Coming Full Circle: A TWC Legacy Story

Coming Full Circle: A TWC Legacy Story

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Maha Neouchy
July 09, 2013

In the fall of 1979, Russell Gregg and Marcia Monterosso entered the doors of the Woodner Housing Facility for what they thought would just be a semester-long internship with The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC). Up until that point, the two students did not know the other existed. It was not until TWC's President Michael Smith, who at the time was working as the Director of Housing, moved Marcia to the same floor as Russell because of a leak in the ceiling of her apartment. They met, were married five years later and the rest is history…


But the story does not end there. For Russell and Marcia, TWC was much more than just a setting for their romance and future life together. It was transformational in regards to their internships, an experience they would encourage their own two children to pursue.


A TWC Family Tradition


In spring 2013, Russell and Marcia Gregg sent their daughter, Christina Gregg, to the nation's capital for an experience they hoped would also be as exciting as their time with TWC in 1979. Christina shared her family's story and talked about her own experience in the program.


Can you tell us more about your parents' story?


Christina: They were not in the same program. My mom interned with Roll Call and my father interned with the Department of Energy. After completing the internship program, he went to Connecticut College and she went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I followed in my mother's footsteps and I am a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, myself. They made their relationship work long distance for five years and then got married. Their roots are in D.C. and being able to attend the program this spring was an opportunity for me to see where it all began.


What was the impact of the TWC experience both professionally and personally?


Christina: My mom was a journalism major and so am I. She did not get the full experience of being a journalist on a national level until she came to D.C. My father took his experience with the Department of Energy and has been able to transfer it over to his current position as an environmental lawyer for Liberty Mutual. He did not know that's what he wanted to do until he came to D.C. for his internship. He was always interested in government, but had not figured out the specific sector yet. D.C. was very scary to my parents at first because they both came from small towns. But the experience was able to mold them into the professionals they wanted to become.


Since I first started talking, they would tell me I would one day spend a semester with TWC. I remember finding pamphlets in the mail and on our coffee table. My parents would always tell me about their unique experience and that I would end up attending the program. On every college tour my mom would ask about internship opportunities and if the university accommodated an internship with TWC. When you are a teenager, you don't want to mimic everything your parents do. But then you realize they are right and that the internship program was in fact perfect for me. I applied and now I'm here and I love it.


Was the experience of your parent's your motivation for participating in the TWC internship program?


Christina: Their experience was my motivation, initially. But then, I started exploring it independently and everything took on a life of its own. I explored the website very thoroughly when I was thinking of applying and it came down to a domestic internship or going abroad to London or Florence. But because I am a journalism and political science major, it made so much more sense for me to be in D.C. It really is the most ideal place for me. It was a no-brainer.


What has your experience been like this spring?


Christina: It has been incredible. I was doing my capstone reflection last night and thought about everything that has happened over the last few months. I'm interning with Voice of America (VOA) and we've been working on a half hour documentary series on immigration reform. I've had contact with press secretaries and other people involved in this important process. I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and heard Mark Rubio's speech from the press risers, which was incredible because I think he's going to run for president in the next election. I had Easter Mass with the first family at St. John's and said "Happy Easter" to President Obama.


My experiences continue to build on themselves; even something as simple as sitting in front of the White House is special because it allows me to reflect on the fact that I am actually here. When you study politics in school and then finally get to D.C., you realize this is where it all happens and the playing field of politics is in your backyard. The experience of being here has shaped me as an individual in a big way. I've grown so much. If you told me last January that I would be interning and working here for the upcoming summer as well, I would have probably just laughed in disbelief.


Can you tell TWC a little more about your second internship experience this summer? Do you feel like your current TWC experience helped lead to that?


Christina: Absolutely. When I first arrived, everything in D.C. was so fast-paced. In January, I was not confident that I'd be prepared to stay past June. This semester has prepared me for my second internship this summer, especially in terms of all the workshops, resume-building, cover letters, networking and programming events planned during the program. All of these program components have culminated into making making me a much more secure professional who can enter the workforce. It's still very mind-boggling. I'll be interning for the Council on Environmental Quality, one of the Executive Offices of the President. I'll be one of two Media and Communication interns. My end goal is to be an on-air White House Correspondent. I realize now that anything can happen.


Do you feel more civically engaged and prepared for the professional world after spending a semester in D.C.?


Christina: Yes, definitely. You learn so much on a college campus, but it isn't until you apply what you have learned in the field and bring your personality to the experience that you really understand what it means to be a professional. You can't just go through the motions. You have to bring something new to the table and offer something different that helps you stand out. That is probably one of the most important things that we've learned this semester: how to stand out. There are so many interns each semester that are trying to be above the fold.

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