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Blog Post #2

Since the last time I wrote a blog reflecting on my Duke Engage experience a lot has happened.

It has been almost two weeks since we went to the aquarium as a cohort, but it was one of the coolest places we have visited nonetheless. The building was packed full of people, all gathered to look at the the sharks, manta rays, corals, sloths, poison dart frogs and the three-legged sea turtle named Calypso. Aside from the Aquarium, our cohort has also taken a trip to the National Institutes of Health, where we had a discussion about the ethics involved in genetics research and took a tour of the facilities. What struck me most about the NIH was how it exemplified the vast scope of the American government and the size of the American population as a whole. The research institution houses 200 beds and 21 sub-organizations, including the National Cancer Institute, the National Eye Institute, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Part of the excitement of living in DC is all of the fantastic places there are to visit.

In addition to the places we’ve been, our Duke Engage group had had a number of very interesting discussions started either in reflection or by the speakers we’ve had. I was particularly engaged in this week’s discussions because of how invested I was in what we talked about. Bob Inglas, a former Republican house member from South Carolina spoke with us about how he has been working to convince other Republican congresspeople to take action on Climate Change. His discussion was not only relevant to my interests, but also to my work, as I have spent the past month researching climate policy. The second speaker I was particularly invested in this week was a named Paul Teller, a politician working under the Trump administration at “the nexus of communication with the legislative branch and think tanks.” Mr. Teller and I disagree on a very large number of political topics, but I still respect his excitement to share his opinions and invite us into his workplace. He gave us his business card too, so I plan on emailing him to keep up. Politics is very much in the air throughout the entire city, which is awesome for a poli-sci major.

The other biggest thing that has happened over the past two weeks was how I met with my boss to discuss a large project to work on over the rest of the summer, and eventually landed on doing research about the Green New Deal. I care a lot about the environment and find new leftist policy very interesting, so I’m very excited to work on a project that is relevant to my interests, my job, and that can serve as a good writing sample or research project for future work. Since I got that assignment, however, I have mostly been working on reading up on the Green New Deal, its political prospects, and everyone’s differing opinions about it. Writing on it is still left to come.

I’m constantly amazed at how Professor Williams put together such a cool group of students to do work in such a cool city.