post-summer | #5

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Goodbye cards a fellow intern & I made on the last day

Through both the work I have been doing and the discussions I have had with mentors and peers, my summer has given me lots of things to think about as I continue to move forward in life and make plans for the future.

In the middle of Winter semester, I struggled in deciding whether to push forward with my EECS minor or not. I felt somewhat ambivalent about aspects of my EECS classes. While I put a lot of effort into them, I didn’t always feel energized by the class. I eventually came to the conclusion that I’d stick with it for now, and see if my internship in the technology department of the DNC would change my mind – perhaps I would find it more meaningful to work on coding projects that I was more personally invested in. I also tentatively wanted to write a thesis in political science.

A couple months later, I find myself feeling more secure about both of those decisions. While it wasn’t until later in the summer that I was able to take on some projects that I was excited by, I can definitely see myself working in data analytics/data science in the future – perhaps in a more policy-oriented position. I believe both the EECS minor and the thesis writing process will help me build useful skills toward that end, and I am also looking to improve my stats and machine learning skills. I also loved my experience living in D.C., and can totally envision myself there – perhaps next year.

dc dreaming | #1

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I am interning at the Democratic National Committee, working in Washington D.C., and living across the Potomac in Arlington, VA. I’ve been here for almost two months now, and have been enjoying my time in the city immensely. I had some concerns before I arrived – this is my first time living in a major city, so I wasn’t sure if I would like it. Fortunately, I’ve found D.C. to be charming and not too formidable. The lack of skyscrapers certainly helps with this – I hear that zoning laws prevent any buildings from being taller than the Washington Monument. It’s also easy to navigate, and while the metro has occasionally been delayed, especially given that it’s been going under some major construction, I have found it to be quite convenient (somewhat relevant twitter account: @ismetroonfire).

There’s always something going on in DC, a nice change of pace from the suburban town I grew up in. Being able to go see the Supreme Court release its decision on Whole Woman’s Health before going to work or see the sit-in for gun control on the House floor is pretty cool; I’ve also been frequenting the Smithsonians, and have found a community garden to volunteer at. Something I didn’t expect is that I have really enjoyed the networking opportunities that come from being in DC: I’ve been able to connect with Michigan alumni doing all sorts of interesting things in politics and who I’ve found to be quite willing to grab coffee or lunch with an undergrad. It has been really educational for me to find out more about what opportunities are out there, and what life is like doing jobs that I have considered but not fully understood.

As someone who is interested in a career in politics, I can definitely see myself returning to DC. While I’m not sure if it’ll be right after graduation or a few years down the road, I do think I’ll eventually make my way here again.