Making a Name for Myself

Making a Name for Myself

Hello again!


I can already see the end of my summer in Washington approaching. I know I’m going to miss Washington a lot, but I’m also starting to miss home and my family. If I could have my family, dog, and bed here, I’d be the happiest girl on earth! I definitely don't miss the Miami heat and humidity, though. In the meantime, I am enjoying my last couple of weeks at work!


All a-Twitter

First off, pardon the pun; I love puns.


At the start of the summer, I created a public Twitter account (self-promotion: follow me @johandra_d), where I’ve been interacting with various think tanks, intellectuals, and even some politicians. This past week was great for me on Twitter with lots of retweets, favorited tweets, and replies. At an event where the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria spoke, I live tweeted some quotes and I was retweeted and favorited by the Foreign Minister himself! I also met Truman, a Representative Vela’s dog, on the Hill. I posted a picture of myself with Truman on Twitter and was retweeted by Representative Vela’s official account.


Truman the Dog and me!

These little things aren't particularly important, but it reminds me of the impact of social media. Ten years ago, we didn't have instant access to live happenings. Now with Twitter, one person can interact with absolutely anyone and spread information. It's an incredibly powerful tool.


Making Connections

One of my assignments for the LEAD course here at TWC is to conduct an informational interview with someone in a career I would like to pursue. In Washington, I’ve been able to explore the variety of careers in International Relations, including think tanks. My favorite think tank in Washington is the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The GMF has excellent, interesting events and I admire their work and mission. For this interview, I emailed a few people and was happily surprised at the replies I received.


I was able to meet and speak to two accomplished women at the German Marshall Fund: Maia Comeau, the Director of The Richard G. Lugar Institute for Diplomacy and Congress, and Dr. Karen Donfried, the President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Speaking with Maia made me realize that life doesn’t always go as planned; there may be times when I will feel lost but it is up to me to continue growing. She also gave me a great understanding of the professional culture of Washington, D.C. Dr. Donfried and I spoke about her role at GMF and how it compares to her previous position at the White House. From my conversation with Dr. Donfried, I understood more on the demanding nature of careers in Washington. After both meetings, I felt a renewed sense of inspiration to pursue a career in international affairs.


Meeting my Congressman

My Public Policy Dialogue was this week and a few students and I got to meet with Representative Mario Diaz-Balart. It was important to me to meet him, regardless of whether or not we have similar political views, because it means that I have a voice in Congress. I sometimes forget that but I think I will be more active in communicating with my Congressmen. Being among people from my area made me feel like I was at home, especially because we would often use words in Spanish and have the same accent.


Speaking of accents, I didn’t think I have an accent until I came to Washington! A colleague pointed out how I exaggerate certain sounds and letters, but I told him that it’s simply the Miami accent. Being in Washington has made me think about what it means to be American; accent or not, I am proud to live in a country where I can access my Congressman easily and have my voice heard.


I Love My Internship

Good news: most of the House of Representatives had been visited! I’ve been working on my project at my internship in between attending events around the city and advocating on the Hill. I’m currently working on a report on energy security in Europe; considering I have no background knowledge in energy, this project is going slow but it is a learning experience.


My supervisor organized a tour of the diplomatic reception rooms at the Department of State for UMD Fellows, and it was so cool. I didn’t even know these were inside the Department of State! The rooms are lavish (and I’m glad no taxpayer money was used to fund these) and full of historical artifacts, like Thomas Jefferson’s desk. Just think of how many thousands of heads of state, heads of government, ministers, royalty, and powerful people have been hosted in these rooms!


In Diplomatic Reception Rooms


Making Memories

This weekend was my roommate L’s birthday and we celebrated all weekend. It was definitely a weekend to remember because we had so much fun! Happy Birthday, L!


There’s two weeks to go of my summer in Washington, D.C., so I have to make the most of it! Until next time!

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