My time in Washington D.C. was extremely memorable and filled with extensive adventures, making the most of what such an incredible city has to offer. I came to D.C. to discover if my dream to become a foreign service officer is a worthwhile one. Because of the generosity of the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization, I feel that not only can I pursue such a career, but I was able to explore D.C. in ways I never thought were possible.
I interned at the American Academy of Diplomacy, where I worked with former Ambassadors and Secretaries of State to push American foreign policy agenda domestically and abroad. My work with the non-profit organization brought me all around Washington and the surrounding areas, including events at the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, the DACOR Bacon House, universities, the US Department of State, and Monticello. Working with a diplomatic organization in a time of Impeachment was especially rewarding because the Ukrainian dealings directly involved the State Department, and therefore some members of the American Academy of Diplomacy. I was able to get first hand accounts into what was going on during the hearings, and discuss the events candidly with Academy members, learning and gaining more insight. Undoubtably, my experience with this incredible non-profit organization allowed me to learn so much more about our federal government, and has greatly encouraged me to keep going down the path of the foreign service.
While in Washington, I made a great effort to make sure I saw all there was to offer. While I didn’t make it to all of the art museums (art isn’t entirely my thing) I made sure to visit almost all of the Smithsonians, monuments, memorials, museums, and historical and famous venues. I am quite passionate about US History, and I wanted to make sure I was able to see all of the important mementos to the founding of the United States. After becoming fast friends with the other members of the CU in DC program, I always had someone to explore with. My favorite memory is when two other friends and myself woke up extremely early (especially for college students), around 4:30/5am, to make it to a Supreme Court Oral Argument. One of my goals for my time in DC was to see Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as she is one of my personal heroes and feminist icons. We waited in line— freezing might I add, as none of us were quite prepared for the weather to get cold in DC— only to be told that there was only one more space in the Court when we were at the very front of the line. My friends so kindly encouraged me to go and leave them behind, and after a bit of arguing, I reluctantly, but excitedly, entered the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, Ginsberg was not on the bench this day due to a cold, but the experience was incredible and one I will never forget. I hope to go back to the Supreme Court soon and try again to see the notorious RBG in action.
My time in Washington has been so thought provoking, and from wandering the streets of Old Town Alexandria, the halls of Mount Vernon, and eating at the Ben Franklin State Dining Room (with Sec. Pompeo in the next room) I truly felt like I was following in our founding father’s footsteps. I can’t wait to return to D.C. one day to also make my mark, and I will never forget the kindness of the CU in D.C. program or the Benson Center for giving me the opportunity to do so. Thank you for making my semester unforgettable.
Skyler Nunn, CU in D.C. Internship Scholarship Recipient