Reflections 

It is my last day at M & Q, and the summer has absolutely flown. Overall, it was a great experience, and one that I would recommend to other students! 

 I learned so much from my internship; for example, how the grants cycle works, and how much research is involved in the grants world. I was lucky to be able to dip my toes into different practice areas, for example Healthcare and Higher Education. What I enjoyed doing the most during my time at M & Q was copyediting various documents. 

 It was also interesting to experience the dynamics of working at a small consulting firm. During the last couple months, two new fellows were hired, and five employees (including me) left. However, M & Q is constantly interviewing people; a new fellow is starting next week. It is exciting to be in a work environment that constantly growing. 

That being said, the people I met this summer was my favorite part of my experience. Everyone was so nice, and willing to take a moment to answer a question and help me learn. There is a large junior staff here, and I appreciated their supportiveness, kindness, and friendliness immensely. 

Living in D.C. was also a great experience, and I can now say I lived and worked in a city. There is obviously so much to do and explore, and I only cracked the surface in my time here. I was also really lucky to get to live with my housemate, Ellen, who was so great. 

I’m so grateful I had this opportunity. Here are some tips that I learned from my experience: 

  • If you are working somewhere temporarily, AirBnB is an easy way to find housing.
  • Busboys & Poets was one of my favorite places that I ate. I recommend the Mediterraenaean Pasta, the chili, and the hummus. 
  • The National Gallery has amazing gelato. 
  • Being nice and cheerful at your internship is absolutely necessary. I am a huge introvert, but I genuinely enjoyed spending time with all the people I met.
  • Doing administrative tasks, like answering phones and restocking the kitchen, was a large part of my job. But these things are necessary to business running smoothly at the firm, so embrace it.
  • Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to live in a new place, and be in a role that you’ve never done before. I did it, and I grew and learned so much!

Now, back to Juniata! 

Hello and Goodbye 

This week at M & Q, we said hello and goodbye. Hello to a new fellow, and goodbye to me and three other employees. 

We had an in-office happy hour on Thursday as a “goodbye party.” It was nice to take a break from working and relax for an hour. I think activities like this are extremely healthy for a workplace–in order to build strong professional relationships, it helps to have positive opportunities to build them inside the work setting. 

In addition to the happy hour, I also trained the new fellow to take on one of my jobs after I leave. Every week, I made a summary of the weekly NIH forecasting opportunities that are released. It was a bit surreal that in just a week, it won’t be my job anymore! 

On Friday, my dad and my sister came down to take some of my stuff from my house home. I will be taking the train from work to go home, so it was nice that they came down to help me lessen the weight in my suitcase. 

I also took them to Busboys & Poets so they could see what all the fuss was about. We started off with nachos, which were so good. 

Try the nachos at Busboys!


For dinner, I got chicken pizza, my dad got shrimp and chorizo pasta, and my sister got a falafel sandwich. It was another great meal from Busboys! 

Some of my best memories this summer have been sharing a meal and a drink with all the different people in my life! 

Navigating Out of the Fog 

This week was my first full week back at work since July 4th. I definitely feel a bit fatigued, so it will be nice to have the weekend to refresh and renew for another week of work.
The interesting thing about grants is that they can be a little hazy. Often, we don’t know when a government agency like the National Institue of Health (NIH), or a foundation, is going to come out with a funding opportunity, or how much it will be, or how many awards they will even give out. To make things even more tricky, some websites can extremely confusing to read, or have little to no information. 

For example, I am currently working on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Health Innovation Grant. The CDC has given institutions two different opportunities (grant cycles) to apply for this grant. However, we have no idea when there is going to be a third cycle/opportunity for this grant. 

So, my job is to go through documents having to do with Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 of the Health Innovation funding, and to try to assess if there are any gap areas in the funding, and what areas that the Cycle 3 funding could be awarded. Though so far it has been a lot of reading, it has been interesting to see the impact that this funding had made in various institutions. I hope that my final memo will be least a little helpful to M & Q. 

Not only have I been learning a lot at work, I have been trying to learn more about, well, life. Instead of staring solemnly into space during my daily commute, I decided to start listening to podcasts

My favorite so far has been Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell explores various topics that he thinks have been misunderstood. His latest episode, called “Food Fight,” is mainly about Bowdoin College and Vassar College, two prestigious liberal arts colleges in the Northeast. 

Bowdoin has amazing, five-star quality food, while Vassar’s food is not quite up to par. However, this is because Vassar uses this money to give more financial aid to students from lower-income families. On the other hand, Bowdoin is not so charitable with its financial aid.

I don’t want to spoil the episode because it is something I definitely think people should go check out for themselves. The episode had an even deeper dimension for me because my sister attends Vassar. 

Another podcast I recommend is #Girlboss. It is hosted by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of the million dollar (it might be billion) clothing company Nasty Gal. Sophia interviews different professionally successful women, ranging from Internet sensation Glozell to Beth Comstock, vice chair of GE.

I love hearing the advice of these women and their career paths, especially as I begin my own. It’s like having a bunch of different mentors, all in one place. I am very lucky that I have many real life mentors as well, like Genna Kasun at Juniata (who recommended Revisionist History to me!), and my mom. My mentors have helped me learn things about myself, and the kind of person I want to strive to be. 

And in the current state of the world, I think the more we can nurture and help people, the better

Want to Beat the Heat? Eat. 

This weekend, my boyfriend Danny came down to visit me for the weekend. If you haven’t caught on by now, one of my favorite things to do is eat food–delicious food. I am extremely lucky in that Danny also loves to eat. So on a hot, steamy day in July in DC, we did some sightseeing, but mainly indulged our culinary side.

The chili was way too good !


We started the day with brunch at Busboys & Poets, my new favorite. I got the bagel and lox (and a mimosa–it is my day off people). Danny got the avocado panini, and we ended up sharing his bowl of chili. Busboys & Poets is now 3/3 for me; everything was absolutely perfect. After walking the uphill mile to the top of Eastern Avenue, we immediately needed a break, and Busboys fueled us for our afternoon.

We took the Metro to the Mall, and decided to check out the National Botanical Gardens. We enjoyed looking at the many succulents they had. My current travel dream is to visit Austin, Texas with Danny, so it was nice to get a little preview. After we got our fill of plants, we decided to brave the heat and humidity again. 

We weren’t ready for the weather though. Saturday was a SCORCHER. I wanted to try to go to to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, but the heat was just too much to bear. Danny and I had dinner reservations for 5:00, so we made the call to take a cab to the restaurant early, and have a little happy hour to cool down.

We had made made reservations for the Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington’s oldest saloon, which was founded in 1856. Presidents such as Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt have all supposedly eaten there. Ebbitt is also quite close to the White House. 

Strawberry Margarita and Wild Peach Tea


Happy hour was the right idea. Sweaty, thirsty, and miserable, we were directed to upstairs bar to relax as soon as we got to Ebbitt. We both opted for cocktails–I got a wild peach tea, while Danny got a strawberry margarita. Both were delicious.

I have to digress for a moment to talk about the craze that is gripping the nation: Pokemon Go. It is a gps-based game, where you walk around with a map open, and look for Pokemon in the real world. About 90% of the people in the bar, including my boyfriend, were playing it. If you were looking to invest in stock, I would suggest Nintendo. 

Anyway, back to the food. After collecting ourselves at the bar, it was time for dinner. Between 3:00 and 6:00 at Ebbitt there are half priced oysters, so Danny I opted for a half-dozen Summerside oysters. I got a glass of prosecco (it was recommended by the menu to pair this with the oysters), and Danny got a Flying Dog Bloodline Blood Orange Ale. I highly, highly recommend the oysters here. They are amazingly delicious. 

I did not want to share these at all…


For our main course, I ordered a lobster roll (though I wanted about 20 more oysters), and Danny got trout parmesan. Both were extremely good, especially my lobster roll. You actually get two rolls, which makes the price tag a little more worth it.

We worked hard for this dinner.


After stuffing ourselves, we decided that it was time to head back for Takoma for bed. The heat can definitely wear you out here, which makes going inside restaurants actually beneficial for your safety and health

One Month Wiser 

I can’t can’t believe that I have been working at M & Q for a month. Time flies! Just a couple weeks ago I was falling down escalators (actually); now, I am rolling my eyes at people who talk loudly on the Metro. 

The fountain at the National Gallery Sculpture Gardens, only a few blocks from 15th street.


What I’ve learned so far:

  • Sneakers, or at least comfortable shoes are a must when commuting. 
  • Patience is key when riding the Metro. With the trains, and the people around you.
  • The National Gallery has delicious, but expensive (bit sooo delicious) gelato. I recommend the tiramisu.
  • It’s okay to ask a ton of questions at work when you’re confused. People understand. They’ve been there, too.
  • It’s okay to take a cab if you’re too tired to walk another mile.
  • Before you know it, you won’t be the new person anymore. Or at least the newest. 

Here’s to another month of writing, working, and walking in DC! 

Museums, Monuments, and Many Meals 

During my fourth weekend in DC, I decided to fling myself into the role of tourist instead of intern, and visit some of the world-famous sites in DC. With my Asics, sunglasses, and wallet, I made my way into downtown DC to explore.

My first stop was the National Gallery. I love art, even though I am definitely not a great artist. If you’ve never been to the National Gallery, go. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of art. The National Gallery is full of amazing pieces, from their Chinese porcelain to their numerous Rothkos.

Like most, I love the Impressionists. Renoir, Degas, Monet..I definitely got my fix. The National Gallery also has my favorite sculptures–Degas’ ballerinas, or “fourteen year old dancers.” 

The National Gallery also had an interesting collection of works by Hubert Robert, who was a French artist that lived during the French Revolution. Robert was the first curator of the Louvre, and some of my favorite pieces by him depicted the Louvre in states of construction.

If you need a break, the National Gallery has a great cafe, and gift shops. I ate lunch there, and tried a bunch of different Mediteraean food. Later, I treated myself to a cappuccino and two scoops of black cherry Cabernet and tiramisu gelato. A perfect mid-afternoon snack. 

The gelato at the Natiotional Gallery.

After a couple hours in the National Gallery, I decided to take a brief visit to the National Museum of the American Indian. I had been to the museum before, but one thing I had not done there was tried their acclaimed cafe, Mitsitam.

Mitsitam serves native foods from five different regions. I tried dishes from Northwest America, which were all salad type dishes that used ingredients like fennel, lemons, and onions. I also tried a scallop ceviche from South America, which was so good. The cafe does a cool thing where you can get four sides for $15–not a bad deal. I definitely recommend a stop here.

Dunch at Mitsitam.

After my late lunch/early dinner (Dunch? Linner?) I checked out an exhibit about Hawaii, called E Mau Ke Ea: The Sovereign Hawaiian Nation. It was about how Hawaii was its own independent nation before being overthrown by a group of United States businessmen. I was only slightly familiar with this part of history, so I am grateful I took the opportunity to learn more about it. 

The most important thing I learned is that Hawaii is still trying to become independent from the United States, or try to become an entity similar to other Native American tribes. I think the history of Native Americans, and how they were brutalized, is something absolutely every person should learn about in their lifetime. 

After the National Museum of the American Indian, I decided to walk the mall down to the Washington Monument. I’ve never actually been in or around the monument. After seeing it up close, I hope to eventually take a tour inside it.

Once I got to the Washington Monument, I thought, “Hey, why stop now?” I continued my walk to the Lincoln Memorial, which was absolutely mobbed. But it was a Saturday in the heat of June, so it was to be expected. The view was also worth the walk and crowds.

At this point, I was exhausted. Worn out. Ready for a nap. I caught a cab back to the Judiciary Square metro stop, and then headed back to Takoma Park. When I checked my pedometer at the end of the day, I had walked walked 10 miles, and barely scratched the surface of museums and monuments available.

After my day of exploring, I decided that I will eventually write a book about the museum cafes in DC. A bit of a niche market, but it would be way too fun. 

DCreatures

Commuting is no joke. You are at the absolute mercy of the transit system, which can completely affect your day. Especially if you are currently living in DC. This summer, the Metro is going under major construction. Trains are single-tracking, and even completely shutting down.

 Luckily for me, the Red line won’t be worked on until after I move out of Takoma Park. However, I am still slightly affected by it. On Wednesday, it took me over an hour to get to work because my train stopped for at least five minutes at each station. 

My commute on Wednesday was full of even more surprises. On my walk through Takoma to the train in the morning, I saw a rat the size of a squirrel. Literally, a squirrel. I have always read about rats getting big, but now I can say I encountered one out in the wild. 

On my walk home in Takoma, I came head-to-head with nature again. Ten minutes from my house, I saw a deer feasting on someone’s lawn. We stared each other down for 30 seconds. I was absolutely bewildered to be this close to a deer in DC. The deer was obviously was creeped out by my gaping. We parted ways, both a little taken back. 

I live in an urban jungle people. Emphasis on the jungle.