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Blog Post #1

Since before classes ended at Duke I had been waiting on an assignment for where I would be working at Duke Engage this summer. At Duke Engage in DC, instead of all working on a project together, everyone gets their own separate internship and only convenes after work in the dorms for activities. Before school ended I knew people who had already gotten their assignments, which meant that as the days went on, I got more and more stressed. I didn’t end up receiving my assignment until two weeks before the program was supposed to start, and even then my boss wanted to have an informal phone interview with me. Traveling and him being busy complicated that process, so that we would only be able to speak a few days before the program started.

I showed up to GABI’s offices on the Thursday that we arrived in town, dressed in my suit and fitted with a black tie that my roommate had loaned me. GABI, the organization that sent me an offer, is a tiny energy think tank, with just a handful of employees and interns, but that is also relatively established in the field of energy. My boss asked me some questions and said he would get back to me before the week started.

Luckily, I heard back and started work at my internship the next Monday. Since then, my boss has given me a lot of readings so that I can quickly catch up on the massive knowledge background required to understand how policy works in this field, and has also been sending me to events around DC to take notes and write reports. Over the past two weeks I’ve been to 6 events and written 6 reports, ranging on topics from a discussion of the feasibility of a carbon tax to combat global climate change, to the state of denuclearization in North Korea. I have learned more about energy than I ever thought I would, and asked a lot of questions of people who are undoubtedly at the tops of their fields. The accessibility of smart people in DC has almost made me wish I went to school here, but also really appreciative of the time I get to spend in such an intellectual and influential environment.

After two weeks, though, just running around taking notes has started to become monotonous, and I find myself itching to start work on a bigger project that might last me the summer and that I can be proud to have worked on. I talked to my boss about the prospect of a project like this, and he was very enthusiastic and offered his network of experts. I am very appreciative, and when I do eventually decide on what kind of project to work on, will definitely take him up on that offer.