© The Washington Leadership Program 2017 by Shaunak Turaga

A Look Back at WLP 2019: Goodbye...For Now!

August 18, 2019

Somehow, the final week of our WLP summer has come and gone. I won’t lie, part of me still feels like there’s an event somewhere I’ve just forgotten about. Just because it was our last week doesn’t mean we were let off the hook! We had three events this week; Dessert with Sam Arora and Aruna Miller, a roundtable with Vanita Gupta, and a farewell dinner.

 

Sam Arora and Aruna Miller both formerly served in the Maryland House of Delegates - and took the time to talk to us about their journeys - as well as the highs and lows they encountered along the way. You can ask any of us WLP gals, but Sam’s adorable kids and Jaime’s wonderful desserts absolutely stole the show. How many interns can honestly say they’ve had down-to-earth friendly discussions with former state delegates after work? Over delicious brownies and lemon bars too?

 

During one of my past DC stints, I had the honor of interning with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. It was the first time I’d been with an organization with one, let alone two, South Asian women among its executive leadership. This night, Vanita shared her experiences in advancing civil rights both within and without an administration, referencing her past and current roles with the ACLU, Department of Justice, and the Leadership Conference.

 

What would a WLP summer be without a Thai farewell dinner? After debriefing on our experiences, we shared everything from what our next few weeks look like to what our predictions for each other are. Apparently I’ll be holding elected office in Ohio, while some of my peers move in and out of Central America or model on the side. 

 

My favorite event was our lunch with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Throughout the summer, I had the chance to engage with issues relating to broadband access and vehicle safety, both of which are currently being tackled by the FCC in tandem with the DOT and private companies. 

 

I often feel like an old-timer in DC - been there, done that during past semesters I’ve spent out here. I’ve been fortunate enough to pursue multiple internships in the area - but this summer was my favorite. There’s a sort of unmistakable and unique comfort in the tight-knit settings most of our events took place in - just us and some of the nation’s most prominent South Asian public servants, exchanging podcast recommendations and ambitions alike. So. Many. Podcasts. 

 

There’s also something to be said about how well this year’s cohort got along. That’s why I’ll insist that “goodbye” doesn’t apply to us, because we will remain a part of each others’ lives. 
 

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