve been spending my weekends doing!

Week Five: Me with my nephew, Grayson and niece, Ella in Forest Hills, New York
Week Five: me with my sister, Lisa in Times Square on Valentine’s Day
Week Six: ANRP interns Megan (my roommate), Elizabeth, me and Liz after our tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Week Six: US Botanical Gardens
Week Six: My roommate, Megan and me at Rosa Mexicana taking advantage of the last day of DC Restaurant Week!
Week Seven: Congressman Carter and me at Washington National Cathedral after hearing the Round Rock Community Choir perform
Week Seven: Washington National Cathedral
Week Eight: An early parade for Saint Patrick’s Day in Alexandria, Virginia
Week Eight: The Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Where I’ve been since I wrote last:

Supreme Court (outside only)
Library of Congress
Folger Shakespeare Library
US Botanic Garden
National Museum of the American Indian
National Gallery of Art
National Museum of Natural History
Bureau of Engraving & Printing
White House
National Archives
Washington National Cathedral
Torpedo Factory Art Center (Alexandria)
Captain’s Row (Alexandria)
Athenaeum (Alexandria)
George Washington Masonic National Memorial (Alexandria)
Lee-Fendall House (Alexandria)
Lyceum (Alexandria)
Confederate Statue (Alexandria)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

DC Update 1


For those of you who don't know, after several interviews in December I was chosen to go to Washington, D.C. for an internship in a Texas congressman's office.  I moved up here January 12, and will move back to Texas May 12.  I am living in Arlington (Crystal City), Virginia in an apartment with five other girls from A&M who are doing internships.  There are 13 other Aggies in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy (ANRP) Internship Program with me, and then another nine in our sister program, the Public Policy Internship Program (PPIP) that are all living in this apartment complex.

This Monday will be the first day of my fifth week in D.C.  Work is going great; I'm not making NEARLY as much coffee as I thought I would!  I'm becoming an expert at sorting every kind of mail imaginable instead!  Thankfully mail sorting has proven to be far more educational than the coffee making.  It's great to get to read what people write about because I learn about a broad range of issues every day.  One of the hotter topics in our office right now is one you might of heard of: the Rangel Rule.  The congressman I work for, John Carter introduced that legislation!  We've been getting calls from all over the country about it.

This past week I went to capitol tour training to learn what to say and where to go when I take constituents on tours of the capitol.  The only bad thing about it is that I have to study the materials they gave us--difficult when registered for 12 hours with A&M this semester along with working full-time and sightseeing!

But enough of plain words for now.  Here are some pictures so you can see what I've been up to!

Week One: My roommate Megan and me.  This was our second day in D.C. and we had just finished meeting everyone at our offices.
Week One: Megan and me on our first day of work (January 15) outside of my office - Cannon House Office Building

Week Two: Jaci (Texas Tech intern who works with me) and me at the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball.  They invited Texas interns to come and volunteer for two hours during the event in order to attend the rest of the ball without paying $200+ for a ticket!

Week Two: I had a ticket to the inauguration to stand on the National Mall but the crowds were insane, they stopped admitting people because one of the entrances let people without tickets in, and it was cold so I watched from one of the house office buildings and this was the view out of the window.

Week Two: On inauguration day, I was supposed to meet my roommate at her office in the morning, but she got shaken up from the crowds and decided to go back home when she got to work after it had taken her two hours to get there (it's normally about thirty minutes)!  I met the girl in this picture, Gina, at the metro station in Crystal City and we ended up hanging out the whole day.  She got me to inauguration (the stop where I would have gotten off was so packed underground that you could barely get off of the train), and I got her into the office building where we watched it!

Week Two: Arlington Cemetery with some of the other Aggie interns.

Week Two: The most gigantic piece of pizza I have ever seen at Jumbo Slice Pizza in the Adams Morgan district.

Week Three: On our way to work on our first snow day.

Week Three: Victoria, our staff assistant/intern coordinator and me outside of the office.

Week Three: View from the Old Post Office building in D.C.

Week Four: Me at the pentagon yesterday morning

Week Four: Marine Corps Memorial yesterday

Where I've been so far:
U.S. Capitol
Freer Gallery of Art
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
National Museum of African Art
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
National Air and Space Museum
WWII Monument
Washington Monument (just not inside of it yet!)
Vietnam Veteran's Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Ford's Theatre (again, not inside yet because it wasn't open until Feb 3)
the Friendship Arch in Chinatown
National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Freedom Plaza
Old Post Office
Lincoln Theatre (outside)
Ben's Chili Bowl
Smithsonian National Zoo
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Arlington National Cemetery
Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)
The Pentagon Memorial
Air Force Memorial