What do six members of the United States Senate, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and an NYU Abu Dhabi student have in common? Many of you may believe this to be the start of a terrible joke, but the truth is that these are three components, albeit unlikely ones, of my summer internship experience in the capital of the United States — the picturesque city of Washington, DC.
I had the privilege of interning with Flanagan, Fulkerson, and Company, a DC-based political campaign consultancy firm. In this election cycle, the firm has retained six United States senators as clients, including Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
Summer internships for students in Washington, DC are numerous and full of exciting adventures and rewarding opportunities. A "Capital Summer" is a must for any student considering a career in politics or international relations.
My work at the firm consisted of helping to staff fundraising events for these senators, contacting some of the senators' largest contributors, arranging meetings for the senators with potential donors and political "movers," and attending meetings with the senators at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
This job allowed me the extraordinary opportunity to personally meet and interact with these senators — an opportunity that even the most seasoned Hill interns can find elusive. One of my favorite experiences was sitting across the table from Senator Schumer at a breakfast at the DSCC listening to him describe receiving mouth to mouth resuscitation from NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw after a mishap on a working ranch in Montana.
Interning in Washington, DC provided other benefits and opportunities as well. Residents of the District are known for their "work hard, play hard" mentality, so the city is a young, vibrant kaleidoscope of diversity and culture. Thanks to the generosity of Ron Abramson, a benefactor of NYU Washington DC, and Tom McIntyre, assistant director of NYU's Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, I had the chance to attend a performance by Yo-Yo Ma and the National Symphony Orchestra with my friend Tessa Carelli, another NYUAD student interning in Washington, DC.
This concert, however, was unique in that Ron Abramson and Tom McIntyre had arranged for Tessa and I to slip backstage during intermission and meet with Yo-Yo Ma in person. We almost didn't expect these plans to work out and thought even if they did, we would be vying for the attention of the master cellist with the concert's other attendees. But no — we met with Yo-Yo Ma privately during the entire intermission and quickly learned that the tuxedo-clad musician was also an excellent conversationalist and amateur comedian. His first words to us were, "Hello, I'm the bartender this evening. Would you like a gin and tonic with lemon, or lime?" [He was kidding, of course!] Our conversation with Yo-Yo Ma was definitely a highlight this summer.
Summer internships for students in Washington, DC are numerous and full of exciting adventures and rewarding opportunities. A "Capital Summer" is a must for any student considering a career in politics or international relations. And for me, Tom McIntyre and the rest of the staff at the DC site made mine a truly unforgettable experience.