Despite the warm and humid weather, I experienced one of the best summers of my life in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) region and within the walls of the Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Department of Education Building. As an intern for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, I was able to take part of an initiative that enhanced my professional and educational experience.
On June 9, 2012, I attended a White House Hispanic Community Action Summit in Arlington, Virginia. The following week, I had the opportunity to attend another summit in Silver Spring, Maryland. During these summits, community leaders and members gathered to discuss and find solutions to community issues with the assistance of federal employees from various departments such as the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the White House. I welcomed guests, took notes of the conversations and was able to participate in the discussions. The discussions were focused on the environment, immigration, business, labor, health and education.
I also had the honor of having lunch with the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan on July 9, 2012. Upon asking who his mentors are, I learned that his parents and a friend from his childhood still influence him the most. His parents stressed the importance of education. His childhood friend is a basketball player. It has been evident that Arne Duncan continues to love the sport. He played Basketball during his college years and still plays with opponents such as President Barack Obama. The highlight of the day was when I told Arne Duncan that I will have his job someday, and he said to give him four more years.
The Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series at the Department of Ed were phenomenal! One of the highlight moments for me was when Laura Kaeppeler, Miss America 2012, visited and sang a song to the young audience. Other guests included two-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington and Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton.
My visits to the White House were always unique. My visits included a tour, an information session, a meeting, and bowling! Having the opportunity to bowl at the Truman Bowling Alley was priceless.
Living in the DMV area also gave me the opportunity to visit monuments such as the Washington Monument, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Capitol Building. I also had the ability to visit the Smithsonian Museums, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ben’s Chili Bowl; unfortunately, only the Obama family and Cosby family are allowed to eat for free.
After this summer experience and as a junior at BC, I am thrilled to know that my education work will continue as a student at the Lynch School of Education.