Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2018 summer routines via photos. Ellie Conrad (senior in Global Resource Systems, Agrigulture & Society, and Spanish) is enjoying a summer of policy nerdery, museums, and dance in the nation’s capital:
My name’s Ellie Conrad and I’m an upcoming senior in Global Resource Systems, Agriculture & Society, and Spanish! I’m really interested in policy and legal research, especially on a global scale.
This summer, I’m interning at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. I moved out here shortly after getting back from study abroad and pretty much hit the ground running: my first day at work was exactly a month and two days after returning to the US!
D.C. is a big change from Cuenca: it’s double the population size and much faster-paced. Fortunately, I still get to practice Spanish every now and then!
I work in the International Regulations and Standards Division of the Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs within the Foreign Agricultural Service – which is the kind of mouthful title you hear a lot here in D.C.! Our office is pretty specialized and focuses on addressing trade barriers created through agricultural policies.
My roommate and I share an apartment in Crystal City, which is about twenty minutes from our work at the USDA South Building. The metro makes getting to and from work a breeze; after my physical therapy routine and breakfast, we grab (free!) coffee in the lobby and walk a block to the metro. The stop we get off at is actually beneath our office building, too.
Once I get to my office, the predictability ends. On any given day, I could be tasked with something as silly as picking up doughnuts for a coworker’s birthday or as high-pressure as drafting a paper for senior staff members. My biggest projects recently have all been focused on policy research. I’ve been working with embassies in Latin America and Asia to compile information on export certificates their governments require and working with some of the senior staff in our office to prepare legal text in support of the US position in international negotiations.
That is even more of a mouthful than my title, but the main objective of all of my projects is the same: to help make international agricultural trade easier for US exporters.
On Mondays, I take the metro out to Friendship Heights to take a ballet class. The rest of the week, I either visit a museum after work or head straight home.
Being D.C., there are about a million things to do at any given moment. My work is one block away from the National Mall, which means I’m about a five-minute walk from most of the Smithsonian museums. I’m a huge museum nerd, so anything with ‘Smithsonian’ in the name is a happy place for me.
Degas is one of my very favorite artists; the National Museum of African American History and Culture is absolutely incredible.
Once I’m back to the apartment, it’s dinner time! I really enjoy cooking and almost never eat out, so it’s been a lot of fun to play around with different dishes this summer. D.C. is full of farmers markets, which means there’s always some place to get fresh fruits and veggies.
Apples at the longest running farmers market in the U.S. George Washington used to send his produce here!
My night usually winds down with an episode of Queer Eye on Netflix and a short trip to the gym in our apartment building. After that, it’s time to clean up for bed; my alarm goes off at 6:00 AM every morning, so I try not to stay up too late at night.
D.C. has definitely been a big change from my past experiences, but it’s been an amazing chance to learn a lot and figure out what I want to do after graduation. I can’t wait to see how much more I learn in the remaining two weeks!