On behalf of our UPENN Chaperone Mario Miranda.
We arrived in Washington, D.C. on Thursday June 30, and after checking into the Holiday Inn in Georgetown, strolled up Wisconsin Avenue to where the Naval Observatory and Vice-President’s House are located (the VP has two official residences). The compound was closed to the public, but as random luck would have it Vice-President Biden and his motorcade entered the compound just when we walked by the main entrance, allowing us to get a quick photo of the Vice President’s drive-by.
On further thought, in metro Washington, D.C. encounters with politically powerful persons are not instances of random luck—they are frequent. Moreover, to Georgetown University students interactions with political leaders happen at regularly scheduled events. Thus, GU students are at an advantage in having access to internships related to international relations, public policy, government civil service, business or non-profit advocacy, environmental and/or social justice issues. Many prominent persons in these fields often give speeches, lecture and/or teach at GU. ILC scholars should understand this when deciding if Georgetown University is the right college for them.
Established in 1789, GU is the oldest Catholic Jesuit college in the U.S. It regards itself as a medium-sized research college and has four undergraduate schools, perhaps the most notable being the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, which is the oldest and largest foreign service college in the U.S.
On Friday July 1 we met with Mr. Bruce Chamberlain of the Admissions Office who provided us a very thorough overview of GU, including financial aid information. We then attended a general information session followed by a campus tour.
Later that Friday afternoon we visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was an unforgettable and disturbing experience. The HMM features, heart wrenching photographs, film clips, and videotaped testimonials from Holocaust survivors. The desk attendant (after learning I was a teacher) gave me a CD to augment my lesson plans on the Holocaust. In future I plan on using their web-site and other available media for classroom instruction.
We ended our Friday afternoon activities by touring Washington, D.C. in an open-top double-decker bus followed by dinner near M Street and Wisconsin Avenue—Georgetown’s vibrant center.
On Saturday July 2 we took Amtrak into Philadelphia and settled into the Sheraton Hotel near UPenn. The scheduled tour of the campus was (unbeknownst to us) cancelled because of the holiday weekend, so we explored the campus on our own and were delighted to find a pond-garden on campus. Later that evening we met Dr. June Y. Chu, and UPenn student, Margaret Wang, for dinner and had a great meal and conversation. Dr. Chu, who knew nothing of the pond-garden, was very supportive and said she would check up on the ILC scholars when she returned from vacation on July 18.
On Sunday July 3 we toured Philadelphia, our nation’s first capital. The colonial architecture laced in Greco-Roman motifs stretches for blocks in the Old City section where many restaurants, bars, and cafes attract throngs of tourists. At our dinner with Dr. Chu, she mentioned that the restaurant industry has become a major engine of Philadelphia’s economy. I believe that to be the case in major cities along the eastern shore board.
The Fourth of July was a busy day for the ILC scholars as they checked into their dorms and attended a dinner and orientation for all of the UPenn summer students.