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Michigan in Washington Student of the Week: Dylan V. Barlow
Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI
Major: Political Science
Internship placement: Peck Madigan Jones (Lobbying Firm)
Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?
My high school AP Government teacher, Mrs. Chase, recommended the MIW program to me and said that the abroad experience in D.C. would be a unique experience for me. I have to say that she was correct. I wanted the experience of going abroad but also the professional experience that only an internship could offer me. Only one program has that interplay and luckily it fit into my overall collegiate trajectory. I always knew that Washington, D.C. would be the place that I would end up and it seemed like the logical progression for someone in my field. So I applied and it’s one of the best decisions that I’ve made.
What do you do during a typical day at your internship?
Typically, I get to work before 9:00 AM and work on answering emails or other administrative tasks while everyone else in the office gets settled. Later on, I will contact our firm’s research assistants and see what tasks I can help out with. These tasks can be as small as drafting a mockup of a memo or a large report on a three and a half-hour hearing that needs to be done in twenty-four hours. My favorite project so far has been covering a hearing on the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health. I had to transcribe any mentions of our client’s product and send the quotes directly to the client. It was incredible. I work on projects like that until 1:00 PM when I cover our front desk for an hour. Then I go to lunch and come back around 3:00 PM. After that, I continue my work on various assignments until 6:00 PM when the workday is over.
Which elective are you taking and how does this class apply to your time in D.C.?
Currently, I’m taking Political Advocacy and Public Opinion in a Digital Age with Dr. Menna Demessie. The class is exciting because Dr. Demessie likes to challenge students to speak up and she also brings in interesting speakers. One of the coolest speakers I’ve seen in Washington so far has been Dr. Jeanine Abrams McLean, the sister of Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams. She came to speak to us about Fair Count, an organization that exists to improve the census data that will be collected in 2020. Fair Count does this in a variety of ways but focuses on increasing the reliability of the count in so-called “hard-to-count” regions like southern Texas. I appreciate that our class will get to be involved in this project because it’s more substantial than any of my past courses.
What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?
I’m a big museum and food guy so I’ve tried to visit as many museums as possible and always try to eat somewhere new. One of my favorite experiences has been a visit to the International Spy Museum that I took during my first week here. It was truly a riveting experience and taught me a lot about espionage both now and in the past.
What’s something on your D.C. bucket list and what is something that you have crossed off of your D.C. bucket list?
One thing on my D.C. bucket list has been to see the cherry blossoms at dawn. I hear that they are beautiful and I want that unique experience. Something that I’ve crossed off my bucket list was to try Ethiopian food in the city. I tried it last week and now my friends and I love it.
What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington?
One thing I’ve learned here is that everyone is worth your time so you ought to meet everyone you can. At home, I haven’t expanded my network beyond who I live with but here I try to meet and maintain friendships with everyone I can. I’ve heard my roommates say things along the lines of “Why do you care so much about networking?” and I always respond by telling them simply that, “You never know when you’ll need that connection.” It’s foolish to think that people here aren’t worth your time. Everyone has a story and everyone has a connection, so you should take advantage of all of it. That being said, don’t be fake either. Everyone will expect you to give them a business card, but try to be more than that. Only foster relationships with people you genuinely connect with because once you do, you’ll have real connections for the future.