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Winterim 2017: Washington D.C.

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Winterim 2017: Washington D.C.

Photo taken from the DC Winterim blog; the students on the DC Winterim trip waiting at the Capitol for the Inauguration.

Photo taken from the DC Winterim blog; the students on the DC Winterim trip waiting at the Capitol for the Inauguration.

Photo taken from the DC Winterim blog; the students on the DC Winterim trip waiting at the Capitol for the Inauguration.

Photo taken from the DC Winterim blog; the students on the DC Winterim trip waiting at the Capitol for the Inauguration.

DC Winterim Blog

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The following is a collection of the blog posts written by the students on the D.C. Winterim trip every day. To read the blog on the original site, go to: https://harpethhallwinterimdc2017.wordpress.com/

Day 1: 1/6/17 Keep Calm and Defy Gravity

When asked how our group felt about our first day of internships, many replied more excited than nervous. The first wave of girls left at the wee hour of 6:45 to get to Children’s National Medical Center and NIH. Throughout the morning, girls left for the Senate, House, NASA, National Forest Service, media studios, architecture and law firms for their first days on the job. After we had all returned to the hotel at night, many stories were shared. Lia wiped out on the Senate steps, Claire answered citizens’ crazy complaints to congressmen, and Sophia walked miles around her office in search of random sites on a scavenger hunt. Maya, Carmon, and I were able to laugh about the abbreviations used by hospitals that flew over our heads while sharing experiences of labs and meetings. Josephine is now a pro at Sketch-up, the lovely program used by architects, and Isabelle watched 6 hours of space-walking. Safe to say, today was a day of learning, new experiences, trial and error, and a lot of fun. Around 6:30, we left for Wicked located at the beautiful Kennedy center. When we arrived, some of us were ecstatic for a split-second, believing that we had front row seats. Little did we know, our group was watching and laughing from our actual seats – the very back row of the theater. Nonetheless, Wicked was incredible; the acting was superb, the set was outstanding, and the music will be stuck in our heads for days. After the show, the group ventured to a much needed stop: Whole Foods. (Especially with a subpar cafeteria) it was nice to stock up on groceries and snacks and the necessities, ice cream and granola. We arrived back at the hotel exhausted from our huge day and excited for our D.C. tours tomorrow. Who can say this day has changed us for the better? Because we completed this first day of our experiences during Winterim, we have been changed for good.

-Margaret Gaw, junior

Day 2: 1/7/17 We the People

E pluribus unum. Contrary to popular belief, E pluribus unum does not mean “money in the bank”–it actually means out of many, one. The ‘Harpeth High’ group kicked off our first weekend in D.C. with a tour of the Capitol. We made the short walk to the Capitol through a white blanket of snow early this morning. Well, it was approximately 10:00am. But, to seventeen brand new interns, who have had a fun-filled two days in D.C., it felt like the crack of dawn. Once we arrived to the Capitol and passed through the security, we went into a theater and watched an inspiring video about the history of the United States. Afterwards, we met up with our tour guide and began looking around the iconic building. Our tour guide showed us features such as the crypt and the rotunda. The coolest part of the tour took place in the room where the House of Representatives used to meet. The guide had our whole group huddle up in the spot where John Quincy Adam’s desk sat. She then walked about ninety feet away and began speaking–surprisingly, we could all hear her clearly! The reason for this was due to the curved structure of the ceiling. After we concluded our tour, the group split up to go to lunch. One group went to Union Station, another went to a local cafe, and eight of us went to a pizzeria…We the Pizza. A couple of hours later, we met up with Mr. Kirk and our dear driver, Mr. Henderson. We spent the next several hours on a bus tour, exploring various monuments and memorials. We strolled around the 911 Memorial, which is located right next to the Pentagon. We then went to the Vietnam Memorial and finished up with the Lincoln Memorial. By that point, we were all ready to warm up and enjoy a much-needed coffee break…twenty-five degrees with an extreme wind chill and snow makes for a pretty brisk day. We concluded our day with a delicious dinner at a local Saloon. We all enjoyed the conversation, the creative dishes, and overall, just the atmosphere of the restaurant. It was so nice to have everyone in one space, all together. Our first Saturday in D.C. was filled with snow, memorials, and lots of laughter. Although we the people are exhausted, we are absolutely loving this historic city!

-Lady Frances Hamilton, junior

Day 3: 1/8/17 A Taste of Georgetown

With an itinerary clear of any responsibility, our Sunday was left to our own devices. For the first half of the day, the group went their separate ways to explore the city. After lunch near our hotel, Lia, Tena, Sophia and I visited the Renwick Gallery- which was highly recommended to us by girls of last year’s D.C. trip. We ran into some confusion in the metro station due to the maintenance work limiting the stops, but we eventually found our destination via shuttle bus. The Renwick Gallery was interesting for both its art and its history. At a glance, the Renwick appears to be a fancy new gallery displaying a wide variety of modern art- with its main attraction currently being a huge overhanging fabric net lit up with color that displays the effects of the 2011 Japanese earthquake, entitled “1.8”. However, tucked away on the second floor is a room that outlines its long history. The Renwick is actually the first museum in North America dedicated to the appreciation of art. Opened in 1859, it was an effort to prove America as equal to Europe in its artistic taste. Dubbed “The American Louvre,” the gallery was a huge hit and a frequented stop for visitors to D.C. The Renwick Gallery’s history traces the history of our nation as well, as it was closed multiple times during war times, as well as the resources from the building were scrapped- such as the intricate tin roofing to be used in war efforts. For at time the building was even converted to a federal court. The Gallery was officially admitted to the Smithsonian Institution in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Since then, its mission has been to harbor appreciation for American arts and crafts. While we wandered the great halls of the Renwick, other girls chose to visit other attractions around D.C. such as the Library of Congress, The National Museum of Natural History, and of course some essential stops at the local CVS. Then in the late afternoon, we set off toward Georgetown. After two metro rides and a shuttle, we arrived and the question arose of where to eat. In search of something out of the ordinary, Sophia, Isabelle and I found it with a restaurant named Curry & Pie- a fusion of Indian food and pizza. One could describe the restaurant as a hole in the wall, tucked away in a townhouse right off of Georgetown’s main strip. We were pleasantly surprised with our chicken tikka masala pizza, and finished the night at the renowned Georgetown Cupcakes before we returned to the hotel to eat them. Overall, our first independent excursions into the city, although interrupted with some debacles in the metro, was just a taste of what the next two weeks has in store for us!

-Caroline Kiesling, junior

Day 4: 1/9/17 Workplace Wonderland

After a great weekend, we all headed out for our second day on the job. The girls on Capitol Hill spent the day filing paperwork, running errands, and meticulously filling out spreadsheets for their senators or representatives. Carmon and Maya spent the day researching cancer and metabolism at the National Institute of Health. Avery was offered a coveted, rare ticket to the African American Museum. Isabel attended meetings at NASA. Josephine was given a hard hat and safety vest to wear to a construction site tomorrow, and also continues to master SketchUp! Margaret studied metabolism at the Children’s National Medical Center, and I spent the day playing with kids and listening to children singing Let It Go into Seacrest Studio’s microphones. Caroline Segers learned more about being a lawyer, and Sophia made a two minute video for her television station. Naturally, I am completely unaware of what Mrs. Keen and Mrs. Vest were doing all day, but I figure it was something productive. After work, many of us went up to room 209 for a pasta party, and Corinne, Lady Frances, and I went to Sweet Green and Starbucks for dessert.

– Junior, Rachel Brown

Day 5: 1/10/17 Working Our Magic

We began today like any other day on the Hill Hotel–in the breakfast room of the hotel where we indulge in some gloriously hot Colombia roast coffee that pairs perfectly with the granola cereal we all love.  And like most days, my roommate Margaret is up an hour before the sun to make her great journey to Children’s National Hospital where she is researching amino acids, antibodies, and enzymes. Accompanying sweet Marge at Children’s is our dear Rachel Brown, who spent the day compiling the most “lit” playlist of appropriate children’s music. Let’s just say Rachel was singing “Get’cha Head in the Game” the entire day.  Our other science savvy honey bear, Maya Misra, got to see a metabolic chamber be calibrated by burning propane at NIH.  Meanwhile, Carmen Proctor explored the wonders that the Farmer’s Market has to offer while  she was taking a break from curing cancer at NIH.  Isabelle Kohler, quite possibly the most enthusiastic scientist of the bunch, finally got her own name plate on her office door (see picture!!).  A part-time scientific honey bear myself, I have LOVED hearing about their daily adventure stories in their respective labs.  Their stories make me reminiscent of my junior year Winterim with Dr. Glazer, an interventional cardiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where my heart found its passion for accessible health care.  Last year I saw so much pain and suffering within the hospital walls because these families could not afford health care for their loved ones, and it ripped at my heart. So this Winterim, it is my great pleasure to be working in Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ office where I am embracing all of the possible solutions to solve our national health care crisis so that more Americans can afford the care they need.  Many friends back home have been asking if I have met Bernie or if I will get a picture with him, and my answer is simple: the Senator is a very busy man while I am a very, very lowly intern… he has bigger and better things to do than to commend my excellent skills in mail sorting.  However, I did get to see the Senator twice today, which was a very surreal experience.  I have also been asked whether or not I will ask the Senator to be featured in the Prom video, and the answer is only slightly weaker than the numerous phone calls our office has been receiving from our constituents, who are fervently voicing their distaste for Betsy DeVos (Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education).  While the Sanders office has been in a flurry of papers and ideas, Lizzy Asad, Blue Byrd, and Lady Francis Hamilton from Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s office have reported that their fellow Republican constituents are rather pleased with recent events; therefore, their phones have been rather quiet in the office.  This week has most definitely been interesting for the political bears because the Senate is in the process of confirming President-elect Trump’s nominees; interestingly, this is the first inaugural year when some nominees have yet to be cleared by the ethics committee before they are to go to the Senate floor for confirmation–this is creating some tension.  Claire Moody in Republican Senator Ron Paul’s office is also having similar pleasant experiences in the conservative bubble in Russell (the sister Senate building; Corker and Sanders are in Dirksen).  As a highlight of the day, Senator Corker hosted Tennessee Tuesday, which is a time for Tennesseans to come into the office to meet the Senator; Lizzy, Blue, and Lady reported that it was a highlight of their day to see the meaningful interactions between Senator Corker and the hard working Americans heroes that keep our economy running. In Congressman Marsha Blackburn’s office, Aubrey Robinson and Tena Beard are living life to the fullest while they answer phone calls from constituents who want to share their life stories with the beloved “Ma’am.”  Over in Congressman Jim Cooper’s office, Lia Hayduk and Caroline Kiesling were both spared from another “roasting” from Congressman Cooper during “intern time” because a Dartmouth student joined the intern force so Bob naturally had to take a disliking to her major, Government.  Another highlight of Lia and CK’s day was their Capitol tour training; both girls can now give you a tour of the United States Capitol like a pro! My favorite nugget of information they shared with me was the bit about Susan B. Anthony’s statue–the unfinished state of the statue represents that the women’s right to vote is only the beginning of the fight for gender equality.  Across town, Avery Taylor got tickets to the African American Museum and spent a bit of time exploring the depths of the establishment–even down to the basement where she found that the building is built around an old segregated bus.  To round out the grand tour of our intern Tuesday stories, Sophia Grande had her video pitch approved and Caroline Segers got to go to court.  After a long day at the office, these honeybears sat down for a delicious meal at Cava Mezze, a group favorite, where our boisterous laughter and animated stories filled the restaurant’s loft with warmth and good vibes.  Bellies full, we make the short walk through Chinatown to the Verizon Center where the Washington Wizards took on the Chicago Bulls, and though the crowd was lacking in energy, these bears were the life of the stadium.  Lia and Tena even got on the Jumbotron for their incredible dabbing skills that “shook” the crowd (see video).  In addition, we may have found the best chocolate milkshakes in D.C. at the concession stand for a steep $6.45, but, hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  We took more Ws today than Ls, just like the Wizards.  Keep your chin up, ladies–tomorrow is hump day!

-Corinne Brien, “the Elder”, senior

Day 6: 1/11/17 Congress, Cameras, and Camaraderie

Today began just like many of our other days so far on this Winterim DC trip, with early morning wake-ups and breakfast in the dining room of our cute hotel. Breakfast with everyone in the morning has become one of my favorite parts of the day. The dining room fills up with girls dressed in their congressional best excitedly talking about the interesting tasks that they will be completing that day. This morning’s big news was the continued Senate Confirmation Hearings of the president-elect’s cabinet picks, which is all consuming for many of the girls working on Capitol Hill. In fact, several girls working for the House and Senate were able to go see the hearings today. Tena and Aubrey attended, and Blue, Lady Frances, and Lizzy were so close to the action that you might catch them in newspapers tomorrow!

I, on the other hand, am not one of the people working on the Hill, and today I spent my day running around the Dupont Circle neighborhood shooting a short film with another intern who works at my video production company. Our assignment was to write and shoot a short film and put it together using no editing whatsoever. This is a very difficult task, but one that has been exciting because I have loved getting to learn how to use the “big camera”, the type that I only see used for television and films. Getting to work outside today was fantastic, as it was the very first day that the temperature was over freezing! (45 whole degrees)

After work, I took my long metro ride home, another favorite part of the day; I’m always surrounded by characters on the train, and I love to tell and hear about wild metro adventures from different girls in the group. Since tonight was a free night we all split up into different groups to go out to dinner. Some girls went to District Taco for dinner, while myself, Tena, Avery, Lizzy, Maya, and Isabelle went to Shake Shack, a new favorite for many of us. We finished up the night by taking one final metro ride home and moving into our new (spotless) hotel rooms with our new roommates. Here’s hoping tomorrow is another great day, and I’m looking forward to meeting HH alumnae at our alumnae reception tomorrow!

-Sophia, junior

Day 7: 1/12/17 Dirty Work

By day 5 of work, we’re all starting to get into the flow of things.  The weather was perfect today, no need for gloves, scarves, or even coats!  My walk to work was so peaceful because when the wind blew, it wasn’t biting at my skin, it was just a gentle breeze.  It was calmer for me today because I was actually in the office, instead of off visiting a work site.  Cooper Carry has been great for me because the employees there seem to care about me and my interests.  It’s interesting to see the business side of the firm, because when you’re having fun designing projects, it’s easy to forget that there will always be bumps in the road.  There is a lot of head butting in this industry.  In the meetings I have attended, I saw architects that work for Cooper Carry argue their point to the contractors, who often disagree with them.  As one of the architects described, the industry is filled with “dirty work”.  The experiences we are all getting at our different internships are the ideal way to get an accurate idea of what the industry is.  A lot of hard work goes into the end result, no matter what the project is.  For example,  Caroline Segers is currently researching for a $15 million case for her law firm.  Isabelle Kohler attended a 4 hour meeting, but the information from the meeting was valuable to her learning experience.  My favorite meeting so far has been the one I attended today.  We discussed social media and the way designers can create interactive shopping.  We also talked about how the interactive displays affect the shoppers’ experience in a retail location.  Tonight, we all attended the Harpeth Hall alumni event, featuring the one and only Ann Teaff.  Dr.  Balmer was there as well.  It was fun to see everyone so dressed up.  I met the woman who helped me setup my internship, while others met an alum who works in the White House.

-Josephine Fentriss, junior

Pseudo Blog: Corinne’s ‘Business Trip’

As I strolled down Pennsylvania Avenue, I only realized that I had found my destination when I saw the impressive line of front pages of newspapers from all fifty states.  I have been to the Newseum once before when I was in Washington on a school trip to see our nation’s Capital, but if we are quite honest, I don’t remember feeling the awe-inspired emotions that come over me now when I go to the DC monuments and museums that hold so much history.  With that being said, the Newseum was an exciting “business trip” that I was allowed to take yesterday.

I walked through the security line and was met with a ginormous jumbo screen in the lobby of the museum livestreaming Rex Tillerson’s hearing.  I stood to watch for a few moments then moved on to the lowest floor of the building where pieces of the Berlin Wall reside along with a hallway dedicated to the importance of newspaper comic strips to Americans.  As I moved along the floor, I came the Annenberg Space for Photographs, which is currently hosting a moving exhibit called “Refugees.”  The exhibit begins with a series of blown up portraits (by Martin Schoeller) of refugees from a myriad of nations—all in color, which seemed to me a symbol of successful transition.  As I moved further in, black and white candid photos of refugees from Colombia and Mexico, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe drew my eye.  Many of these photos were of children playing games in the dirt, young couples finding love, volunteers consoling refugees on the shore, and many other stolen moments of joy and success.  My favorite photo I saw was by Tom Stoddart—it is a majestic picture of a man looking out on the Spree River that flows through Berlin.  Nadym Hwry, the 27 year old man pictured, swam from Turkey to a Greek island in order to gain entry into the European Union. A swimmer myself, I find it heartbreaking that what I do for exercise is what another man does for survival; this photo reminded me how blessed I am to live in a free nation.

In the same breath, I was taken by the reverence that the Newseum offered to journalists and the First Amendment.  They had a wonderful wall of faces remembering those who gave their lives to uncovering the truths.  Almost an entire floor was dedicated to reminding the Newseum’s visitors just how lucky they are to have the First Amendment.  There was a map that color-coded the parts of the world that are free, partly free, and not free in terms of the First Amendment. It is disturbing to think that the majority of the world is yellow and red—they do not have the simplest human right to express themselves through the freedom of religion, press, speech, assembly, and petition. I left that portion of the institute inspired by not only the journalists who dedicate their lives to the truth, but for the people who are fighting for us to have the freedom to be individuals.  The timeline of electronic news reports documented the important moments that television and radio have captured from all the way back to President Roosevelt’s fireside chats to the Boston Bombings. I was thoroughly impressed at the exhibit’s coverage of a span of moments from all over the world that could only be documented with the help of technology. My favorite moment that I got to see on this timeline was of Anne Garrels’ voice on NPR; she was the only American correspondent to remain in Baghdad during the Iraq war in 2003. Anne Garrels and Pauline Frederick are American heroines that I have a new respect for. Ms. Frederick worked on the newspaper and radio throughout World War II, and soon after the war was over, she was the first woman to be broadcasted on a television network. Nothing makes my heart soar like seeing a woman break through a glass ceiling.  Following the CNN Politics Campaign exhibit (featuring our beloved Bernie Sanders), my next stop in the museum was a more somber experience: the 9/11 exhibit.  While I was too young to remember where I was when the 9/11 attack occurred, I now have insight on what one widow’s husband was doing via his photographs.  In the exhibit, there was a video playing that described a photographer’s last moments as he bravely headed toward the falling towers rather than away, all to catch a photograph.  The exhibit contained a wall lined with newspaper publications from September 11, 2001. The stunning centerpiece was a piece of the twin towers that loomed around twenty feet in the air.  I found it sweet that the Newseum had a box of tissues out on the counter for those who needed it (like me).  As I finished up at the 9/11 exhibit, a voice rang throughout the Newseum saying that the building would be closing in fifteen minutes, so I ended my visit to the Newseum on a much lighter note—Lady Gaga’s meat costume that she wore to the 2010 MTV Music Awards.  The dress was preserved as a type of jerky because it was made primarily of flank steak.  This was the first time I was hearing about the “meat dress,” and it was a highlight of the trip, especially because it conveyed an underlying message that if women are to continue being treated like meat, we might as well dress in it.  Once again, Lady Gaga is a vigilant fighter for gender equality, and I left the Newseum feeling empowered.

As I am still a young woman in high school, my mother still requires a phone call to update her on my day and activities. As I was walking down Constitution Avenue and telling her about my visit to the Newseum, we decided that this “business” trip would help tie together the stories of history with the narratives being molded today in Senator Sanders’ office. After this experience, I recognize even more how important this office’s work is in shaping the stories that will be displayed in the Newseum in the future.

-Corinne Brien, senior

1/13/17: The End of a Busy Week

Today was the end of a very exhausting (but exciting and fun!!) week. I was surprised at how tiring it was to work a full week. I thought it wouldn’t be too bad because I’m used to full school weeks, but the hours are much longer and the work is much more dynamic than what I do in school every day. In the evening, the group attended a reading of the book Bud not Buddy. The reading featured live jazz music to complement the theme of jazz music found in the book. The play was a fun way to end such a busy week full of new and exciting experiences. It’s exciting to look back and realize we worked a full week. I am excited for next week, especially with all of the events surrounding the inauguration. It’s crazy that there is only a week left before we return to Nashville. The time in DC has gone by so quickly so far. However, I am excited for what the final week of work brings for me. I have finally gotten the hang of my internship and going to work feels routine now. I know my classmates feel similarly. It will feel strange to return to school after getting into the pattern of working. This week has really made me understand what it is like to have a job and what the day to day operations are on Capitol Hill. I will miss my internship after it ends.

-Claire Moody, junior

Day Ten: 1/14/17 A Well-Earned Weekend

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