Day 1, Saturday, June 16, 2012: My adventure in DC began with landing alone in a city with three huge suitcases and an overstuffed backpack. Let’s just say I was not the happiest camper upon arriving to my dorm at GW where I will be residing this summer. Three
bags, one person, crossing busy streets–let’s just say they fall over easily and people just stare. Even with the luggage mishaps that I encountered, I was in high spirits and ready to explore my surroundings with my co-fellow, Alaina Smith. That evening we explored DC, ate at an amazing pizza place, and walked all the way to the White House. We then proceeded to locate the Whole Foods by campus, but naturally got lost in the dark on the way home…we walked about a mile out of the way, when Whole Foods is literally 100 yards from our dorm but we did not know that.
Day two, Sunday, June 17, 2012: Alaina and I got up early, eager to explore our surroundings for more fun things to see and do. We began our journey by walking to our office for iCivics, then to the White House, around the White House to the Washington Monument, then down the National Mall towards the Smithsonian Castle (where we went and explored all of it, naturally), then onward to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, then a short (cough, cough) walk to the U.S. Botanical Gardens and the Capitol, around to the front of the Capitol and then onwards to the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. And then we turned around, walked back toward the National Mall (viewing the other side of the Capitol as we went), stopped and toured the entire National Museum of the American Indian, and then proceeded to Bed Bath and Beyond via the Metro. After all of this, we still were not finished with our touring. We ended the evening with a dinner at a wonderful Mediterranean cafe next to the University of George Washington and a trip to the local CVS for things that were not organic (everything here is…even soap).
Day 3, Monday, June 18, 2012: Day one of our fellowship. We settled in and loved our first day at iCivics. We joined our colleague who has travelled to DC for the iCivics Baylor Model fellowship, Dr. Karon LeCompte that evening for a dinner at a wonderful Italian place called Vapianos. Our adventures did not end after dinner. Alaina and I had heard a lot about Trader Joe’s, a local grocery store, so we decided to venture out and find it. It was quite an experience, and like all of the other grocery stores we have located, was completely filled with organic foods (which are actually quite delicious).
Day 4, Tuesday, June 19, 2012: The second day of our fellowship was one that I will not easily forget. We were blessed with being invited to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s private chambers in the Supreme Court. We were allowed to sit and wait in her chambers, and then had a discussion with her prior to going on a private tour of the Supreme Court from one of the Court’s historians. It was truly a memory of a lifetime (disregarding the fact that I lost my iPhone 4, dorm key and dorm pass in a taxi cab…I later realized this in the afternoon, and had Alaina tracking it in the iCivics office while Karon and I chased my phone around DC using iCloud tracking…sadly, after $60 in cab fares, I have given up my search for my precious belongings).
The Court was absolutely amazing. My personal favorite was being allowed to walk down the side of the Court room to the front, where we were allowed to stand on the floor where all of the Justices’ family members sit, the attorney’s tables are located, and the nine Justices’ chairs are overlooking. It was absolutely fantastic. We were able to view the Court’s library, which was breathtakingly beautiful, the East and West Conference Rooms, and the Grand Hall. It was a remarkable day. We then finished up our day in the iCivics office.
Day 5, Wednesday, June 20, 2012: We ventured to the iCivics office for our third day. We finished up a few projects, narrowing our list of amazing things to do this summer only slightly. Alaina and I created a list of places that we would like to go on adventures to in DC, which has turned out to be a very lengthy list. I took a tour of DC after work trying to locate the local AT&T office to collect on my insurance for my phone, and heading to the GW office to purchase a new passkey and key (which, I must say, was astronomical [one guy told me $150 for a new key, which I promptly replied, “I will keep looking…” you could not pay me to pay that much for a KEY] and the passkey was an additional cost…haha, no). Besides the charade of locating an AT&T store and dealing with the GW office (all the while, still phone-less for the remainder of the week), I continue to fall more in love with this city and my fellowship at iCivics.
Day 6, Thursday, June 21, 2012: Our adventure in DC continued with another wonderful day at the iCivics office. We welcomed the newest member to the iCivics team and had a fun day working on new projects. The newest member of the iCivics team was working with the National Geographic Museum prior to coming to iCivics (I almost passed out I was so excited to hear about her work there…I am a little obsessed with NatGeo). My plan for the remainder of the summer is to pick her brain about her experiences there every chance I get…DREAM JOB. After work, we attempted to venture to a hardware store to remedy my lack of a key to our dorm but were unsuccessful. Our adventure through the Metro during rush hour was quite exhilarating. We ended the majority of our evening dining with Dr. LeCompte (eating a wonderful meal) and had a lot of fun trying out some new iPad games that she had. Overall, not the most exciting of days, but working at the iCivics office was, once again, amazing. We also began to plan our weekend (which if it is anything like our plans that we have made up, will be fabulous.
Day 7, Friday, June 22, 2012: I got a phone today in the mail and have re-entered the world of communication! I also (sadly) had to purchase a key from GW, but at least I can get into my room now. Today was another fun day at iCivics. Alaina and I continued to work on the fun projects that have been given to us. We enjoyed a chill evening of calling people and catching up, and we ventured to Whole Foods (in the rain) and bought the most amazing cookies for desert! We cannot wait for our adventures tomorrow. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is on the list, and if there’s time, we’re going to the zoo to see the pandas! Basically, if you can’t tell, my first week in DC has been absolutely amazing.
I have moved to D.C. for the summer to work at iCivics through the Baylor Model Fellowship program. It is truly a dream job in a fantastic city. I am going to be chronicling my daily adventures on my blog during my time here. I hope that you enjoy reading about my adventures as much as I have LOVED experiencing them! Enjoy!
In case you don’t know what iCivics is: it is a non-profit that was started by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
(first woman on the Supreme Court, and if you ask me, about as amazing, if not more, than the Queen). She has been an amazing role model for girls and women across the world, and helped open the door for many more possibilities for women when she was appointed to the Court. When she stepped down from the Court, she noticed that there was a lack of civic education in the US today, and decided to make it her goal to correct this. She has founded a non-profit called iCivics, originally Our Courts, which are online games that teach about civic education. They are designed for middle school aged children, but have an appeal from Kindergartners to adults. These games have begun to help bridge the gap of the lack of civic education in our country.
This spring in April 2012, Baylor University in Waco, Texas, unveiled a project that Justice O’Connor had charged Baylor with. It was dubbed the Baylor iCivics Model. I worked with a team of people to prepare this model as well as for Justice O’Connor’s visit to Baylor to see the model in action. My work there led to a summer of 2012 fellowship position with iCivics headquarters in D.C. through Baylor University with two other key players in the development of the Baylor Model, Alaina Smith and Dr. Karon LeCompte.