Monday, March 16, 2009

DC Moments

My first class in college was Intro to American Politics with Karen O'Connor (Founder of the Women & Politics Institute.) One of the things I remember best from that class was her telling us to enjoy all the "DC moments" we'd have over the next four years of our lives. She was (as usual) totally right.

My first big moment came fall of my freshman year when I was at the Library of Congress researching a paper for Karen's class. My classmate and I were in the law library looking at former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun's papers. A man came over and mentioned he was also looking at the papers; what case were we reviewing? We told him and he laughed, saying that was one of the cases he had worked on. It turns out he had been a law clerk for Justice Blackmun during the 1970s! Talk about great original research.

Through volunteering and then working at the Institute I've had several other moments like this. I was at the DC premier of Commander-in-Chief (through which I got to sit next to Helen Thomas). I attended the EMILY's List election celebration lunch, where Hillary Clinton was a keynote speaker. I found myself in a congresswoman's home during a WISH List fundraiser. (I also happened to get an internship out of that event.) And then of course there's always the fact that walking to school/work frequently takes me past a motorcade with the vice president.

By far however, my biggest "DC day" came last Wednesday. I walked into work and started looking though the invitations Karen had received (one of the perks of being her assistant - getting to see all the cool events around the city!) One happened to be from the White House. She was on the list to attend the bill signing for the foundation of the White House Council on Women and Girls. As if seeing the event your boss is attending on CNN isn't cool enough, I was on the list to attend another event with Karen at the State Department that afternoon.

This entire entry has been basically written for one purpose - to get to share that I met Michelle Obama! The State Dept. event was an award ceremony for women of courage. I happened to be standing by the door where Hillary Clinton and the first lady came in. Because of this, I got to shake her hand and snap a picture of her talking to Karen. It was incredibly cool and truly one of those things you only get to do in DC - with the help of working for WPI. For your enjoyment, here's a shot of Karen talking with Ms. Obama - forgive the blurriness, it was on my phone and I was excited!