Even though summer ended about a month ago, I think about my summer every single day. Through a summer internship program at American University, I was able to go and intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C, for nine incredible weeks. Within those nine weeks, I had the opportunity to see these people speak: Colin Powell, Justice Elena Kagan, Attorney General Eric Holder and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.I also drink coffee with Illinois’ Senators, had dinner in the Holocaust Museum, got a Library of Congress card, went to the top of the Washington Monument/Old Post Office/National Cathedral, and visited almost all the museums. Some people who live in D.C. can’t say they’ve done that in their lifetime, let alone a nine week span!
Even before I came to Augustana, I knew I wanted to intern in Washington, D.C. Luckily, Augustana has this wonderful thing called Augie Choice, which helps students out financially. Although I won’t bore you with every single thing I did in my nine weeks, I shall give you the top 5 highlights. (If you want to go more in-depth about my summer, feel free to check out my personal blog)
#1–One of my favorite highlights was Capitol Fourth. Basically, it’s Fourth of July at the Capitol. Every year they have different artists sing and then you watch the fireworks. This year the artists included Steve Martin, Josh Groban, Jordin Sparks, and Matthew Morrison. It was incredible seeing all of these artists that I love! We camped out there super early in order to get good seats and it was well worth it. Seeing fireworks over the Washington Monument is something everyone has to experience at least once. It was gorgeous.
#2–Anyone who knows me knows my passion for the Capitol (and press pennies). Every day on my way to my internship, I got to see the Capitol. Nothing in the world compares to seeing the place where our nation’s politics takes place and knowing that you are just a short underground walk from your internship to that building. With my super awesome intern badge, I got to go to the Capitol Subway, which was a short little tram ride to the Capitol. I learned how to give tours of the Capitol and went on quite a few tours myself. And of course, I saw the Capitol at night quite a few times. Monuments at night are a photographer’s dream.
#3–All this talk about the Capitol brings me to the debt ceiling crisis. While the 2011 debt ceiling crisis was going on, I was working in a congressional office. I literally could not have been in Washington at a better time. We got floods of phone calls and emails about the issue and I actually got to sit down with the congressman I interned for and talk to him about this issue for an hour or so. Even though Congress probably wasn’t happy that their recess didn’t start when it was supposed to, I was excited about it.
#4–The Sunset Parade at Arlington Cemetery was something I really enjoyed. We were able to see the Marine Marching Band and Color Guard. They were so precise and it was incredible. Make sure to click on the picture because you can actually see them in mid throw of their rifles with bayonets at the end! Arlington in itself is a fantastic place to visit. I spent a few hours there but in reality, could have spent days walking around.
#5–Mount Vernon and Monticello round out my list.
As a complete nerd, I honestly can say I love going to museums and places of historical significance. So of course I jumped on the idea of going to see George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s houses. We took a boat on the Potomac to get to Mt. Vernon, which I would highly recommend.
Some other small highlights include Zburger having 50 cent burgers and shakes on President Obama’s birthday, Rita’s, Newseum, seeing Third Eye Blind and finally Georgetown Cupcakes! And that concludes a wrap up of my summer in D.C. Remember, if you want to read more, check out my personal blog. Sorry this is incredibly long! Congrats to all of you who read all this. Go eat a cookie or a scoop of ice cream.
Posted on September 20th, 2011 by aliciaoken09
Filed under: Alicia Oken