Michigan in Washington Student of the Week: Kaitlyn Bell

Hometown: Saginaw, MI

Major: Political Science & International Studies

Internship placement: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)


Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington? 

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work in the D.C. scene and figured this would be a great way to see if it was a good fit before jumping in all the way. Also, I have never had an internship at an organization relating to what I want to go into, but this program allowed me that experience while fulfilling my upper-level political science credits.


What do you do during a typical day at your internship? 

I usually go in and monitor the media to see if anything major is coming up or if people are talking about the agency. Then I often go to meetings at think tanks or relevant briefings on Capitol Hill and take notes. I also get to sit in on other important meetings or phone calls with our media team, members of the Canadian parliament, etc. I am lucky enough that my office wants to include me in a lot and teach me about a wide variety of things in D.C. and UNRWA.


Which elective are you taking and how does this class apply to your time in D.C.?

I am taking Youth, Social Media, and Development. I originally switched into the class because it was recommended to me by other MIW students but didn’t know what to expect. It has been eye-opening to learn how our society views the youth population, especially youth of color, as a threat and not as an asset, how it makes policies accordingly, and how we can empower youth. I am interested to see how far this class will challenge our preconceived notions about what young people are capable of.


What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?

Most of the time it is honestly running errands, studying, trying to take care of myself, and talking with my roommates. After that, I have been trying to go to events my boss recommends and protests. After that I have been taking advantage of the free museums and history that is all over D.C. The National Gallery of Art is my favorite place to go so far.


What’s something on your D.C. bucket list and what is something that you have crossed off of your D.C. bucket list? 

I had never been to D.C. before MIW, so just coming here was on my bucket list in and of itself. But now that I am more settled, I want to go to a Supreme Court hearing and I heard watching the sunrise when the cherry blossoms are blooming is incredible, so hopefully, I could get up and do that.


What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington? 

If nothing else, just apply. I wasn’t sure if I could or even wanted to do this program, but there is no opportunity like it. If you are like me and studied abroad for summers and couldn’t do internships this is a great chance to get that experience. D.C. is a pretty incredible place and great people are working with you here and in Ann Arbor that will make sure you are prepared, even if you are wildly not beforehand. I would also recommend applying early action so you can straighten out housing so you don’t get stuck with a housing contract in Ann Arbor while in D.C.