Julie Uram is one of four recipients of the 2019 D.C. Experience Scholarship, which provides financial support for Drake University students interning in Washington, D.C., for the summer. She will provide bi-weekly updates of her time in D.C.
That’s a wrap on June!
The past two weeks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have been full of projects, meetings and learning. I am grateful to be continually assigned meaningful tasks, making me feel like my presence and work here is valued. My recent projects include turning an 8-page summary about sugar-sweetened beverages in the SNAP program into a one-page fact sheet, creating a literature review of studies that tested the impact of various types of sugar-sweetened beverage warning labels, and conducting a qualitative analysis of data collected from interviews with stakeholders about their thoughts on nutrition in SNAP. Not only am I learning new methods of policy research work, such as coding qualitative data, but I am also gaining understandings about lobbying and litigation.
One reason I feel valued in my internship is that I am invited to attend meetings and phone calls both in-office and with partners of CSPI. The past week included a policy staff meeting, an all staff meeting, a lunch lecture about the process of lobbying and a staff barbecue where I was able to sit down with CSPI President Peter Lurie and talk about his family and travels. As I prepare for grad school applications in the fall, I am enjoying discussing graduate program options with fellow interns and colleagues.
In terms of out-of-office learning, last week I attended a Poltico panel event on the role of biosimilars. While there, I learned that biosimilars are successful at making certain medicines more affordable in Europe (there are 20 biosimilar products approved and in use in Europe, while the U.S. has only eight), and there is a growing movement to make biosimilars more accessible in the U.S. At the panel event, I unexpectedly sat next to a fellow Drake student who I shared a First Year Seminar with. I’ve been surprised how often I run into Drake students and alumni here!
In my free time, I have had the chance to visit many Smithsonian museums and local attractions. Visiting The Smithsonian American Indian Museum was particularly interesting for me after taking “American Indian Law and Politics” with Professor Renee Cramer at Drake. Attached is a photo of me at The Smithsonian Natural History Museum next to a very large termite mound (which architectural benefits I studied in “Urban Ecology” with Prof. Bret Lang). The final photo is fellow Drake student Courtney McCuddin and I exploring the Georgetown Waterfront.