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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A recap of a summer in Washington, DC

This summer I decided to trade the Texas heat for the even more vicious humidity of Washington, DC, where I studied with the Fund for American Studies’ Engalitcheff Institute on Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University. The program’s slogan of “Live. Learn. Intern,” although a little hokey, perfectly encompassed my DC experience, surprising me with exactly how much fun and how little sleep that these three simple words could entail.

I lived on Georgetown’s campus with other students from the program that came from across the country and throughout the world, making for lots of jokes about each others’ accents which ranged from Mid-Western to Middle Eastern, many interesting political debates, and the enjoyment of some great international cooking. Also as part of the program, I took two classes in politics and economics, which were great and managed to keep me quite busy. This summer however, I found that the most valuable learning experiences occurred outside of class.

I was able to attend lectures and small lunches with ambassadors, congressmen, and leaders of NGOs. Hearing such a range of people talk about their backgrounds and their work helped me to get a sense of the opportunities that DC has to offer and made this summer a truly unique experience. I also learned from the experiences of friends in the program. Although I only did one internship this summer, I feel like I have done dozens through their daily reports of failures (non-stop copying, faxing, and/or errand running) and triumphs (almost anything other than non-stop copying, faxing and/or errand running).
My internship, where I worked with the Chief Counsel’s Office of the American Red Cross National Headquarters, was easily the best part of my summer. The Chief Counsel’s office handles all of the legal issues for the American Red Cross, including everything from the real estate purchases of the individual chapters to the organization’s efforts internationally. Instead of being assigned to one person, I rotated among the different attorneys in the office, allowing me to get a glimpse of a variety of different legal issues and learn a lot about the Red Cross as an organization. With my internship, my classes, and the simple satisfaction of having the Metro map committed to memory, my DC experience has been invaluable. If you ever have a chance to live, learn, and intern in DC, I highly recommend it.

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