Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Becoming a part of the company

When I first moved to D.C. I was a bit nervous about how to exactly fit in at my work place. It's hard being an intern knowing that you'll only be with these people for a few short months. At first you're timid and shy knowing that you had to be the best you so that the company thought highly of you. If I could go back and tell myself one thing it would be to be more like myself and not so uptight and professional. At the end of the day, everyone in the office is just another person and they like to be themselves too. The point that I am trying to get across is that it wasn't until this last month that I truly became more of friends with my co-workers than just co-workers. I was lucky enough to go to Florida for our annual convention and it was then when I realized that I am more like these people than I thought. 

Going into Florida I was sort of nervous on who I would hangout with and how I would spend my free time. Throughout the semester I hangout with my co-workers outside of the office a few times but never for a week like I would have to do in Florida. Once we were there I noticed everyone treated me as one of them and not just an intern. They were always texting me asking if I wanted to grab dinner or a drink with the group. The included me as if I was another employee rather than just a part time intern they may never hear from again. It took all the way until the second last week of the semester for me to realize that I wasn't just an intern, but rather another employee in the office.

The point that I am trying to make is that it is not as hard as you would think to make friends with your co-workers. Instead of going into the internship thinking that you're just going to be co-workers will make it harder to build relationships. I now know that everyone in my office thinks of me as more of a friend than just a past intern it makes it far easier for me to be able to reach out to them after I am gone. 


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Schooled by a Congressman

Before I realized how buying lunch at work every day quickly adds up, I often found myself in the Rayburn or Longworth cafeterias. Some days it was sushi, others it was a veggie burger with sweet potato fries, occasionally it was pizza, and on rare occasions I mustered the self-restraint to limit myself to a salad. This story takes place on one of those rare days.

I walked past the sushi, the burgers with the beautiful fries, and even the pizza. Discipline, I reminded myself. As I walked up to the salad bar, a man in front of me is leaning down to grab a to-go container. Wondering if he could take any longer, I patiently waited. Only when he stood back up, and turned around to offer me the extra container he grabbed did I realize this was Congressman Tom Price.

Let's back up for a minute. As you probably know, he is now Secretary of Health and Human Services. This encounter  also took place the same week of his confirmation hearings, the first of which I attended. To make matters even more interesting, former Representative Price, hailing from Georgia's 6th Congressional District, served as my Member of Congress for many years while I grew up in Marietta, Georgia.

Despite my conflicting political beliefs, I decided to be courteous. Thank you Congressman, I replied with a smile as he handed me a box. As he began filling his up, I added that I'm from his district. Taken by surprised, he asked where I live, so we made some local small talk. He then continued to ask what brings me to the Hill. I'm a student intern here for the semester, I responded. And where do you go to school, he inquired. Ohio State, I announced proudly. This is where the conversation went south.

I'm sorry to hear that, the Congressman inserts without missing a beat. Your parents must still be mourning that decision.


Turns out, my former Congressman was a double Wolverine. I know. As it happens to be, so are the Congressman I work for and his chief of staff. You can say I've become accustomed to living in enemy territory.

I brushed it off with a light laugh, ha ha! I told him some of my closest childhood friends live in Ann Arbor now, and so far we still talk. I bid him a good day, and walked away with my salad.

On the Hill, you never know who you might run into. Sometimes you end up with amazing stories. Other days, you should have just gone for the pizza.


The end of WAIP, the begin of my own stay.

In my second and last blog post I wanted really just to thank the opportunity that WAIP has brought. Despite some earlier confusions and set back I had a great internship experience learning a lot about topics I never would of focused on and strengthening my back ground. I have plans on staying in Washington for longer and I’m grateful how WAIP as given me the time and the network to fit more conformably into this new city. Having grown up entirely in Ohio, the John Glenn fellowship has made the transitioning to this new city a softer landing. The program experience are something I will value for a time to come as each as a unique experience that the study programs brought and the general feeling of being a Washingtonian. This programs as helped shaped some of my life goals and determined the changes I would need to make to in my 5 year plan to achieve my goals. The best part of the stay was the rare chance our cohort had in visiting New York and attending the UN-USA members day in which was hosted in the General Assembly Room of the UN. WAIP has open doors as I pursue a potential political or civil service career. I will be interning at the Department of State this summer.

Aaron Wang

Friday, April 21, 2017

Let's Go Jackets!

           As many people do, I fell pretty in love with D.C. when I moved here. My friends and I would talk about our favorite places to eat, bicker about which metro line was fastest, and be totally immersed in what people call the “D.C. bubble” and shamelessly loving every minute of it; pretending to be a native Washingtonian was what we did best. But sometimes, representing the great state of Ohio is the way to go.
            My friends and I bought tickets to a Washington Capitals hockey game when they played the Columbus Blue Jackets. We were sitting approximately ten rows down from the very top seats in the Verizon Center, and we were the only CBJ fans in our entire area. We were all decked out in CBJ gear and sitting in enemy territory, so of course being the loudest, most obnoxious fans in the entire arena was a top priority. During the Caps cheers, all eight of us would scream at the top of our lungs “let’s go jackets” to fill in all of the quiet gaps in their chants – I don’t think I’ll ever forget the death glares we received and the sound of the entire surrounding crowd booing at us to stop. People from the D.C. area are generally pretty nice, but we did a great job of eliciting their hostility, thanks to our overzealous cheers.

            The Blue Jackets ended up loosing that game in a shoot out at the very end, but being the loudest and proudest CBJ fans in the entire city made the experience absolutely worth it. I’ll gladly represent my city, Columbus, any day, so go Bucks and go Jackets!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

For What Purpose Does the Gentleman From Ohio Seek Recognition?

Me: "I ask for unanimous consent to address this blog for one post, and to revise and extend my remarks."

Chairperson: “Without objection, the gentleman from Ohio is recognized for one blog post.”

Whew. Now that we’ve got the parliamentary procedure out of the way, let me tell you about the best decision I’ve ever made. Participating in WAIP and more specifically, working on the Hill for Congressman Tim Ryan.

If you go back and ask Katy, she would tell you that I was unsure about whether or not I would enjoy working on the Hill. As a journalism student obsessed with TV, it was NBC, CNN, or bust. I had negative preconceived notions on what being a Hill intern would be like.

I can say that these notions disappeared rather quickly when the opportunity arose to work for Congressman Ryan came about. Congressman Ryan is someone I had always held deep respect for. I gained even more respect and admiration for him as he began to challenge Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leadership in the House. The Congressman has been a rising star in the party for some time now and I relished at the opportunity to be a part of it.

Congressman Ryan is one of the more friendly and approachable members of congress. His easy to understand tone and manner makes him liked by people on both sides of the aisle.

One of the more memorable and humorous moments from my internship was when the Congressman called my extension from his office. I pick up the phone, “Office of Congressman Tim Ryan… this is Sean.” The voice on the other end whispered, “Sean this is Tim, how are you?” “Doing well Congressman, how are you?” I responded. “I’m doing pretty well. Can you do me a favor and discreetly go into the other room, grab me a bottle of water, walk out into the hallway, and bring it into my office?” said the Congressman. The reasoning behind this was that there was a meeting in the lobby of the office and the Congressman didn’t really have the time to meet with them and would prefer they didn’t know he was in. In the moment though, I found this quite strange.

I’ll never forgot my time working in Congress. You truly get the feeling of being part of something much bigger than yourself. Walking the halls of the Capitol, hearing the heel of your shoes clack is something so powerful, that I can’t really describe. I have researched policy, compiled press contacts, taken photos and video, drafted news briefings, helped write legislation, introduced bills, learned the interworking’s of Congress, made new friends from here in the US and abroad, and allowed citizens to utilize their constitutional rights by taking countless phone calls and reading countless fax and letters.

Mainly coming from a journalism background, I really didn’t have much experience in the press relations side of things. This internship has allowed me to see the other side of news and made me fall in love with civil service even more.

WAIP has truly made me a better person, I’ve grown a lot. I have always been a more introverted person and will always continue to be, but this experience has allowed me to open up like never before. Looking back to week 1 up until now, I’ve truly blossomed.

I have certainly fallen in love with Washington and am not really looking forward to leaving. DC has this strange way of making a really huge city, feel open and much smaller than it actually is. I have made new lifelong friendships and made memories that I will treasure forever. I thank you DC, for opening my eyes to life outside Cleveland and Ohio State’s campus community. I have learned a lot and even added the Washington Nationals to the list of my favorite sports teams! It will be hard to say goodbye, but perhaps an even easier, “I’ll be back.”

And with that, I yield back the balance of my time.

- Sean F. Lowe 
Sean in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol
Glenn Fellows Jordan Rossitto, and Chelsie Dunson at a Washington Nationals game 

Sean with fellow Rep. Tim Ryan staffers atop the Library of Congress