Written by Sarah Meirose, Program Advisor – Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems
Recent Portland State University graduate Rebekkah Brainerd’s first summer in DC has proven to be one full of new experiences and new friends. While living in the nation’s capital, she has found the city is full of amazing people, architecture and cultural diversity. She has also recognized a sense of community through her internship and home environments, an element that has positively impacted her summer. The former political science major is interning at Children’s Environmental Health Network.
Her TFAS internship has been a great experience thus far. “There’s this really relaxed, community atmosphere in the office. It feels like everyone is really working together, almost like a little family.” While the majority of her duties in the office are comprised of administrative work, “Our supervisors are always asking us what we want to work on, what experiences we want to gain, etc. They’re such kind hearted people, and it’s nice to see that side of DC when there is this big perception of power hungry individuals everywhere.”
Outside of work, Rebekkah enjoys interacting with other students she has met through TFAS. “My favorite thing overall is interacting with all of the amazing people here. Everyone is so incredible and smart, and I find myself almost daily engaging in these intense debates with people from all different perspectives.”
As an Oregon native, Rebekkah was surprised by various aspects of Washington in comparison to Portland. “DC is more driven and motivated; morning rush hour is really fascinating in how organized and synchronized it is!” Her favorite parts of the city include the artistic culture, cute shops and neat places to eat, specifically in Georgetown and Chinatown.
Already, Rebekkah realizes her professional growth as a result of her summer in DC through TFAS. “Each person has to make it their own… being in a place like this really fosters advancement as a person in figuring out one’s own self, perspective and mindset.”