Even though I have only been in DC for a little over a week, it has been invaluable to be here with DukeEngage. Having a support system of supervisors and other Duke students has made the transition to a new city and a new job a lot easier and more manageable. Our program is also a little bit different in the sense that we are mostly all working at completely different organizations. This has made our group dinners and conversations more interesting because we get to learn about what so many different nonprofits, think tanks, and government organizations are working on.
On my first day, it was a pleasant surprise to realize that in our small branch of only around six people, three of them had a connection to Duke. It showed me how important the Duke network is and how lucky I am to go to a school with alumni all around the world.
I am interning at the National Human Genome Research Institute in the Policy and Program Analysis Branch. I was extremely excited when I found out that this was where I was going to be working because gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR and genetic testing are topics that I have been interested in since high school. On my first day, it was a pleasant surprise to realize that in our small branch of only around six people, three of them had a connection to Duke. It showed me how important the Duke network is and how lucky I am to go to a school with alumni all around the world.
I really enjoyed my first week of work, which was filled with meetings and a lot of reading. It is easy to say that I have already learned more than I could have imagined about the major conversations going on related to genomic policy just in my first week. I have been lucky to have a supervisor and co-workers who are incredibly warm, helpful, and knowledgeable about the issues. It has been really interesting talking with all of them and learning about their backgrounds and why they are so passionate about the work that they are doing.
As a Public Policy major who is also on the pre-medical track, this experience has also already shown me how necessary a background and understanding of science is when working on science policy. Whenever I tell people what I am studying at Duke, they always question what I plan on doing with two fields that are completely unrelated. I have never completely known how to answer that question, but I am glad that I can now actually experience the intersection of my two interests and confidently answer those questions in the future.