I didn’t entirely know what to expect this summer — my second in Washington, D.C. in three years. I knew I was going to intern at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, but had no idea of the opportunities that would present themselves to me as soon as I moved up to the nation’s capital May 25. In less than three weeks, I have gone to the White House to hear President Obama talk about student loan debt, attended an Economic Policy Institute event at which Labor Secretary Tom Perez spoke, raced other interns whenever an e-mail was sent out informing us about free food and run into fellow Duke students seemingly everywhere I have turned.
I immediately realized how many Duke students were interning in the District of Columbia. I have met classmates at the George Washington University gym, in my own residence hall at GW, on my way to work or on the metro. Moreover, two other Duke students are interning with me at CAP. The familiarity of fellow Duke students has undoubtedly helped me adjust to the hustle-and-bustle of Washington, a city I was somewhat accustomed to thanks to my six-week internship with David Price’s office after my first year at Duke. This summer has a decidedly different feel than the 2012 internship; I had not taken a single public policy studies course before I interned for Representative Price, but now I know and recognize several students from Sanford courses. The pervasiveness of Duke certainly has its benefits; it has allowed me to arrange meals and get-togethers with friends during the week and on weekends.
At CAP, I work with the immigration team. Lately a lot of my work has centered on the humanitarian crisis of child migrants crossing the U.S./Mexico border without their parents. My favorite part of the internship (aside from my trip to the White House, of course) are the immigration planning meetings I attend at which all the people talk about what they are working on and strategize for future projects. It’s clear that CAP has people researching on several issues meticulously and attempting to pressure actors to create action. I have found a welcoming environment that appreciates my work at CAP; I couldn’t ask for anything more. I cannot wait to find out what awaits me the rest of this summer.