Considering how much we've accomplished already, it's unbelievable to think that the WLP 2017 scholars have only been in D.C. for a week! Our first week in the capital began with a two-day orientation, during which we got to meet one another, familiarize ourselves with the city, and hear from several South Asian speakers about how best to take advantage of our time in DC as interns. Our orientation speakers discussed topics such as productivity, building and maintaining strong relationships, crafting our story, and the importance of mentorship. We also got the opportunity to ask a panel of 6 legislative staffers questions about how to maximize the D.C. intern experience.
On the evening of our first day of orientation, we split into two teams and went on a scavenger hunt of D.C., racing to take pictures at many notable D.C. locations and memorials. We then went to a WLP alum's rooftop apartment for dinner, where we got the opportunity to meet with several alumni and friends of the program while enjoying a sunset view of the D.C. skyline. On the second day of orientation, we chose and planned out in detail our WLP leadership project proposal, which we will carry out over the course of our 8 weeks in D.C., with the ultimate goal of inspiring future South Asian students to become leaders in public service.
Every week, the WLP scholars attend evening meetings with South Asian leaders in public service in order to better understand the career options available to us as we begin to map out our own paths. During Week 1, we met with three incredible, accomplished individuals who are doing important work to benefit the South Asian community, as well as the nation at-large. On Tuesday evening, we heard from Lakshmi Sridaran of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and Brian Kaissi of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), who discussed their experiences with organizing and advocacy for the South Asian community. We left the discussion with many useful tactics that we could implement in our own communities to empower marginalized groups of people. On Wednesday evening, we heard from Sunil Mansukhani, a lawyer who worked on education policy initiatives at the DOJ and the Department of Education, and who is now an education policy consultant at the Raben Group. Mr. Mansukhani gave us valuable advice about how to stand out in our respective fields, and he answered our many questions on the current state of U.S. education policy. I was incredibly impressed and inspired by both of our meetings this week, as they demonstrated the widespread and tangible impact that South Asian public servants are having on their local and national communities; I think I speak for the rest of the WLP 2017 scholars when I say that this is the impact we hope to have one day as well.
But Week 1 didn't consist solely of work and meetings! We found time to hang out with one another apart from the scheduled events as well. On Wednesday night, a group of the 2017 scholars grabbed dinner together at District Taco after our meeting, on Thursday evening, we attended the annual Congressional Baseball Game together in Nationals Park, and we spent Saturday night at Namrata, Priya, and Riya's AU apartment. Reflecting on all of the amazing relationships I have formed and the opportunities I have experienced in just one week, I could not be more grateful to be part of such an incredible program or more excited to see what the rest of the summer holds.
Department of Labor