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.
Wrapping up week six of interning at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) feels crazy because there is so much more I want to do here in my last three weeks! Our Healthy SNAP Iowa project (a partnership between CSPI and The Harkin Institute) is in full force, which means I have been sending convening invitations, scheduling interviews, and preparing background materials to update our participants on food assistance and nutrition education in Iowa before we gather their thoughts and ideas about the SNAP program. The time sensitivity of preparing to host three convening meetings in Iowa is challenging at times, but I am very grateful to get to continue working on this project when I return to The Harkin Institute in the fall. In addition to Iowa, convenings were held in Massachusetts and in the past two weeks I analyzed the qualitative data and quantified the responses – a method I am now excited to utilize in the future. Another project I assist with is the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Coalition, which is thrilling because I have an inside view to watch a grassroots policy campaign grow.
With each weekly brown-bag lunch lecture, I gain respect and awe for all that CSPI does. Last week I sat down with the other interns to learn from the director of the project on biotechnology, where we discussed the many common misunderstandings about genetic engineering and the complex process of federal regulation of biotech. I have also been able to supplement my education with trips to local museums, two of my recent favorites being the Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum and the Newseum.
Living in D.C. for the summer is a dream that has helped me better understand my options for a career in food policy, the dedication that government employment involves, and what a unique country we live in. I was able to attend the Capitol Fourth Concert on the Fourth of July, and Independence Day reminded me how much there is to be grateful for here. One right of U.S. citizenship that I often take for granted is Freedom of Speech, which the Newseum brought to the forefront as something that we should all appreciate.