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The start of my Final Month

Weeks 5 and 6: Monday, July 10 – Friday, July 21st

I can’t believe a month and a half has already come and gone.

Two more weeks have passed, and I participated in two new training sessions pertaining to creating Congressional Certificates of Recognition and Phone banking for an event.

Have you ever wondered how Congressional Certificates of Recognition are made?

See Below for a 2014 example:

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(Found the picture online, did not want to take a picture of one made this summer since they are upcoming events)

Anyone who is a constituent of Congressmember Karen Bass can as for a Congressional Letter and/ or a Certificate. The office makes them for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Letter for Event Program or Journal
  • Certificate of Recognition
  • Personal Letter (birthday, condolence, anniversary)
  • Other occasions (such as family reunion, Eagle Scout, etc.)
  • Grant Application Introductory Letter (formerly known as a support letter)

Two weeks ago the office started finalizing projects for an upcoming event Congressmember Karen Bass will be hosting on Saturday, July 29th.

This Saturday CKB will he meeting breakfast with Faith leaders. This is an opportunity for Faith Leaders to engage with the member, in order to discuss the policies the Trump Administration has implemented and how they will affect the South LA community.

To make sure the event has a great turn out, we had to mail out over 100 invitations to several different Faith Leaders. You can see below just a start of a few stacks that were ready to be put in envelopes.

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This brings me to the second training: phone banking:

Last week I called over 100 churches in hopes of inviting several Pastors, Reverends, and overall Faith Leaders to the event.

On a completely side note this summer I tried my first Poke Bowl ^.^ , which was recommended by a staff member.

I have also completed a proposal that will hopefully be presented at some point to Congressmember Karen Bass. The project is to allow her to reach constituents who are interested in starting or expanding their business. 

The short term goals for this project include:

  1. Rainsing CKB’s visibility on Business issues
  2. Provide services to constituents
  3. Propose a curated set of meetings, teleconferences and live webinars

While the long term goals include:

  1. Economic empowerment of South LA
  2. Commercial and economic ties to Africa

One a side note:

Can you believe I barely tried my first Poke Bowl last week? Well neither could Claudia (a staff member at the DO office).

The one you see below is Spicy Tuna… before I cleaned out the bowl.

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Today (July 24Th) is her (Claudia’s) Birthday, the one who recommended me the Poke Bowl.

Since she has taught me so much, and I truly respect and admire her,  I decided to decorated her computer for when she returns July 31st.

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This is an amazing office to work with, because it has a great work environment. Everyone gets their tasks accomplished, but there is always the right amount of fun and social life in the mix.

One of the perks of staying in LA is that I got to participate in my Transfer BBQ for LMU.

For those that don’t know yet…

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I am no longer a Bruin, but a Lion instead.

Maria de Jesus Lopez Zamudio

Monday, July 24th 2017

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Capital Santa Monica College

This week we got a visit from Shari Davis, the acting co-director of the Public Policy Institute of Santa Monica College. During her trip on the Hill, she came to visit me at my internship. I got the pleasure to meet the amazing Ana Jara who is the coordinator for the Youth and Family Services Support and Aketa Williams from Spitfire Strategies. We only got to talk for a couple of minutes because I had a training to attend and they had meetings with both Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris.

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Fortunately, Shari kindly invited me to attend the briefing in the capitol, as well as the rest of the dale ride interns, regarding community driven projects in Santa Monica. Attending the panel was very insightful on the impact local community organizations can have on its population when working with local government. Learning about programs like the Wellbeing program and all the work they’ve done for the Santa Monica Community motivates me to organize and create a change for marginalized communities.

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I really enjoyed the panel discussion and Ana’s presentation. The issues that really resonated with me was the lack of kindergarten readiness, with only 30 percent of children actually being prepared to attend school. From my own lived in experience, I know how difficult it can be to thrive in an education system that was not built for everyone to succeed. At the panel, I learned how community wide campaigns can lead to tangible change.

Working with students as a tutor in my neighborhood, high school and at Santa Monica college, I saw the hard work students put into their classes, only struggling because their schools did not provide the support they needed. I hope to one day be able to help marginalized communities at a larger scale, creating an equitable environment were no student can fall behind.

The Journey So Far

by Laura Zwicker

Imagine being able to walk out your front door and reach the gates of the White House within minutes. At every corner, there is another historic monument, another important center of international politics and commerce. An evening stroll down the block effortlessly leads you into the heart of our capital and all of its associated pageantry, bureaucracy, and humidity.

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I have only been in Washington DC for a mere month, but I have already seen, experienced, and been exposed to opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. It is nothing like I thought it would be, more than I could have hoped for, and will undoubtedly steer the course of my life for the foreseeable future.

tGEMc3-20170713_134635 The National Whistleblower Center HQ

I am interning at the National Whistleblower Center, the nation’s leading whistleblower advocacy group, and its associated law firm, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto LLP, which specializes in employment law and the protection of whistleblowers. I have been inspired by the passion my colleagues have for advocating for this vulnerable group in our society. I now very much wish to start my own law firm and NGO dedicated to the causes I care most about.

The NWC is primarily concerned right now with ending wildlife trafficking and representing the brave individuals who have helped to take down wildlife trafficking rings often at great risk to their jobs and even their lives. My fellow interns and I have spent all summer helping the NWC to partner with local wildlife NGOs in Latin America to educate their communities about the protections and opportunities available to them if they assist law enforcement.

Another major project for the NWC this summer is National Whistleblower Day on Thursday July 27th. On that same date in 1778, our Founding Fathers unanimously passed America’s first Whistleblower Protection Law. Starting in 2015, Congress has passed unanimous resolutions to hold a congressional celebration to honor whistleblowers every year.

For this year’s celebration, guest speakers include Senator Chuck Grassley, Senior Senator from Iowa and Co-Chair of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, Senator Ron Wyden, Senior Senator from Oregon and Co-Chair of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, Congresswoman Kathleen Rice of New York, Co-Chair of the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus, Congressman Rod Blum of Iowa, Co-Chair of the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus, Enron Whistleblower Sherron Watkins, Swiss Banking Whistleblower Bradley C. Birkenfeld, FBI Whistleblowers Frederick Whitehurst and Jane Turner, and Special Counsel presidential nominee Henry Kerner. I have been charged with organizing all of the volunteers for the event as well as coordinating the special meet-and-greet with Mr. Kerner.

Another very exciting opportunity came in the form of a totally unexpected surprise for both myself as well as the NWC. The Supreme Court just announced that it will hear a very important case concerning whistleblower law this upcoming term. We are now all contributing to an amicus brief, and the interns all get to assist! I have already completed my first legal research assignment and am currently working on two more projects because Mr. Kohn was so pleased with my work! The case is Digital Realty Trust v. Somers, and it concerns whether “the anti-retaliation provision for ‘whistleblowers’ in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 extends to individuals who have not reported alleged misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission and thus fall outside the act’s definition of ‘whistleblower.’” (http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/digital-realty-trust-inc-v-somers/)

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Fourth of July Fireworks

Yet despite all of these amazing opportunities, the real joy of my time here has been growing closer to my fellow Dale Ride interns: Micca, Dane, Tamara, and Stephany. They have supported, encouraged, and inspired me every step of the way. Many of the other interns that I have met while here come to DC alone and without any support from their university. SMC is truly unique in the opportunities the Dale Ride program provides to its students, and I am so grateful to be taking part in this amazing journey.

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The first week at OXFAM- meaningful

I met up with my manager and received some immediate tasks to take on.  I was informed of our upcoming lobby day, which was the second Tuesday of my internship at Oxfam. I also learned that Oxfam is campaigning against the U.S. FY18 budget cuts of Foreign Aid. The organization has a program called Sister on the Planet(SOP), which contains a diverse group of American women who are leaders in everything from business, to politics to the arts. “SOP ambassadors are united by a common goal: to use their influence to fight global poverty, hunger, and injustice, with a particular focus on empowering women and girls worldwide..” (Oxfam Website) Some of the SOPs would fly in to DC and lobby their congressional office with Oxfam staff. My tasks included organizing and formating the educational PowerPoint, which would be presented in front of the SOPs during the lobby day. It may sound very easy, but in reality, it was time-consuming because of some unexpected updates. As a result, I always had to work extra hours for the updates. I remember I got off at 9:30 on the first Friday of my internship, feeling fulfilled.

Besides that, I also happened to attend the farewell party for our outgoing president, Raymond C. Offenheiser. He is a person who can earn your respect in the first second when you meet with him. He briefly talked about how OXFAM grows from picking up used office furnitures on the street to a large influential organization today;He mentioned how Oxfam America started with 7k revenue to today’s 80 million revenue; How it remains its influence on the Hill and over the world. He also highlighted Oxfam’s independence from the U.S. government by not receiving Federal Aid; Oxfam worked closely with the White House during the Clinton Administration; And the work OXFAM did during the Afghanistan warfare, in which OXFAM, along with the UN, facilitated the delivery of humanitarian supplies to civilians in need, including allowing aid agencies access to communication facilities for both logistical and delivery verification processes. Although I wasn’t a part of OXFAM by then, I can feel the weight of the overwhelming memory of those past happiness, tears, and accomplishment , which I was not a part of.

Last but not least, I attended the event, a conversation with Mike Pence, held by the Wilson Center. As a non-registered participant, I was very glad that I tried my luck and actually “sneaked into” the event legally and successfully. The conversation gave me a direct interaction with someone influential from the current administration and to some extent, it brought me a new perspective. It also reaffirmed my motto- if you never try, you’ll never know.

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Conversation with Vice President Mike Pence, it was fun!

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Dane and I went to the event- Standing Against Violence # JusticeforNabra. It was for the Muslim teen, Nabra Hassanen, who was kidnapped and dolled in Virginia in a potential hate crime. Later on, I found out my manager and her family attend the event too!

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This is a little accident that happened during cooking. Dane and I were cooking together, we had a small burst of fire that activated the fire extinguisher box.  The next thing I know was it ruined Dane’s dinner. Due to my fast reaction, I saved my food and took this picture…

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Don’t worry! Dane never joined me cooking afterwards.

A month of Politics, Puppies and Playing Ball!

How has it been a month already! When I first got to D.C. I thought the weeks would go by so slowly so that I could enjoy every passing moment. However, I was very clearly wrong. As the title states, it’s been a fun-filled, energetic month of politics, puppies and playing ball. Or in my case, watching Congress play ball.

Let’s start with politics. I was really fortunate to have placed with Congresswoman Katherine Clark (5-MA). The office is always so inviting and welcoming. I have a staff mentor in the office, who is always there to provide support and answer any questions that I have on how working in the House really is.

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There are so many things that we can do in the House as interns, which our office always encourages the interns to participate in. Which brings me to my next point, PUPPIES!

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As you can tell the state of politics on the Hill really wore them down. I love how as an intern I have been able to go numerous committee hearings and briefings and participate in the events that are held on the Hill. Future interns, here’s a pro tip Dear e-Colleague will be your best friend while working on the Hill. Yes, it does fill up your email with bill that you are asked to co-sponsor (even though you can’t because you aren’t a Rep.) but it also let’s you know about all the fun fairs and events on the Hill. I’ve been to the technology fair, the puppy “fair”, and to an attempted blood drive donation (I was informed I needed to eat more kale).

I have been to numerous hearings on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, which talked about the future of Materials Science, space travel and cybersecurity. Another pro-tip, always check https://www.govtrack.us/congress/committees/ for any upcoming hearings and meetings that pique your interests. Sometimes you get lucky and the Girl Scouts come by with awesome info on Girls in STEM and goody bags (Out of season Thin Mints)!!

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Along with the internal events, I also went to the Congressional baseball game with the other interns in my office and the staffers. As first baseball games go, it was really entertaining (and yes, the Dems won 11-2 :D). This also brings me to things to do outside the Hill.

Congressional Baseball

First of all, I know others have stated that the weather here is horrible, but I’m here to confirm that everyday I wake up and fall more and more in love with summer weather in D.C. For those of you who know me, you know that even with LA weather I’m permanently in a sweater. I’m pleased to say this weather is sweater weather proof (yes I snuck that in lol). I ended up taking a nice walk from Bethesda through Embassy Road where I saw a great selection of embassies. Shoutout to Nikka for staying on the phone with me for an hour and a half while I walked back home.

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As an added bonus, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela wave to each other from across the road!

Overall, my first month here has been so eventful and great. I tell everybody I call how much I love it here and don’t want to leave, and I’m honestly so serious about it. Can’t wait for UCDC. Stay tuned for museum walks in my next post!

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3rd & 4th WEEK INTERNING AT THE DISTRICT OFFICE OF: CONGRESSMEMBER KAREN BASS

Week 3: Monday, June 26th – Friday, June 30th 

This week I got the opportunity to start an ongoing project and use data from 2013/2014 and data from 2015/2016. I was able to organize a total of over 1,000 data entries and transfer it to a new excel sheet. I have never appreciated the “filter” feature for excel so much.

I have also started a new Excel and started to collecting data that will help constituents either start or expand their business.

On the social side, on Friday the office had a Fourth of July potluck with the theme being “red, white, and blue” food.

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On Friday we also played two truths and one lie as an ice-breaker with the staff and interns who went to the potluck. It was filled with laughed and learning new things about each other.

Week 4: Wednesday, July 5th – Friday, July 7th 

This week was a short week since Congressmember Karen Bass gave us both Monday and Tuesday off.

Although the week was short it was still a busy week. Thursday was actually the last day for one of the interns who had started before me.

That same day another intern and myself got trained on how to helped constituents with casework when they need help with a federal agency.

You can see the form below:

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I had the opportunity to start helping on a case the day after on Friday.

On Friday I got trained on how to mail merge, which although most already know how to do it. I finally had the opportunity to learn.

More updates to come in 2 weeks

– Maria de Jesus Lopez Zamudio

Monday, July 10th 2017

 

Privilege

My first night in D.C. was astounding. On my way to see where I would be spending the next 10 weeks of my summer, I realized what a great privilege it is to be here. If someone had told me two years ago that I would have the courage to run for leadership, be awarded the Dale Ride Scholarship for D.C., have secured an internship for my Senator’s office, be accepted to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and come out of the closet; I would have laughed in disbelief.

20170505_135452(0) This was my first visit after getting accepted to UC Berkeley. GO BEARS!!!!!!!

Santa Monica College has been more than just a stepping stone. This is the place where I met my closest friends; friends who have become like family. It’s the place where I found a community in which I finally felt I belonged. Every lesson is something I will keep with me, building upon my new-found confidence. A confidence that is distinct from someone who is arrogant. The relationships I built are something I plan to hold on to, each one shaping the person I am today.

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I plan on taking everything Santa Monica College has taught and apply it in my internship. I will make the most of every day, always keeping in mind that this internship comes with immense privilege. To be a gay Latinx student from a low-income background to be interning in D.C., is something I will never take for granted. I will forever be thankful to Santa Monica College, the Dale Ride Family, the SMC Foundation along with all the donors, and the Office of Campus Relations.

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I look forward to keeping everyone updated on the experience as an intern on the Hill. Really looking forward to enjoying this summer and learning as much as possible, taking advantage of every opportunity.

“1st” & 2nd Week Interning at the District Office of: Congressmember Karen Bass

I graduated Santa Monica College on Tuesday June 13th ^.^

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Shout out to Dr. Jeffery for taking a selfie with me

The first week of my internship only consisted of a day

This was because my internship began on Friday June 16th.

So the first week went by really fast…

I am the first intern to stay in L.A for the Dale Ride Internship program. The cool this about this, is that I have the amazing opportunity to be interning at the District Office of Congresswoman Karen Bass (CKB).

This is amazing for two reasons:

  1. It’s KAREN BASS… I think that is self explanatory Rep.KarenBass.jpg
  2. Plus she is MY Congresswoman, since I live in her district 

For my first day, I did not have to arrive until 10:00am.

I though being early would be a good idea, so I arrived at 9:30. Turns out I had to wait until a little past 10:00. Therefore my first day consisted of a good 30 minute wait time. It was cool though because the person in the lobby was another intern so I had the opportunity to speak to someone who had already been working for 3 weeks.

My first day mainly consisted of training. However, what as cool is that I got invited to participate in an event happening that upcoming Saturday.

It was the Congressional Conversation: Westwood where over 300 constituents went out to meet CKB. She was there to listen to the concerns of the constituents as well as explain about a few things happening in Washington, D.C.

Over 300 Westwood constituents attended. It was remarkable to see that so many community members where interested in sharing their concerns. The concerns varied from Immigration, Health Care, VA Help, Foreign Affairs, to so much more.

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Although attending these events are not mandatory, I was so happy to be there.  The event was officially from 10:00am-12:00pm. However as an intern who was helping with the event, I was there from 8:00-1:00pm, in order to help set up and clean up afterwards.

Something nice that this office does, is that for events that CKB hold for the community, the office always provides snacks. Therefore I helped set up the breakfast food, and helped people feel welcomes when individuals started to arrive. A few other interns also helped with the food, while others helped register people in.

Once the event started I was the official “note-taker” for the event. Which if you look closely at the picture below you can see me taking notes on a laptop, in the lower right hand side.

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To be honest, I am an old fashion type of note taker in school. I love sticking to pen and paper, but I quickly learned how to take proper notes on a lap top. I also learned how to type fairly quickly and become accustom to a laptop that was not mine. This was important to do because CKB likes to take 10 questions at a time from constituents before answering all 10 afterwards. She does it in order to get more questions in, which is amazing, because it demonstrates to everyone she genuinely cares what the community has to say.

Here is a quick picture of the interns who volunteered to be there that day, along with CKB… Photo Jun 17, 2 45 21 AM.jpg

For my second week, which was officially Monday, June 19th – Friday, June 23rd…

I worked from 9:00am-5:30pm M-F, this is my schedule for the summer. It was a surprise to the rest of the interns at the District Office, since the most others work is 3 days.

THANK YOU SMC for helping me be a full time intern.

This definitely helped me to get catch up. This is because one intern has been there since I believe March, a few are 3 weeks ahead of me, while some only a week or a few days. All of our start days have been scattered around. I thought I was the last intern, but another individual just started on Friday (June 23rd). It was was fun showing her around, and teaching her things I had only learned a week ago.

Yesterday we also had the opportunity to volunteer at another weekend event:

“Trump’s Assault on Black America- How we resist and fight back”

This was from 10:00am-12:00pm, but this time I was there from 8:30am-1:30pm.

The difference was that this was NOT an official event. What UNOFFICIAL means is that the event was not being payed by tax dollars like the Westwood event was. This meant that there was a lot more freedom to what CKB could say. Overall the energy of this event was a lot more powerful in my opinion, because there was a lot more community organizers present.

This event was put on my which is a resistance organization that activates, educates, and mobilizes. Therefore CKB was not the only speaker, she was joined on the stage by Holly Mitchell and City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

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Their message was to empower everyone, and get people to mobilize. I already felt the need to make a difference, but listening to them speak in person, only made me want to get more involved. 

Sorry I did not take many pictures this week…

– Maria de Jesus Lopez Zamudio

Sunday, June 25th 2017

 

 

 

 

Adapting to D.C and Learning about Whistleblowers’ rights!

Hello, everyone!

My name is Stephany Triska, and I am one of the 2017 Dale Ride interns! I came here to share my experiences in my first week of internship. Hope you like it! 🙂

During this summer I’ll be working with Laura at the National Whistleblower Center, an NGO which has been protecting the rights of individuals to report misconducts without fearing retaliation for almost 30 years. That is an incredible opportunity!

I arrived in D.C. on Wednesday (06.14) and was lucky enough to only start my internship on Monday (06.19). I had four days to get familiar with the area, organize my dorm and get used to the time zone. But I am going to confess that I slept a lot during these days haha. Here are some photos from my first days

On Friday 06.16, I had a meeting with a Brazilian Ambassador at the Embassy of Brazil. We discussed what is like to be in this field, and represent Brazil in an international scale. I also had the chance to check others Embassies, since most of them are located at Massachusetts Ave in D.C.  When would I ever imagine this would have happened? Here I have photos of the Embassy of Brazil, the Islamic Center of Washington D.C. and the Mexican Delegation:

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  • The next day I went to pick up Dane at his work in the Senate, and I had the chance to take this picture of the U.S. Capitol:

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  • On my first day, we received training and started to read more about whistleblowers rights in the U.S. especially focusing on crimes related to Wildlife!
  • The NWC is located in the historic Georgetown, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods I have ever seen! Here is a photo from our office:

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  • Laura and I got lucky, and we only work M-Th (I am sorry Dane, Tamara, and Micca lol) During the week, we met with, Stephen Kohn, who is nationally known as an expert in Whistleblower Law. We will be working and learning from him during our internship 🙂 We also started to research NGOs in Latin America that can partner with the NWC to report corrupt practices in foreign countries. For sure a lot of information for the first week of work!
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    Reading and understanding more about Whistleblowers!
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    The best co-worker ever, our eternal SMC Student Trustee and Future President of the U.S. Laura Zwicker.

     

  • These are all my updates for the week! I will keep all of you posted on everything amazing that is happening around here. This summer will be one of the best times of my life! Thank you for reading this post, and hope you can come back soon to visit the blog and learn more about the Dale Ride experience! ❤

First day of becoming an OXFAMily

Day 3

My first day working at Oxfam, I got up at 7:30 and took a shower. Of course some breakfast …EXCITED

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I walked to work feeling awesome…

Oxfam occupies the entire top floor of the building… it is huge… In Marco’s  ( dale ride intern of 2016) picture, it looked really bad… Come on Marco! You can do better…

In reality Oxfam is speechlessly huge… Yeah, I am from LA, we do stuff in flat houses.. OK?

This is the front desk…

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I really wanted to take lots of pictures but I held back… I don’t want to look unprofessional… So I took a lot of pictures the next day….

JoJo- our front desk nice girl gave us a tour…

Our Lobby

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Free gym access for interns and staff.. also city bikes access..

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This is my desk.. The girl next to me is Chinese, and also an intern ..She has a PHD.. I am a community college student… I feel so lucky! (Dre dre is the best! SMC is the best!!)… People sitting on the other side of my desk belongs to OXFAM Global. We are Oxfam America.

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We have 3 of these corner rooms for meeting and chilling… Two of them are called Mahatma Gandhi Room and Nelson Mandela Room

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Inside Nelson Mandela Room…

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This is our storage room for big meetings.

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This is our dressing room for official meetings&congressional visiting. A room for dry clean clothes… Me sneaking pictures…

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This is our supply room.. lots lots of supplies…

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Our Kitchen.. The best thing: I am sitting next to it….

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We had our Skype orientation with our HR from Boston Headquarter. Lunch is provided…We had our lunch together.. remotely.. Oxfam impressed me for being a well-organized organization.

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After Orientation, I met with my advisor/ Manager/ Boss, she is a Muslim. and she is super cool. She is down to the earth, she is wise and understanding. Trust builds quickly.
Well… This is my first day of work. I really enjoyed it… The task I am taking on is very challenging and interesting…