A Whole New World in Washington, D.C.
By Jessica Calhoun ‘18, NSFIA major
It’s very scary to begin a new chapter in life, especially when you are unfamiliar with the territory. You are forced into a situation where you need to become familiar with how things operate and meet as many people as possible to show you the ropes. Eventually, you hope you will get the hang of things and make some friends along the way. For me, that new chapter began a whole semester earlier than most people. In my final semester of college, I took a bold step and moved to Washington, D.C. to finish out my senior year.
Students at Mount Union have the opportunity to intern at the nation’s capital through a program called the Washington Center. It’s a program that connects you with an internship and provides you with a chance to enhance your professional network. The program allows you to intern Monday through Thursday, take a night class one day per week and participate in a Friday morning activity to help develop you as a young professional.
My internship is with Teracore. It is a veteran-owned small business management consulting firm that works on projects related to national security. Teracore’s biggest client is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS has an agency known as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). My team works in the Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) of FEMA. Our goal is to get the community involved and help them be prepared for natural disasters. As part of my internship, I create content for Facebook and Twitter, research different topics pertinent to FEMA, and I do other administrative tasks like transcribing calls and editing documents.
I chose this internship because I thought this would be great experience for the career I want to have. I want to work in the Intelligence Community (IC) in D.C., and I thought working in conjunction with the DHS would improve my resume, my knowledge of the career field and related skills. Looking to the future, I hope to get a job and remain in Washington, D.C. Completing this internship during the spring semester of my senior year has put me in an excellent position to do so.
The transition of moving to a big city was a huge adjustment because Washington D.C. is nothing like Alliance, Ohio. Differences range from not being within walking distance to Buffalo Wild Wings (which is very sad for a Bdubs addict like me) to having to take the public metro every morning. Although I miss my home university, there are many things I like about living in the nation’s capital. I like the hustle and bustle of the lively city. I like using public transportation instead of driving everywhere. I love the depth of history within this city because it gives me an opportunity to learn something new every day. I love going on random day trips and stumbling upon something new that we never saw before. And, I won’t lie, all the normal, tourist-y stuff is pretty cool too. Taking pictures on the National Mall and visiting the Archives have been some of the highlights I have experienced so far.
I did not know what to expect when I moved to D.C. I had heard people call Washington, D.C. the city of “movers and shakers.” Now I understand what that truly meant. This city is full of talented people who are trying their best to make a difference in the world, and they truly never stop moving!
It has not been easy leaving one of my favorite places on earth, especially knowing the next time I return to Mount Union, I will be graduating. However, I am beyond blessed to have been given this opportunity to make new friends and establish myself as a young professional in one of the greatest and influential cities in the world.