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From Peach State to Capital City: My Internship Adventure Begins

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Hello and welcome to this amazing journey! I got dropped off at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to take my flight to D.C. and arrive at Ronald Reagan National Airport. While waiting to board, I met some interns from the HEP/CAMP USDA internship placement.

I was nervous but excited because this was my first time flying alone and being far away from home. When I arrived in Washington, D.C. I thought it would take some time to get to know the other interns and feel welcome, but it was not that way. When I arrived in D.C., I was greeted by Juan Diego Gonzalez and Patrick Doone. They guided me to where the other interns were, and we all got together to check into Hotel Hive for the night.

Once we checked in, we ate at the GW cafeteria and had a great time getting to know each other. When we finished eating dinner, we went to see the White House, and it was so cool! After seeing the White House, we went back to the hotel, where my roommate Bryan and I were able to get to know each other and share some good conversations. We both took a last-minute trip to 7-Eleven to get some snacks and some medicine because, for some reason, I had a stomach ache. We got lucky because as soon as we returned to the hotel, it started to rain. After that, we talked for a little more and called it a night.

D.C. Exploration Day

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Today was a busy day. We woke up this morning at 9:00 am to check out of Hotel Hive and then waited to check into our dorms in Shenkman Hall, where we will live for the next 10 weeks. After checking in, we went to the metro to purchase our cards. I was worried about this part because this was my first time in a city. We then used the metro system to travel to Target to shop for our groceries. Virginia explained everything in detail, including what to look for and apps we could download to navigate the metro. I was also able to try Panda Express for the first time, thanks to my roommate Bryan, who suggested that we eat lunch there.

In the afternoon, we were able to attend the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) welcome event, where I met the other interns and got to know them a little better. The CHCI team provided us with a meal, and I had an amazing time networking with others. After the event, all of the HEP/CAMP Interns continued exploring D.C. on our own and we had ice cream together afterward.

Tour of the U.S. Capital

Monday, May 27, 2024

Today, we were able to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol, and it was an amazing opportunity to take a look inside and learn more about the history of this nation. When we walked inside, I was amazed by the architecture. Our tour guide was amazing-she made sure we did not miss anything and engaged with all of us. We also ate at the Capitol cafeteria, and when I say there were many people, I mean there were a lot. Overall, it was a great experience I will never forget, and I hope to bring my family to see this wonderful place one day.

Meeting with CHCI for in-person orientation for the first time

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

We woke up early this morning to meet at the metro and ride as a group to the CHCI building for breakfast. During breakfast, we were able to get to know each other more, and the CHCI staff passed out goodie bags with stuff such as a shirt, business cards, CHCI Pins, and a notebook.

After breakfast, we headed to the National Education Association Building, where our programming took place. We listened to speakers explain how Congress works and gave us valuable advice when interning in D.C. The presentations were very informative, and although I am not interning in the Capitol I found the information very useful and applicable to any agency or office. Later in the afternoon, we were able to have dinner at the Nueva Vista Group (NVG) office and were able to speak about farm workers and farmers with Giev Kashkooli, the Political and Legislative Director of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). It was an interesting topic that we discussed at length, so much so that he and I agreed to meet later during my time in D.C. to discuss these issues further.

"Presente" at the National Museum of American History Latino exhibition

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

This morning, we were given a private tour of the National Museum of America's ¡Presente! exhibit where we learned about Latino culture and history in the United States. It was an amazing exhibition because we were able to see that no matter our backgrounds, we are one people. After the museum, we continued our CHCI orientation. Antoinette Dao spoke to us about budgeting and good money habits, which I found very helpful because sometimes I struggle to manage my money between my savings and checking accounts. Another speaker who came to present to us was Dennis Gonzalez. The information he provided about networking was informative because that is a skill I would like to improve. The time he spent with us helped me feel more confident in my networking abilities.

Photoshoot Day

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Today was an amazing day because we were able to go get our professional headshots and group photos. After taking our photos, we met the USDA HEP/CAMP interns at the USDA building. While there, I was able to meet some of the staff with whom I will be working. Later that day we went to get lunch at the Capitol and went to the CHCI programming afterwards.

We beat the bomb!! But had to say Goodbye

Friday, May 31, 2024

What an awesome day it was!! In the morning, the CAMP Interns and I headed to the CHCI building, where we were provided with breakfast to get the day started. After breakfast, we headed to the NEA building to continue our orientation. We all presented in groups over the chapters we read of the book titled "Climbing The Hill." It was great learning what the groups had to present to all of us. The best part is that we played Jeopardy over the CHCI Handbook--my group and I were on fire for the first half of this game. Afterward was the most exciting part of the day for me when we went to an escape room called "Beat the Bomb." While it was challenging, it helped further develop our abilities to work as a team. Our team and I had to solve patterns and navigate through lasers. In the end, we arrived at the paint room and defeated the bomb--to celebrate our victory as the only team to win, we got sprayed with paint.

When we got back to our dorms, the interns coordinated to wear our official HEPCAMP shirts to surprise Patrick and Virginia with a group photo before their return to Florida. It was funny because they realized that we were all matching and prepared for our photo while they were not. They are the best people and helped me feel more confident and prepared to tackle my internship placement with USDA. While it was sad to say goodbye, I was reassured that they would be back in July to visit us during the Annual Director's Meeting.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Day

Saturday, June 1, 2024

This morning, the interns and I woke up and met at the metro to visit the market. We spent a few hours with Virginia before she flew back to Florida. I bought some fresh peaches at the market for me and my roommate to have for the week, which was a nice reminder of home for me. Afterward, we visited the National Air and Space Museum, and it was amazing to see how technology has changed and evolved over the years.

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