Monday, September 12, 2011

My First Week

The US Capitol on a Sunny Saturday Afternoon

Well students of Rogers State, I would like to begin this blog with a piece of humble advice. Do not fly in to Dulles International Airport when flying into Washington D.C. I arrived on the 31st of August and because of a cheap ticket from Southwest, I ended up spending $80 dollars on a taxi and one hour in traffic. It wasn’t worth it! Now to my actual post…….

Wow! So far my entire experience at The Washington Center (TWC) has been absolutely amazing! I know I have only been here just short of a week and a half now, but wow! I am interning at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), I have my own apartment just eight blocks from Capitol Hill, I have been an arm’s length away from Speaker of the John Boehner, and I have taken a cruise on the Potomac River. Please allow me start at the beginning.

On the 1st of September we had an orientation where many different speakers came to address us. One was the President of the Washington Center program, the very top of the totem pole here so to speak. There were 320 students from around the world all seated in the auditorium and he began to pick individuals out, asking them where they were from, what they were majoring in, how they heard of the program, etc. The last student he picked out was yours truly.

I began by telling him I hailed from the thriving metropolis of Nowata, Oklahoma. I then said that I had heard of TWC program after asking one of my professors, Dr. Carolyn Taylor, how to become more active in politics or where to even begin. Upon hearing the name he immediately knew exactly where I went to school. He informed the entire student body that Stratton Taylor, Dr. Taylor’s husband, was an alumnus of TWC and then gave us all a brief history of Stratton’s accomplishments. He then went on to say how Stratton Taylor truly encompassed the three pillars of TWC; civic engagement, leadership, and giving back to the community. It made me very proud to be a student at Rogers State University.

I began my internship the following Tuesday in the financial department of the NRCC. This is basically the fund raising arm of the NRCC. I really lucked out here because the Director of this department is actually from Norman. He was excited that another “Okie” was working in his area and I am excited to be working for him. Something everyone keeps saying again and again is how important networking is and I see this as an important contact to have.

The most exciting thing I was included in this past week was a welcome back reception for Republican members of Congress at The Capitol Hill Club. I was only giving out name tags to lobbyists but the room was so small that I was literally, at different points in the evening, standing right next to Speaker Boehner, Rep. Darrell Issa, Rep. John Sullivan, Rep. Frank Lucas, and many others, I do not believe the smile ever left my face that night.

We also have to take a course in addition to our internship and I believe I lucked out here as well. I enrolled in a course that is being done with C-SPAN. It was open to twenty-five students and will be broadcast on C-SPAN 3 every Friday evening. Every week we will have different guests and we will be able to ask them whatever questions we may have related to Presidential politics. Just tonight I was able to get in a couple of questions with Jonathan Martin from Politico.

The most exciting aspect however is that our Professor for the three hour class, held every Monday, is none other than Steve Scully! If anyone, besides myself, ever watches C-Span one or two on the weekends then you should know who he is. He hosts different programs and has interviewed nearly every political figure you could imagine. He is also a really great teacher and super easy to talk to. Its the picture at the top.

Everything is like a dream come true so far. The way everything is shaping up I hope to be able share still more awesome experiences that Rogers State has made possible for me in the days and weeks to come, so be sure to check out this blog at least once a week to hear all about them.

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