Grace Lebo

January 25, 2019

This was our last day in DC! It was a pretty sad day for us, but I think we are mostly looking forward to seeing our friends and families at home and getting back into our usual routines. The girls on Capitol Hill got to watch the the buzz surrounding the Senate’s vote on the two proposed bills to end the shutdown. Although neither bill passed, it is good that they are taking steps to end the shutdown. At thirty-four days, this is the longest government shutdown that the United States has ever had, full or partial. The Democrats’ proposal included funding the government through February 8th and no funding for the wall. The Republicans’ proposal included the $5.7 billion for the wall and reopening the government. The government shutdown has definitely added an extra layer of excitement to our trip here, despite the closure of places like the Smithsonian museums.

The girls off of Capitol Hill also had an exciting conclusion to their internships. Meg and Caroline finished off their three weeks with a video that they produced themselves at Double R Productions. Anne spent her last day (and MLK day!) at Fox 5, and Margaret and Jami had their last day of hard work with NASA in Maryland.

We had our last meal as a group right where we started at Tortilla Coast to come full circle and celebrate the end of a adventure filled three weeks in DC. After dinner, we met in Mrs. Vest’s room for our last meeting. This meeting was different than our other meetings because we organized an activity in which each person is assigned another person to compliment and express gratitude for them. This was a great bonding exercise and ended our Winterim on a great note!

Mika Gothard

January 25, 2019

There were a lot of mixed emotions today as we all prepared to return home. Most of us were excited to sleep in our own beds and eat home cooked food, but others were not ready to go home. This morning started by all of us packing up our things, which was difficult considering as an unorganized person, my stuff was scattered everywhere. Caroline and I were both a little panicked this morning because we slept in and still had so much to pack. This was made more difficult because the power was out at our hotel, so we all had to carry our luggage down the stairs. Somehow we still managed to get our suitcases to close and be under the fifty pound limit! After that we all spread out for our last meal in DC. Some girls went to the Capitol to take a few final photos, while Caroline, Elizabeth, and I went to our favorite breakfast spot, Le Pain Quotidien. It was nice to reflect on our trip and talk about what we each had taken away from the experience. Despite the mixed emotions on leaving, I think everyone could agree that we learned a lot about ourselves and whether or not we want to possibly work in the field our hosts work in. More than anything, we will miss the new friends and relationships that we formed on this trip. Personally, I will miss having deep late night conversations with my roomies, CVS runs for candy, and going to Firehook bakery for Chai. This trip has certainly taught us a lot about each other and the workplace, but it also taught us to be better coworkers, roommates, and friends

Catherine Derryberry

January 22, 2019

Today we were all back to work! It was the second to last day of our internships. Senator Lamar Alexander’s interns, began the day by going on a tour of the dome in the Capitol. It was so cool! We started in the crypt and climbed to the top. We were able to see a glimpse into the Capitol that many people do not get the chance to see! Many of the stairs were very steep, so climbing down was scary. We stopped on one level and took photos of the Capitol Rotunda from the very top. After we made it all the way up, we were able to go outside and see most of the city. Today, Congressman Jim Cooper’s had the chance to visit the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. They also had several meeting with various staffers. They were very productive today. Senator Marsha Blackburn’s interns listened to voicemails and were able to take part in a conference call. They also had lunch at Union Station. The NASA interns got to meet the UMBC President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski. For dinner, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant, called Ethiopic. It was so good! As a picky eater, it was a bit out of my comfort zone but I am glad I tried it. Instead of using silverware, you are to eat your food with bread that they brought out. It was so cool! Many of us were a little intimidated by the menu at first, but it was great experience!

Elizabeth Fitzpatrick

January 21, 2019

Because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, all the girls had a long weekend. We initially planned to go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture for MLK Day. I was particularly excited because this seemed like an exceptionally fitting way to celebrate the day– in DC and at the African American History and Culture museum! When I discussed DC with family, the Museum of African American History and Culture was raved about by more than one person. However, because of the government shutdown, we were unable to go to the museum. Though not being unable to go was not a surprise, we were still all very disappointed because we would not be able to go to the museum on another day because of our already planned schedule. This was a bummer because we had been looking forward to going to the museum. Despite our disappointment at not being able to go to the museum, we all still had an eventful day!

Mika, Meg, and I began the morning by taking the metro to Le Pain Quotidien. The whole group tried to go there another day but it did not work out, so we figured that we would go. I would recommend the Belgian hot chocolate! After LPQ, we met up with Jami and Caroline to go shopping and exploring in Georgetown. This was naturally an all-day event! The weather, though brutally cold, was beautiful and we all enjoyed walking outside and seeing the shops and murals. For lunch, we met up with Anne and ate at the famous Martin’s Tavern. President John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie Onassis there! We were seated in a very charming back corner booth and ordered lots of warm food that almost made us forget how freezing it was outside.

Evy, Ellie, and Catherine also perused Georgetown. They shopped until they dropped and then took a lunch break at one of the many cozy Georgetown restaurants. They all agreed that the Georgetown area was very charming and cozy. A shopping highlight for them was discovering the Georgetown sweaters and sweatshirts in the Brandy Melville store! Despite how amazing they found Georgetown, they were certainly glad to get back to the hotel and stay out of the cold.

            Alternatively, Eleanor, Amy, Megan, and Margaret headed to Chinatown. They explored the different restaurants as well as small boutiques. They made a visit to Baked and Wired, a bakery they found to be even better than the famous Georgetown Cupcakes. The girls also stopped by Georgetown briefly, however they were far too cold to stay for long. For lunch, they made their almost daily stop to CAVA, one of our new favorite restaurants. Needless to say, they are very excited for CAVA to come to Nashville. After their trip to Georgetown, they came back to the hotel to warm up and spend more time together.

            For dinner, Mika and I bought food at Dean and DeLuca to eat in the hotel. Going out in the cold again seemed unimaginable! Evy, Megan, Anne, Ellie, Grace, and Catherine, like Mika and I, decided to eat dinner at the hotel. Evy, Megan, and Anne ordered in Italian, and said that it was the best meal yet! Grace, Evy, and Catherine made themselves dinner. Eleanor, Lizzie, Amy, and Margaret decided the queso at a Mexican restaurant called Santa Rosa was worth braving the cold. Meg also journeyed out for dinner to join her aunts for dinner. All the girls returned to the hotel for an early night.

Amy Gilmore

January 22, 2019

Hello Everyone! 

Today was another action-packed day for the D.C. interns. While the NASA girls and the Cooper interns met up for a politics filled day and lunch at Chuck Schumer’s favorite restaurant, the other Capitol Hill girls got to continue experiencing working in government during the longest shutdown period in this nation’s history. As Congressman Jim Cooper pointed out, we are “visiting at a unique, unprecedented time in political history”. The Double R Productions interns were hard at work on their film project, and Anne covered the good, bad, and ugly of the news for Fox 5. After a successful day at work, we overtook Whole Foods for dinner and possibly bought out the mochi ice cream section. We then began our journey to the Kennedy Center for a live music performance of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi with a symphony covering the music. It was, as Caroline put it, “a close second to Miss Saigon, but even better than the Capitals game”. High praise, Miss Harwell. At times, I even forgot the music was live, but then I looked down to see 50 violins bowing to the opening theme. All in all, it was an action-packed day that gave us an authentic D.C. experience and left us exhausted in the process. Here are some pictures from the day: 

Caroline and Amy

Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
National Symphony Orchestra

Eleanor Rankin

January 19, 2019

We woke up around 10 am and went to the Women’s March. I had never been to a Women’s March before so it was great to be able to see one of the bigger ones for the first time. After getting pins, shirts, and hats, we headed into the crowd full of women, their husbands, and their children accompanied by speakers playing motivational music. Honestly, the most notable sight was the signs- they were so creative. The March seemed a to lean about half of the signage being Pro-Women’s Rights, and the other half being Anti-Trump which I was surprised by. After briefly witnessing the March, we headed over to Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington. We enjoyed a guided tour of the grounds and our tour guide Kirk was great at explaining the incentives and dynamics of the laborers around the estate. At work, I learned that space in the Capitol was built to house the tomb of George Washington but in his will, he requested to be buried on Mount Vernon because he didn’t want to appear as a king- so we saw George and Martha’s tombs on the estate. We saw the inside of their home as well as how it overlooks the beautiful Potomac River. and I learned that they almost always had guests staying at their house (once for 20 years straight they didn’t have dinner alone). After enjoying a lunch on the estate, we headed back to the city where we caught up on laundry and journaling. The other students and I took the metro to Chinatown and enjoyed dinner at CAVA, an excellent “build-your-own” Mediterranean place. After getting dinner together we shopped around the area, got ice cream, and headed back.

Ellie Seehorn

January 19, 2019

Today was a very big day in the life of our DC bears! Today was the third annual Women’s March in Freedom Plaza, and while we weren’t allowed to actually demonstrate, we were allowed to watch from a safe distance. There were lots of unique and creative signs; my personal favorite was one where a woman brought her dog and the dog had a “pup against patriarchy”. We noticed that a lot of the signs didn’t appear to actually have a lot to do with the initial purpose of the Women’s March: feminism. Many had a lot more to do with the President or the shutdown, and we were able to have an enriching group discussion about what that meant for the march’s integrity, especially with the recent division between the Women’s March and Women’s Wave due to copyright claims. All in all, it was such an incredible experience to be able to see the march in DC. It was so much bigger than the one I attended in Nashville in 2018. Meg and Caroline, who work for Double R productions, were lucky enough to get a work assignment that allowed them to stay at the march all day, making a video about it.

While Meg and Caroline stayed at the march because of their work assignment, the rest of us left at noon to go tour and explore Mount Vernon, the birthplace of George Washington. There was a separate tour guide in each individual room, and we got to see a lot of history, including the grave of George Washington himself. It was all very informative, and we were surprised how little security was around George’s tomb. I, for one, expected guards all around and the like, but all there really was keeping the general public out of the coffin is some iron bars and a lock.

After we returned from Mount Vernon, we all had a little bit of free time before going to dinner. It was technically a free night, but a very large portion of the group all went to Cava, which is like Chipotle for Mediterranean food, and the Haagen-Dazs parlor to celebrate Grace’s (twelfth) birthday. It was a really fun night as a group!

Our trip is quickly approaching it’s close, but we are still having so much fun and intend to make the absolute most out of our remaining time!

D.C. Interns at Mount Vernon
Watching the Women’s March/Women’s Wave