By Karen Castro, ’16
Instead of choosing to go to Costa Rica or somewhere where it felt like spring during Spring Break, I decided to take a part in the Washington, D.C. Immersion Experience sponsored by the Greenberg House, Career Services, and the Office of Alumni Relations. Despite the lack of warm weather, I would go through the D.C. Experience Immersion all over again if I had the chance to do so!
I had an amazing trip in which I met successful, powerful, and humble SU alumni. All alumni I met were very kind and willing to help us undergraduates find our personal and career paths.
Perhaps because it was my first time in Washington, D.C., or because it was hard not to be impressed by the strong Syracuse presence (16,000+ alumni!) in town, but Washington, D.C. won my heart. I came back to ’Cuse inspired and confident in the majors I am currently pursuing.
Overview of our intense, fun, and worthy spring break trip:
We got to D.C. on a Sunday afternoon. After a casual pizza dinner at the SU Greenberg house, and an introduction to Mary Anagnost, the director of programs at the Greenberg House, all of the students hopped on a trolley and had a private tour of famous monuments in D.C. The sky bled a soft pink-orange behind the Washington monument as we circled around town.
Monday morning was the first time we all had “the art of breakfast” at the Omni Shoreham Hotel–what a beauty. As someone who does not get up early for breakfast, I woke up early every day during Spring Break to indulge in a delicious breakfast before our day would start! Our week consisted of interacting with SU alumni that provided insight of their academic and professional career, and a good balance of exploration in the city.
To say I was impressed by the alumni I met during this Immersion Experience would be an understatement. I became inspired, challenged, and motivated by all the SU alumni. From the Washington Post, to Under Armour, to the Office of Budget and Management, to even Google, the presence of Syracuse University alumni is evident in Washington, D.C.
If I had to pick my top favorite events I would pick the following:
1. Dinner with an alumnus: Mary and David Bartell, director of development, had the brilliant idea of having the 20 students be taken out to dinner in smaller groups by members of the D.C. Regional Council. Two other students and I met up with Anthony Noble at Circa, a trendy American-style restaurant in Dupont Circle on Wednesday night. Although I was initially wary about this dinner, because I was afraid of an awkward, silent experience, it ended up being one of the most memorable moments of my trip. Besides the delicious dinner we were all treated to, we all got to know Anthony in a more intimate setting, and I was able to gain insight about his academic and professional endeavors, particularly because I am interested in going to law school, and Anthony also has a law degree.
2. Google! Not only are Megan Stull and Travis Mason energetic, wise, and brilliant, but we all got a personal tour of the Google office in Washington. I learned that getting a job with Google is harder than getting into Harvard, and that Google employees cannot be more than 40 feet away from food at all times. Usually when I think of Google I think of technology and the internet, but Megan and Travis, who both work on the policy department of Google, opened my mind to the broad employment opportunities available at Google. The visit to Google was one of my favorites, because I walked away with a different perspective on how technology and policy interact with each other in our globalized world. Plus, parts of the Google office looked like a playground!
3. Maybe because I appreciate architecture and art, the tour of Capitol Hill was beautiful. The Immersion Experience marked my first time in our nation’s capital, so I was especially in awe of all the white buildings that resemble Greek and Roman architecture. I could have spent hours staring at the Apotheosis of Washington in the rotunda of the Capitol building. The D.C. Immersion Experience is relevant and worthy in continuing to be offered to sophomore students. Through such an experience, I have become conscientious of the power of networking and the influence of SU alumni in Washington. More importantly, I have come in contact with the supporting network of alumni – one that is willing to share their experiences, wisdom and knowledge.
I would like to thank the Office of Alumni Relations, the Paul Greenberg House in Washington, D.C., and Syracuse University Career Services for providing me with the opportunity to take part of the immersion experience. I would particularly like to thank Mary Anagnost and Tracy Tillapaugh for the hard work they put into making the Immersion Experience thriving, knowledgeable, and fun for all the 20 students that were selected to attend. I hope that in the future students are offered the opportunity to gain networking skills and become inspired through the Washington, D.C. Immersion Experience.