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Michigan in Washington student of the week: Jessica Jamaica
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Major: Political Science and Women’s Studies
Internship Placement: The office of Senator Tammy Duckworth
Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?
I decided to apply to MIW because interning in D.C. was a goal of mine ever since I was in community college. I had done a lot of volunteering in nonprofits and foundations while in Chicago so I knew that I wanted my next step to be an internship in D.C. As soon as I was accepted to the University of Michigan I began researching programs offered in D.C through Michigan. When I found MIW I knew it was the perfect fit for me not only because it included the opportunity to intern in DC, but it also came with the opportunity to build mentor relationships. It was a chance to not only work for my senator, but to also build long lasting relationships.
What do you do during a typical day at your internship?
It is hard to say there is one typical day at my internship. I was very lucky to be placed in an office where there is always something going on. Though usually I will show up to the office at 9 am and start answering phone calls from constituents while logging them into the computer. During the day I will usually go to a brief or a meeting regarding a specific topic. After my brief or meeting I will write up a memo for one of my two legislative aids (or whoever needs me that day). I will of course have lunch at some point which usually includes coffee networking with staff in my office. During the end of the day I am usually answering phones again while working on a specific project assigned to me by anyone who needs help in the office. Everyday is usually a pretty busy day in the office of Senator Duckworth.
Which elective are you taking and how does this class apply to your time in D.C. (If not applicable, what about this class interests you)?
I am taking the class Race and Ethnic Politics from Obama to Trump with Dr. Menna Demessie. As a young Mexican-American who is interning at the hill I thought this class was perfect for me. I am a strong believer that you cannot simply take race/ethnicity away from politics and was highly interested on how it is intertwined with policy. I am very lucky to be in an office that is incredibly diverse, but have quickly realized that not every office is like mine. Taking this class has been helpful in navigating spaces in which people might not look like me. This class has also been helpful in understanding the complexity of making policy.
What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?
I love to go visit the smithsonian museums in D.C. during my free time. I also love to do simple things such as walking around my area or taking the metro to a random place and just walk around for a while. During my free time I also meet with alumni who give me advice on various subjects. Though I do have to say that so far my favorite thing to do has been sitting around the monuments with my friends and simply talking and laughing the day away.
What’s something on your D.C. bucket list and what is something that you have crossed off of your D.C. bucket list?
Something that is currently still on my bucket list is being able to take a tour of the White House. The White House is such an important institution with so much history and it has always been my dream to be able to tour it (currently still waiting to get passes). One thing I checked off my bucket list was getting to see Justice Ruth Bater Ginsburg speak. I have always admired Justice Ginsburg and getting to see her speak at the national book fair was an amazing experience. That experience will be something I will remember forever.
What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington?
The best advice I could give is to definitely apply! Being in this program is one of the best decisions I have ever made, you definitely won't regret it. Although being in this program is one of the best choices you can make, first ask yourself if you are willing to put in the work, Interning in D.C. takes dedication and hardwork any student who wants to do it has to put in the effort. If you are willing to work hard in your internship and your classes then this is the program for you!