After a fun and busy Fourth of July weekend, the fourth week of WLP started off with a packed schedule consisting of many informative events and panel discussions. This week, we were confronted with a myriad of topics that concerned us, WLP scholars, personally, professionally, and politically.
The week began with a panel discussion about the pros and cons of attending law school. Here, we met Dave Kumar (Partner at Goldberg, Godles, Wiener & Wright LLP), Madhu Grewal (Policy Counsel, Detention Watch Network), Mona Mehta (Associate at Covington & Burling), and Smeeta Ramarathnam (SEC Commissioner, Luis Aguilar’s Chief of Staff). All of the panelists had a very unique angle in regards to whether or not law school is a smart decision for undergraduates. The panelists shed light onto the current economic and job outlook situation with recent graduates of law school, which law schools are known for possessing a higher success rate, and the diverse job opportunities that can come with having a J.D.
One of the most valuable lessons learned throughout this panel discussion was that most people do not have a clear-cut path when it comes to making the decision of attending law school and their career decisions that follow. Although some people know from the start that law school is their cup of tea, such as Smeeta Ramarathnam, some people do not realize that fact until later on in their lives, such as Dave Kumar who completed a graduate degree in electrical engineering before deciding to attend law school. Although we may all not be sure of whether or not law school is the place for us, getting ourselves thinking early on about the positives and negatives that come with making a decision about graduate school is incredibly important.
On Wednesday, WLP partnered with NetSAP on their Summer Speaker Series. The speakers that were part of this panel possessed expertise with integrating the realm of policy and politics. The speakers present at this panel were Dr. Jennifer Hunt, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Department of Treasury, and Dr. Dan Mitchell from the CATO Institute. The discussion that took place was a thorough dialogue of the present condition of the economy and the processes and steps that should be implemented to speed up the economic recovery. This discussion presented us with a number of very relevant questions to our own lives. What is the best way to speed up the economic recovery? How will the current state of the economy affect college students wishing to pursue graduate degrees? How will the current status of the economy react to recent graduates searching for jobs?
Although our panelists for this discussion were from completely opposite ends of the political spectrum, it was interesting to see how they had a few points in which they agreed with each other and compromised on several of their ideals. The discussion had us thinking that maybe compromise is the best way to end the Congressional gridlock and get our economy on its way to a full-fledged recovery.
The final event of this week took us to the Pentagon where we were toured around the Department of Defense by Lt. Col Ravi Chaudhary and Major Amar Kosaraju. It was an incredible experience seeing and hearing two South Asians with such powerful positions in the American Military. Learning about the history of the building and the stories of both Lt. Col Chaudhary and Major Kosaraju that brought both of them to serving our country was enlightening and eye opening.
WLP has given us all such a great opportunity to meet and hear from many successful South Asians that are in power in D.C. This city has proven to be a great place for people that have big dreams. I cannot wait to see what WLP has in store for us over the course of these next few weeks.
U.S. Agency for International Development
Middle East Bureau