There’s something about being a political science major in Washington D.C. that just makes my heart sing. The sighting of a Congressman, on either side of the aisle, is akin to a teenager passing by Justin Bieber in Hollywood. For me, walking the halls of the Supreme Court or the Capitol is far superior to the glamour of the red carpet. However, there is more to D.C. than the Congress, the Court, and the Commander in Chief. Our nation’s capital is the heart of policy and advocacy. Hundreds of associations, representing everything from dairy farmers to university presidents, work throughout the city to influence the formation of laws and regulations and provide expertise on a variety of subjects. The work of the associations often requires regular gatherings of their members, in order to discuss the important pieces of legislation, regulation, and news that will affect their organizations. For those with interests in either the dairy farmers or the educators, these meetings are the perfect opportunity to meet your own celebrities. While others may not recall the faces and names of the attendees at these gatherings, you likely know their life story!
As an intern at the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities, I was able to sit in on one of these gatherings. The university presidents of APLU’s member organizations convened in D.C for a daylong meeting. While this meeting may not have excited everyone, I have been doing research at Texas A&M University, as an undergraduate research assistant with the Project for Equity, Representation, and Governance on management in higher education. I have spent hours researching a variety of university officials, including presidents and chancellors. I have read about their lives, backgrounds, and accomplishments. Consequently, seeing these university presidents was somewhat of a Hollywood moment! Just as an avid movie goer could point out their favorite actor or actress, I was mentally noting the presidents I had spent so much time learning about. It was a wonderful opportunity to be a fly on the wall in such a meeting and get to brush shoulders with such VIPs. Thank you to PPIP and APLU for providing me with this experience and the chance to be surrounded by the issues, people, and policies I find so interesting.
—Claire Stieg, 2014
Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
Claire Stieg is a member of the ANRP Internship Program sister experience called the Public Policy Internship Program.