It is almost over…

Week 7: Monday, July 24th – Saturday, July 29th

Another week has come and gone and I have never scanned so much in my life. Between another intern and I, we scanned over 5,000 sheets of paper.

I forgot to take before and after pictures, but on left of the picture is the side we did not get to until Wednesday. What you see on the right side is what we worked on Tuesday. We had to work with stacks and label the packets since we had to email them out to D.C.

You would think it is an easy and simple task, but you would be surprised what happens when you have to unstaple packets of work.

It literally took us two two full days of work, and we added about 40 years of life to the poor machine.



The rest of the week consisting preparing for the Faith Leaders Breakfast that was hosted at the USC Radisson Hotel on Saturday.


I had the opportunity to print out the itinerary for the event for our 100+ guests

IMG_43511         IMG_43491.jpg

At the event, a few interns and I were tasked with check in, quick picture of the booth ^.^


After the event, all of us interns had the opportunity to speak with CKB for an hour.

Although I do not have pictures from that meeting, I would like to share my thank you card that I wrote for her.

Anyone who knows me knows I love writing hand written letter. She appeared to be thrown off guard because she was definitely not expecting it. However, she genuinely seemed to appreciate it.


Quick Note: This week I also created several more certificates of recognition and completed a closing letter. I also had to opportunity for a 3rd time to use my bilingual skills and help a constituent in Spanish.

Ohhhh and I tried Soba for my First Time ^.^



Maria de Jesus Lopez Zamudio

Monday, July 31st 2017




NYC & Public Service Weekend

Hello everyone! 🙂

It has been a while since I don’t post anything here, so I decided to update all of you in all the cool things that have been happening during my Dale Ride experience.

  • On June 14th, I had the chance to go on a trip to NYC to explore the city and most important of all – visit the United Nations Headquarters. If you know me well enough, you know that as an International Relations and Human Rights passionate, I dream big of one day representing Brazil at the U.N as well as working at an international level to fight for human rights policies! I loved the experience of finally getting to visit the place I hope to work one day!
    I remember seeing the photo of the U.N Headquarters as a photo of my Poli Sci 7 Textbook, I loved to get to experience this in person! By the way, this photo will worth a good money in the future lol


  • Also, I would like to mention that growing up I have always wanted to live in N.Y one day because I feel you can never get bored over there hahah. A lot of people ask  why I did not choose to go to school in the Big Apple, and I always answer that there will be the right time to live in this big city. Meanwhile, I tried to explore the most that I could! Here are some photos from N.Y:
    This place is so beautiful that it is impossible not to smile when you are there!

    The skyline is awesome! I loved taking this photo.
  • Coming back from NYC, I could not feel more grateful to be back in D.C. and feel that I was arriving home. After getting out of the bus, I noticed how different the architecture is from one city to another. Just a photo to prove it:

    Photo by Edgar Morales.
  • On the following weekend, I had the chance to attend the Public Service Weekend hosted by the Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College. I decided to apply for this conference to network with young professionals that are also passionate about public service, as well as hearing from their guest speakers and learning more about Graduate School. The theme of the weekend was: “Technology and Societal Change – What Leaders of Tomorrow Need to Know Today.”
  • I learned so much from this experience! We had guest speakers who work at the White House, the Chamber of Commerce, Amazon, USAID and much more! Besides hearing these amazing people talking about creating real change and the impact of public policy on people’s lives, we had to work in teams to discuss the impact of technology in our future communities and how we can use public policy to shape this impacts positively!
    Here is our team working on our project! We had to create a one minute video to represent the growth of Smart Classrooms and how it impacted our community.

    That is us presenting our video! (Look at me on the screen too!) From Left to right: Yalun Feng, Iqra Nasir, Seneca Williams, Miguel Patino and Jessica Lapitan.
  • The best part of this Public Service weekend is that I had the chance to meet these diverse students that will be absolutely be great leaders for our tomorrow!


Thank you for reading this post! I’ll be soon posting more about my last few days in D.C.

With love,

Stephany Triska.

The Adventure Continues

by Laura Zwicker

One of the greatest pleasures and privileges of being a visitor in Washington, DC is taking advantage of all the wonderful sightseeing opportunities available here — all for free!

There are publicly available docent led tours of all major governmental buildings as well as an impressive museum collection. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Supreme Court of the United States, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, as well as a behind the scenes look at Capitol Hill led by my good friend Dane Cruz who is interning with Senator Dianne Feinstein this summer.

See below for pictures of my adventures!

tGEMc9-20170714_113340Capitol Hill

tGEMc13-20170714_130934The Inaugural Steps

tGEMc12-20170714_130420Center of Capitol Hill (in “the crypt”)

tGEMc14-20170714_132247Paul Ryan’s Offices (the closest security would let me get!)

tGEMc2-20170712_142207Senate Offices (upstairs)

tGEMc10-20170714_122418Senate Underground Tunnels

tGEMc11-20170714_122643Underground Trolley

tGEMc8-20170714_112945Supreme Court of the United States




tGEMc6-20170714_100424Future Seat of Chief Justice Zwicker???

tGEMc19-20170714_161706Library of Congress



tGEMc18-20170714_151511Main Reading Room

tGEMc15-20170714_144607Gutenberg Bible

aiI5K1-20170714_150137Astronomy Art in the Science Wing



aiI5K2-20170714_145553Wisdom from the Library of Congress…

yj1bo1-20170721_125502Smithsonian Air & Space Museum















yj1bo32-20170721_172100Cockpit of Boeing 747

yj1bo31-20170721_171455Space Shuttle Spacelab



yj1bo13-20170721_135628Space Toilet!




yj1bo27-20170721_152616Mars Rovers




yj1bo8-20170721_131939Touch Model of the Big Bang


yj1bo33-20170721_175609U.S.S. Enterprise!

yj1bo19-20170721_140935“Failure Is Not An Option”

yj1bo3-20170721_125619Sally Ride!

This last exhibit was a real treat! Sally Ride is the first American woman to ever go into space (as well as the youngest American astronaut ever to go into space), and she is also the daughter of Dale Ride, former political science professor at Santa Monica College and the reason I am here in DC right now!

These tours and experiences gave me great insight into the different opportunities that are available to me going forward in life, but each path is exciting and enticing in their owns ways. I want to do it all!




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:


(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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.

smc 2

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.








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.’” (





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.




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.


Conversation with Vice President Mike Pence, it was fun!



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!


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…


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.


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!


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 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)!!


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.


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!



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.


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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 7.29.16 p.m..png

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



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.

fullsizeoutput_7Rainbow cross walk on U street celebrating pride week

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.

20170708_231654Night stroll along the Potomac River overlooking the Thomas Jefferson Memorial 

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.