Last week marked my first work-related visit to “The Hill” (which I have learned is the appropriate way to refer to Capitol Hill and the United States Congress if you don’t want to look like an out-of-towner), and it was amazing! Jesse O’Connell, NASFAA policy analyst, was nice enough to allow me to tag along for June’s NASFAA Advocacy Pipeline, and I can’t begin to express what a great experience this was. We began the day in the NASFAA office with NASFAA Board Member Kay Soltis where we reviewed our schedule and discussed how current student aid issues were affecting her students. Hearing Kay talk about her students and school was very powerful and I was very excited to see her share these experiences during our meetings on The Hill. Then I got an equally exciting treat: The NASFAA Committee on Ethical Standards was in the office for a meeting so I was also able to meet and chat with National Chair-Elect, Craig Munier. It was great to see how financial aid professionals are helping to make an impact within the NASFAA office.
After lunch we were off to The Hill! While Jesse and Kay attended a meeting with a staffer from Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-WA) office, Megan McClean, NASFAA's director of policy and federal relations, and I met with a staffer from Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) office. Having never sat in on a meeting such as this before, I truthfully wasn’t sure what to expect. Getting to hear Megan discuss all of the current issues NASFAA is involved in with Sen. Boxer’s staffer was fascinating. The staffer also indicated he still had his 2012 NASFAA National Profile on his desk and actually referenced it the day before! I took his card and promised to send him our new 2013 version when it arrives at our office. At our next meeting with a staffer from Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) office I was able to hear Kay speak. Kay’s ability to articulate her campus’ and students’ needs and how they were suffering as a result of funding cuts and the sequestration was also powerful. She even brought handouts that included local student profiles and showed their need/aid from freshman year and how it had changed over subsequent years.
Despite the busy week we had in the office, I still filled my agenda over the weekend by exploring DC. As you can see from the pictures in my Facebook album, I visited Eastern Market, the Library of Congress, US Botanical Gardens, National Museum of the American Indian, Hirshhorn Museum, Sculpture Garden, and Ford’s Theater. However, on Sunday when walking back from grocery shopping the MOST exciting thing all week happened: I was stopped by a couple who asked me for directions to the Lincoln Memorial! I (very excitedly) gave them detailed directions. I’m sure they thought they were bothering me but little did they know how happy I was: This means I looked like a local and not a tourist/intern! I finished my walk smiling from ear to ear (Let’s just hope I gave them the correct directions)!
Publication Date: 6/26/2013