Natalie Mamerow, a Fall 2008 alumna of TFAS’s Capital Semester, stopped by orientation to welcome TFAS’s new Capital Semester class. Natalie currently works in the finance department of the DC based charter school, KIPP DC. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Marketing and Political Science and interned with Congressman Zach Space (D-OH) during her time in DC with Capital Semester.
Natalie helped kick-off the semester with some inspirational words for students interning in DC this spring…
When I arrived in DC, I immediately made new friends both within the program and at my internship on Capitol Hill with Representative Zack Space from Ohio. One thing I learned right away about DC is that the people who are here want to be here; DC is full of ambitious and hard-working people.
When I wasn’t giving Capitol tours or attending Congressional hearings at my internship, I was learning a lot at class. The professors that teach through TFAS are some of the most passionate and fascinating teachers I have ever had in my life. Listen to the faculty as closely as you can, ask a lot of questions, and try to soak it all in!
Many of your fellow students may have differing opinions (political, religious, or otherwise), than you do, and your housemates and classmates will bring new and exciting life experiences to share with you. One of the most valuable aspects of the Capital Semester program that I received was to hear everyone’s beliefs, opinions, and stories. I have found that immersing oneself among open-minded peers is a great way to get another perspective on the world, and inevitably you will make many new friends for life. I have kept in close contact with quite a few of my fellow Capital Semester classmates; I’m even flying out to South Korea to visit one this summer!
There are many fun (and free!) things to do on the weekends, including touring the Smithsonian museums, walking National Mall, shopping at the farmer’s market (otherwise known as “Eastern Market”), and attending many of the free or cheap jazz/music shows offered in the city. If you enjoy good food, then you will love the eclectic restaurants of DC. I’ve had some of the best Ethiopian, Indian, and South America food of my life right here in the city! Although you’ll be busy with your internships and classes, find time to explore the city.
I fell in love with DC after spending a semester here, and I knew I would be back sooner than later. After I graduated, I moved out to DC. Through lots of hard work and plenty of perseverance, I found a great job working for a non-profit in downtown DC.
Make the most out of your time in DC. Meet as many new and different people as you can and to take full advantage of the opportunities that TFAS and this city have to offer.
I promise this will be an experience you will never forget.