It is insane to think that a year ago I was living in Pentagon City and soaking up everything I could in Washington, D.C., and it’s quite the bittersweet experience every time the pictures from then come up in my memories. Of all my time at the College, I can truly say that the D.C. Semester was the most memorable, influential, and amazing experience and I am endlessly grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. Now in my last semester on the Hill as I think about my future plans, I can’t help but reflect on all of the things that I learned during the D.C. program and how impactful it was for me both then and now.
I knew that I wanted to take part in the Washington D.C. program from the moment that I learned about it. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 10 and I figured that living and working in the rich professional cosmos of D.C. would be an amazing opportunity to gain insight into this career path. I was right, but I also learned so much more than that. After deciding to apply to go a semester earlier than I had originally planned, I was honestly a little nervous to find that law internships had closed when it came time to choose where to work but I was assured that I would still be able to find connections and learn about it even if it was not the focus of my internship. So after looking at all of my options, I chose to spend the semester as an intern at the TSA Headquarters in Springfield, VA and it was the best decision that I made. I worked with and learned from an amazing team in the Security Operations Office who also made it a point to ensure that I learned about law operations at the headquarters. They connected me to the Office of the Chief Counsel where I was able to learn from Francine Kerner not only about legal operations at TSA but also about applying to law school and pursuing a career in law. Outside of my internship, I was also able to gain insight from a visit to the United States District Court in D.C. as well as from an experienced lawyer who served as a guest speaker for my public policy seminar. It was through these that my love and passion for law was further solidified and I left D.C. knowing that I wanted to work as a law intern that summer.
Moving forward into the summer, it was hard to find a law internship in my area as most required enrollment in law school. But just as I was starting to get a bit discouraged, I connected with a well known criminal defense lawyer from a town over. He was excited to hear about my time in D.C. and just grateful for help in the office but I was ecstatic for the opportunity as criminal law is a big passion of mine. During my time I was able to review cases and attend court hearings at various levels all while being mentored by a successful lawyer I could look up to. After working with him for a while he asked me for help on a big case that he was working on as it was a long trial with a multitude of evidence to work through. Little did I know, I would get to spend a good part of my summer working on a January 6th Capitol insurrection case. A big D.C. case file? I was absolutely elated. While it was definitely a difficult and tedious process at times, I am so grateful that I got to work on it because it gave me a chance to gain deeper insight into the process of working through all of the different parts of a criminal case file and the steps taken throughout the trial process. It was especially then that I was able to implement the various lessons I had learned and skills I had acquired during the D.C. program and I truly feel that having had this experience made me a better intern.
So – moving forward I will continue to miss the bustling streets of D.C., the crisp air of Capitol Hill, even the metro; but I will never forget the memories I made and all of the things I learned during the most impactful and amazing semester of my life.