Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Instead of doing “traditional” blog posts this summer, Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their summer routines via photos. Joi Latson spent a week in Washington, D.C. representing Iowa State at NCORE and will soon be back on campus as a change agent (and a c0-leader for Honors 121 section A3):
I got to spend a week in Washington D.C. at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) with a group of amazing people learning about social issues in higher education and how to combat them! This was my first time being on a plane and it was pretty snazzy since I got free ginger ale and peanuts. I only slightly freaked out when we landed, but my fear was masked by an embarrassing fit of giggles.
Our first day we had the entire day to explore D.C. We went to the Smithsonian Museum, which is the coolest place in the world. We only had time to see 3 of the different museums and there are around 19 galleries and museums in total. There was also a ton of construction that blocked the shortcuts so we got a lot of exercise that day walking around. We walked about 10 miles according to my phone!
Every day for lunch we were able to try out one of the many restaurants in D.C. My favorite was probably the Indian buffet (they had so many vegetarian options!). Thai was a close second and since I didn’t get a picture of my Indian food, this one will have to suffice. I had Phat Si Io (Pad See Ew) with tofu and it was amazing!
I was able to eat dinner with the directors of NCORE and our final keynote speaker, Jose Antonio Vargas. He’s journalist, filmmaker, Pulitzer Prize winner, an undocumented worker, and so much more! I’m working with another student to try to bring Jose to ISU to preview his new documentary and speak on the work that he’s done. He’s pretty much the coolest person ever. Also while he was giving the keynote at the conference, he saw me in the audience and waved at me and everyone saw it and thought I was some super cool important person (which I am!).
On the last day after our final keynote speaker, we were taken into this secret room where the President goes before he gives speeches at the Hilton. It felt Secret Service-y. Iowa State was the only group at the entire conference that got to see the room! Also Obama’s helicopter flew over the building while we were in there.
At the end of the week we wanted to make sure we got to see everything in D.C. so we all changed out of our professional business attire as quickly as possible and put on our tourist outfits. A few of my friends and I made use of the Bike Share program and went all over D.C. We rode past the White House and took a break at the Washington Monument.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip! This was right before we decided to cross the Potomac River that separates D.C. from Virginia. We originally planned to just bike around the National Mall and meet up with the others later, but then decided to bike to Virginia! How often are we going to be in D.C., right?
The MLK Memorial is fairly new; it opened in 2011. This was after we biked to the Arlington Cemetery. We decided to walk to every monument that night which took a REALLY long time. We were all really hungry and tired, but it was our last night in D.C. and we wanted to fit in as much as we could. We got lost in the city at midnight, but the town pretty much never sleeps so there were plenty of people keeping us company once we made it back. It was such a memorable night and I got to make so many friends, with a ton of cool people from ISU that I never knew before. We walked 12 miles that night, not included the biking, but we needed to work off all the food we ate that day anyway.
***Bonus Pic*** Here I am, striking a pose in front of the Department of National Treasury. I’m really excited to return to Ames with everything that I’ve learned from NCORE. Also I fell in love with the beautiful capital of the United States. There is so much history and culture here and I encourage everyone to visit at least once (Plan extra time for the Smithsonian).