Name: Oscar Chapa
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Major: General Studies
Internship placement: Michael Torrey & Associates
Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?
I wanted to challenge myself both academically and professionally. In the past, I was suspended from the university while I was going through a deep depression and I felt like I would never regain my status as a leader nor the best. At the time, I was insecure about my abilities and my future felt bleek. Today, I am in Washington D.C interning for a premier food and agriculture lobby firm while taking classes. My past has taught me to seize opportunities and never give up.
What do you do during a typical day at your internship?
On a typical day, I have a coke around 2pm. Before then, I am busy researching client issues ranging from food insecurity to dairy. On most days, I attend hearings and take notes on the hill around food waste and trade issues. It is worth mentioning that the food industry is uniquely bipartisan and I have the pleasure of working alongside people that both challenge and value my perspective. During my internship, I have grown as an individual and I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside industry leaders.
Which elective are you taking and what’s the most interesting part of the class?
I am taking the Lobbying, Money, and Politics elective. The most interesting part of the class is that I am actually interning at a lobby firm! It almost feels like a discussion after practice. The professor has ample experience in the field and is always willing to help.
What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?
Like most 23 year olds, I enjoy a fun night out. My favorite experience thus far was catching a Wizards game in Chinatown. I suggest checking out all the free Smithsonian museums too. There is a ton of fun activities around the city. As cliche as this may sound, I fell in love with the atmosphere. There is definitely something for everyone, whatever your interests are!
What’s something on your D.C. bucket list?
On the top of my D.C bucket list is Sycamore Island. There is approximately a 7 year waiting list to join the club, but through MIW I was lucky enough to have a mentor that has access! We plan on canoeing to the island on March 30th for my birthday! I am really excited. Aside from that, tour of the White House would be cool too.
What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington?
Believe in your ability to be great, never let your GPA detour you from applying. Trust in yourself and your dreams. I can’t stress this enough: attitude is important. Have faith and stay positive, everything will work out. I would have never imagined being in D.C, doing the work that I do. I am a first generation student from a low socio-economic background, there is nothing you can’t achieve. Be you and go blue!