think fastWritten by Dylan Reed, Program Associate for the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems 

2 + 2=?

13 x 27=?

You were undoubtedly able to answer the first problem immediately and without thinking. The second problem, however, may have furrowed your brow at first glance. You knew you could find the solution, but may have been grabbing for a paper and pencil.

This month’s edition of Reed’s Reads tackles Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman, the 2002 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in Economics and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, uses the two “fictitious characters” of “System 1” and “System 2” to describe how our thinking works. System 1 uses impressions and intuitions to operate quickly and automatically and will even influence System 2 during decision making. System 2 functions during activities that require an increased level of mental effort. The examples of math computations listed above serve the purpose to show the difference between each System: 2 + 2 (System 1); 13 x 27 (System 2).

Kahneman provides wonderful examples to help readers peer into their psychological operations. My personal favorites include the “halo effect” – “the tendency to like (or dislike) everything about a person” – and the “affect heuristic in which people let their likes and dislikes determine their beliefs about the world.”

The author invites readers to question their own thinking, but also on a broader level. His examples encourage us to look at our colleagues, fellow citizens, and the world in a different perspective than we may have previously.

The halo effect and affect heuristic are particularly interesting if applied to the policy and political realm. Do you support a policy because you like the person advocating for it? Or is there evidence to back your beliefs?

I strongly recommend that you give this book a read!

By the way, 13 x 27 = 351.

Written by Kristen Wright, Manager - Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service

IPVS-About_miniIf you’re interested in a career in the nonprofit sector, you’ve probably heard countless comments like “there isn’t any money in that” or “you must just want to do good.”

While it may be true that the nonprofit sector is dominated with individuals that want to make a positive impact on society, it’s also an industry that in Washington, DC accounts for more than 26.4% of all private sector jobs, 16% of total workforce employment, and generates $46.4 billion in revenue annually.

The District is filled with national nonprofit organizations and local charities, and provides direct access to influencers on Capitol Hill, giving nonprofit leaders a rare opportunity to engage in local, state, national, and international work without leaving the District. The DC nonprofit sector’s location allows leaders and change-makers to understand the role that the private sector can play in providing social services and solving community needs without many of the limitations of government.

The dynamic and vibrant nonprofit sector is made up of hardworking citizens that are looking to provide long-term solutions to the issues that affect our city, our country, and our world on the deepest levels. If you work for one of the more than 15,000 DC nonprofits you may be working for an organization that is leading the charge in cancer research, fundraising for scholarships for low income students, preserving historic documents, or encouraging democracy in other countries.

In Washington, DC’s nonprofit sector, the causes are as diverse as the work, but the importance of their impact is shared. These “do-gooders” are making big contributions and positive, lasting change in their communities!

Want to explore a career in the nonprofit sector and spend a summer of service in the nation’s capital? Visit www.DCinternships.org/IPVS to learn about the Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service. The extended application deadline is April 4th.

DC State Societies

Written by Mallie Woodfin, Recruitment and Admissions Associate 

State-Flag-EderWhen you live in DC, there is an endless list of activities, networking events and social gatherings to keep you busy. But when you move here, there is a good chance you miss a little place called home from time to time. Whether you are from the west coast, New England or the middle of nowhere, there is a unique opportunity that allows you to mingle with fellow DC transfers: State Societies.

State Societies are non-profit social organizations that host fundraising events, parties and monthly meetings for people to come together. Societies are great to join because they connect people with other DC professionals and help to grow one’s network. Many societies help raise money for a scholarship given to a student attending a college or university in their home state.

They are also a great opportunity to realize how small the world actually is. You may re-
connect with a childhood friend you didn’t know lived in DC, find out that your co-worker is someone’s cousin, or that you are sorority sisters. The stories and connections are countless!

Tips on Becoming a Member:

  • Currently an intern but planning on staying in DC long-term? You could meet someone that can offer you your first job, or connect you with an organization that is hiring.
  • From Michigan but went to school in Mississippi? Join both organizations to double your network!
  • Fees are generally pretty low and usually cover you for the year.
  • Visit this link for a list of all DC State Societies.

I remember sitting next to my roommate for the opening session of the summer programs.  I was in a brand new suit that I had bought for my summer in the Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA).  I was nervous and excited for what the next 8 weeks had in store.  I somehow knew this would be a life-changing summer.

During my summer in DC, I had the opportunity to work for Resonate Networks, a digital media firm for political campaigns and Super PACs.  I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work.  I was valued by the Resonate staff and was given the opportunity to do meaningful projects for campaigns across the country.  A connection I made at Resonate has provided me with the opportunity to work in DC this upcoming summer.  As a current junior in college, having another opportunity to work in DC will hopefully pay dividends as I begin looking for a job soon.

IBGA also allowed me to study economics, politics, and ethics with some of the brightest students my age.  Even after a full day at work, I was always excited to go to class, hear the lectures, and interact with my peers.  The IBGA classes remain some of the top ones I have ever taken.  Additionally, the institute gave me the opportunity to experience the sites in DC.  Being able to see monuments, museums, and historical sites with other wide-eyed students still brings a smile to my face.

At the end of the summer, I remember sitting next to my roommate at the closing session of the TFAS summer programs.  I was in the same suit, which now had been worn for two months.  I was fulfilled and enthused from the past 8 weeks in DC.  I then knew it was, in fact, a life-changing summer.

To learn more internship opportunities offered through the  Institute on Business and Government Affairs, visit www.DCinternships.org/IBGA

Lately it seems like Washington, DC has been taking over primetime, and not just on the nightly news. Many of the most popular shows currently on TV are set in Washington and offer a glimpse (albeit fictional) into the inner workings of the nation’s capital. Here are a few of our favorites:

ScandalScandal – Billed as a “political thriller,” this ABC drama is based on a former George H.W. Bush administration press aide, Judy Smith. It focuses on Olivia Pope and her crisis management firm, where she and her team of “fixers” handle the problems of Washington’s political elite.  Fun fact – Kerry Washington, who stars as Olivia Pope is actually a graduate of DC’s George Washington University.

Homeland – This Showtime hit focuses on CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) who suspects Nicholas Brody, a marine who was held captive by al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, has been “turned” by the enemy and now threatens the United States. Much of the action is set in Langley, Virginia the real-life location of the CIA headquarters and in DC itself. Even President Obama has stated that Homeland is one of his favorite TV shows.

House-of-cardsHouse of Cards – Set in present-day Washington, DC, this Netflix series tells the story of House Majority Whip, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), who, after getting passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, decides to exact his revenge on those who betrayed him. House of Cards has gotten rave reviews and is being talked about all across social media as a “must watch.”

Veep – On the lighter side, Veep is an HBO comedy set in the office of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), fictional Vice President of the United States. The show follows the whirlwind day-to-day existence of the vice president as she puts out political fires and tries to improve her dysfunctional relationship with the president. Veep has been nominated for numerous Emmys and begins its third season in April.

Written by Colin Parks- Manager, Institute on Business and Government Affairs

K St.

Lions, Tigers, and LOBBYISTS! OH MY!  For many, the term lobbyist evokes images of backroom dealings, shady plots to subvert the noble order of “Mr. Smith’s” Washington, and corporate moguls scheming to exploit the political process at the expense of the American people.  It’s a depiction that seems all too real in Frank Underwood’s sordid political landscape in which his chilling words haunt our imagination and cripple our faith in the American system:  “For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy.  There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.”

While House of Cards might tantalize our imagination and reinforce our most cynical views of politics, the reality could not be further from the truth. The REAL Washington, among other things, is the ultimate nexus of business and policy in which lobbyists or government affairs professionals work tirelessly and honestly to forge healthy and sustainable bonds between the public and private sector in pursuit of lasting economic prosperity for our country.

Guided by a strong code of ethics and a deep appreciation for the democratic process, Washington’s 35,000 strong lobbying community represents virtually every type of industry and business interest imaginable.  “K Street” as it is commonly referred to by Washington insiders, is not the lion’s den of Frank Underwood’s distorted political fantasy, but rather the hub of legitimate political advocacy on the part of businesses of every kind to secure the best for their clients and consumers.  An integral part of the democratic process and a constitutionally guaranteed right, lobbying encourages government accountability, promotes sound public policy, and protects the vital interests of the business community, which by extension helps to further the economic wellbeing of the American people.

For students participating in the Institute on Business and Government Affairs, such nefarious images of villainous lobbyists and politicians run amuck will quickly be dispelled.  Instead, you’ll experience the government affairs community as it truly is: the vanguard of public policy and the engine of economic prosperity.

For more information on the rewarding field of government affairs, check out the resources below:

Written by Asia Hege, Communications Assistant

sorgeInternships in Washington offer students from around the country many exciting opportunities. Today we are profiling Spring Semester intern, Michael Sorge.  

Capital Semester student Michael Sorge stands in the U.S. Capitol building on the eve of the State of the Union address.  Sorge attended with his NY1 News colleagues and assisted with coverage.

The SUNY Purchase junior is interning at the Washington Bureau for Time Warner Cable for the semester, and attended President Obama’s annual address on Jan. 28 at the U.S. Capitol.

“Being at State of the Union cemented that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Sorge said. “It was definitely a cool experience.”

Sorge was in the thick of the press corps throughout the entire day of the event. He assisted his colleagues with the pre-speech interviews and even got to draft interview questions for a senator. Sorge said he created the questions based on his knowledge of current events, and by doing research on Politifact.

During the speech, Sorge and members of the media watched the text over a feed. They all received a copy of the speech as soon as President Obama began the address. Then the reporters were in motion, preparing for their stories, Sorge said.

After the speech, the reporters had a number of representatives lined up for interviews. Although when Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) had an altercation with a member of the press corps, Sorge said the entire plan for the evening shifted in response to what became national news. Sorge got a real-life, political media experience.

“I’m glad that I went to State of the Union,” Sorge said. “I don’t want it to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I’d like to be back there next year and the year after.”

Sorge’s daily tasks at his internship include logging notes from White House press briefings, taking notes during senators’ speeches and assisting staff reporters as needed.

He said the most difficult part for him is learning to use the necessary equipment. Although technically challenging, he now can set up a tripod, camera and disassemble the equipment at events. The internship has exposed him to a set of skills he now knows he needs to refine, he said.

He’s not sure what may come next at his internship, but his favorite aspect of his experience in D.C. is being in the news environment.

Another highlight for the journalism buff? Touring the Newseum with the other Capital Semester students. Sorge has aspirations to take the reigns as moderator of Meet the Press one day, and he was excited to see an exhibit dedicated especially to Tim Russert.

For more information on Capital Semester, visit www.DCinternships.org.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers

%d bloggers like this: