As I closed the zipper of my last suitcase, I could not believe that my adventures in Washington DC were coming to an end. Spending an entire semester in Washington DC was not only a dream come true, but a transformative and fulfilling experience. I deeply enjoyed having the opportunity to both intern full-time at the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), and take classes in subjects I had not taken before, such as international affairs and humanitarian aid efforts. Being able to attend networking events that further broadened my exposure to different careers in public service was also another exciting opportunity. One program I particularly enjoyed was the UCDC Mentorship program, where I was paired with a mentor who worked in the Institute of Education Sciences at the Department of Education. Through our conversations and various meet-ups, I learned more about a career in education policy and how their department operated. Similarly, the Public Service Expo hosted by the Partnership for Public Service showcased different federal agencies and organizations that further provided fellowship and job opportunities for post-grad students. Most notably, the Expo featured speaker Dr. Anthony Fauci, who gave a direct address to all the attendees, and spoke on the importance of the new generation of public service leaders.
But above all, I was grateful for my time interning at ULC, where I learned the importance of bringing all your identities to the forefront, and creating work that is meaningful for your communities. As my final project, I aimed to engage the Latino and English Language Learning (ELL) population in ULC’s future programming, by creating a grant concept paper that targeted literacy rates for emerging bilingual speakers through bilingual books. With this grant concept paper at hand, the organization has an opportunity to target more populations previously not included within their initiatives. Not only was this contribution fulfilling for me to work on, but the future impacts it can have on libraries across the nation to engage bilingual speakers is even more rewarding.
Moving forward, I hope to use what I have learned from every moment in Washington DC to continue to positively impact my community through the work I do. These experiences could have not been possible without the support of the Matsui Center, so thank you for this opportunity!