Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hello! My name is Emmanuel Hurtado, I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah and I’m a junior at Claremont McKenna College. I study Government and Philosophy and am currently interning at the Center for American Progress on the Progress 2050 Race Policy Team.

In only a couple weeks I’ve already gotten extremely good at giving myself a concise introduction. In fact, we’ve practiced it constantly since I arrived in Washington, DC, and I’ve learned quickly what a great skill it is have. It did not take long for me to discover that the so-called “elevator speech” is a real and aptly named experience. It’s astounding to me how many times I’ve had to introduce myself in the time between the opening and closing of an elevator door. I’ve learned DC is a city of meeting people.

What all the hours of orientation couldn’t teach me is that DC has unique culture one can only understand by living it. The city is tireless. Everybody has a place to be and a reason to be there. People are work-oriented; they walk with an air of purpose. Each individual is like a small but necessary cog in a machine, but it’s hard to tell who’s most important. Nearly everyone is here because they are driven and because they want to make a difference, and the result is a large and diverse pool of interesting people to meet. Also unique is the amazing intern culture which is characteristic of the city. It’s exciting working alongside other young people who share the same wide-eyed optimism with which I arrived, but it’s equally enlightening to hear from and speak to some the highly experienced and brilliant people this city attracts.

Being constantly surrounded by the culture of Washington an indescribable experience which can only be understood by living here. Between the amazing opportunities I’ve had at my internship and the great line-up of guest-speakers and panels provided by Professor Spalding, the opportunities to learn about the plethora of topics constantly being discussed in DC from a variety of experts have been plentiful. So far my high point has been meeting Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. Other notable sightings include Hilary Clinton getting into her car following an event at the Center for American Progress, and Justice Antonin Scalia who scurried into a room at the Supreme Court as we passed him on our tour.

The sheer breadth of ideas and beliefs in DC is astounding in many ways, and I enjoy the efforts the Washington Program takes to ensure that we hear from individuals who vary greatly in their experience, areas of expertise, and political ideology.  It’s important to appreciate the many perspectives that contribute to the noise that is government and the intelligent individuals on each side of most issues. What has stood out to me the most is that the large majority of people in Washington are approachable. Coffee meet-ups exemplify the social nature of this city and the efforts people will make to make themselves accessible.

I chose to write about the people this week, but Washington has amazing in so many ways. It’s been an enlightening few months and I hope I can soak in as much DC as I can in the months to come. I'll write more soon, but here’s some pictures.

Me (and Charlotte and Denys) and Elizabeth Warren

Me and Nicole on the Speaker's Balcony

No comments: