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It makes me really sad that I’m already half-way done with my internship at NHGRI and my time here in DC. I feel as though I have learned more than I thought possible and have met people that are doing really interesting and important work. One experience that I think really confirmed my feelings that I am in the right place happened last week.

My boss told me I could go to the Hill to sit in on the House Subcommittee of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Markup of the Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Bill. For some people, the idea of having to listen to representatives talk for hours sounds boring and long. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to be where everything happens and see the Congressmen and women in action. When I got there, I was one of the last people to be let in, and I got a seat on the very edge of the room where I could barely see anything. To be completely honest, I had not done a ton of research before going about what the bill contained or which Congress people were on this subcommittee. As soon as the Congress people walked in, the room became fairly quiet and they got right to business. I was so excited to see Rep. DeLauro, a Congresswomen I watch videos of all of the time for her fearless support of women’s rights. The markup only lasted about an hour, but I loved listening to each representative’s thoughts on the bill and what they look forward to improving on.

I feel very fortunate that I have had the ability to attend events on the Hill on top of my day-to-day internship because it has given me a more comprehensive understanding of policy making. It has also been really cool applying what I learned in my classes at Duke, specifically in Professor Carnes’s 301 class, about how policy is made and important considerations for all actors in policy. As a Public Policy major and a general lover of politics and government, it has been a dream come true being in DC and being able to witness policy making in the process.