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Living and Learning

Updated: 22 hours ago


Mondays mean CHCI programming. The only difference today was that Professor Bartels was not there to give us a lecture. It was unfortunate that she was not there because her sessions are my favorite part of my day, but we still had a complete day of very useful sessions with CHCI. We had Pamela, the director of internship and fellowship programs, teach us about different types of resumes and tips for interviews. I learned new things about what you should and should not include in your resumes, and things you should ask during an interview and what you should be ready for. She also showed us her LinkedIn and we were able to see what things to put on them as well. We even got to have some work time to incorporate what we learned and make some changes to our resumes and LinkedIn. This was a pretty chill day and we ended earlier than usual. It was Lara's (one of the interns) birthday, and everyone was going out to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It was a nice way to end the day


Welcome to the USDA


Usually, every day we have a 9 am meeting with everyone in the Deputy Secretary's office. We did that and then after I made my way down to the patio for the intern welcome event they held. Russelie joined me for a second to hear the opening remarks from Deputy Secretary Xochitl. After that she left, but I stayed for the rest. Many different people from different agencies in the USDA came and informed us about their offices. Everyone spoke for about 5-10 minutes and then the audience was able to ask questions. My favorite person I heard was Tina Terrel, from the USDA Forest Service, she was really interesting to hear and was good at getting the audience's attention. We then took a break for lunch, and I only went back for about an hour, and I made my way to a conference room. Sean Babington, a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary, gave us a mini lecture about the Secretary's White Board speech. After, I went back to the event, but it was the end. I unfortunately only heard the Secretary answer one question. Hopefully I get to hear him speak a different time.


Staying Busy


After our morning meeting, I went back to our office. Neha, who is also one of my supervisors from the Office of the Secretary, has a conference room for her staff to use. I have the option to go and work there, but usually in my office there is always at least one person gone, so they let me work at their desk. I spent most of my morning doing research on the secretary's Whiteboard speech. His speech was about his view for the USDA. He wants to continue the success of the department, but he wants to create a system that will benefit all and create more opportunities. Specifically, a system that will help all sizes of farms. In recent years, the bigger farms have been taken most of the income and have left nothing for the smaller farms.

Lunch was delicious that day, there was free food in the Cesar Chavez Patio in the South Building. I did not know it was named after him, I thought it was pretty cool. Later that day I had a meeting with Gregory Jaffe, a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Secretary. He had a background in law and even worked in the Department of Justice, but he eventually made his way into policy work. This made me realize that I have different options for my future career and that I may even change it and can work in multiple areas. I also got a quick lesson on memos from Diamond that day. At the end of the day, I saw someone painting this outside the USDA.


I Love Free Food


To start the day, we went to an event. It was to launch the International Year of the Woman Farmer for 2026, which was an idea that came from a previous Deputy Secretary. After this I did some more research on Secretary's White Board speech. The whole reason I am doing is because I have a reflection due next week on the speech and we have to also think of some questions or find gaps that is has. I also got to speak with Cecilia Hernandez. She is a designated federal officer, specifically for the USDA Equity Commission. I had a very good conversation with her and realized we had a lot of the same background. A lot of what she does is finding ways to make and implement policies to better the equity at the USDA. After work I made my way to the CHCI Summer Intern Social. I met a lot of Latinos from other federal agencies and offices. It was very fun to hear about what they do. After this we made our way to a presidential debate watch party hosted by Esme's office. Honestly, it was very disappointing to see our two candidates bicker all night. They even talked about who had a better handicap in golf. Either way we were all thankful for Esme's office for providing food and a place to watch it.


Fridays are for Farmer's Markets


The first thing I did on Friday was go pick up my badge. It is such a relief to finally have a badge. For the last couple weeks, I would have to go through security every day to get into the building and then wait for someone with a badge to let me up. The only thing I am waiting for is my badge to have access to the Deputy Secretary's office. During the morning, I worked on a draft email for my office to send out to people we invited to the 4th of July party we host. This email was for people to respond with how many guests they were bringing and to inform them of different logistics for the party. I went to the farmer's market like I always do and got some food there for lunch. I also was given a monthly report memo to analyze and find errors in it. It was a way for me to learn the right way to edit and write them. After this I called it a day and made my way home. I went on a run to Georgetown and saw some cool views and some transformers. That night I went to go watch Ratatouille at the Kennedy Center.


I Missed Pickle ball


I didn't really go anywhere special this weekend, but I had a lot of fun. On Saturday I went to the outdoor pool with some friends and got a little too burnt I am still feeling it right now. After the pool I was invited to a BBQ by a friend with her coworkers. It was fun to get to meet new people especially since most of them were from Oregon and they actually knew where Idaho was. That night some friends hosted a movie night in their room because they just got a projector. I had a lot of fun there as well. On Sunday, I went to this pickle ball social, with some of the boys. We played, ate pizza, and met a lot of people. It was a good weekend. Also I saw this Kennedy Bus.

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