Beyond BYU

Following my visit to New Haven, I headed south for the Beyond BYU Conference in D.C. Luckily, saying goodbye to S wasn’t too hard because we’ll see each other again in a few weeks for the wedding! She dropped me off at JFK, and it was a quick flight to DCA.  

That night I met with other BYU students and recent grads at the Senate Office Building to hear an address by Utah Representative Chris Stewart. Afterward we had break-out sessions - a bunch of successful alumni working in D.C. were invited to come network with us and figure out how to break into our desired fields. I really liked talking to a public health guy from USAID. There were Foreign Service Officers, lobbyists, people working on the Hill, etc. It was cool. I ran into a couple of people I knew, but not many!

On Friday we were divided into groups and made on-site visits. BYU has a whole building to themselves called the Barlow Center, so we started met there and then went to visit two lobbyists - one for the state of Nevada and the other for Arizona. From there we headed to the Rayburn House Office Building to hear from Buck McKeon, a representative from California. I really loved hearing what he had to say - and the bipartisan politics that he has been able to practice by getting 100% support - Republicans and Democrats - for a bill on defense. So refreshing! Our last stop was to visit the Nuclear Energy Institute, and it was probably my favorite. The woman we talked to is a BYU/Georgetown grad, and she said that having been a river guide really set her apart when she has applied for different internships and jobs - it made her rememberable! Other groups got to go to the World Bank, I would have loved to go there!

After our visits, my group and I decided to do a bit of D.C. sight-seeing. I LOVED the Lincoln Memorial. That Gettysburg address! So timeless, so true. E had to take the commuter train from her internship in D.C. to Virginia, so we didn’t have a lot of time to chill but I got to see her for a few minutes at the train station! With the rest of my time, I visited the one gallery that is open past 5 pm, the American Portraiture Gallery at the Smithsonian. One of my favorite paintings was of the Colorado, it reminded me of the river. Cataract Canyon = one of the most beautiful places on earth.

I ended up staying with my friend M from Students for International Development while I was in D.C., and I think the best networking I did was at her apartment. She lives with really cool women who have awesome careers. While the Beyond BYU Conference was neat, I am not so interested in politics but in policy and research, so it was more helpful to talk to Maddy, whose institution is behind the Electrify Africa bill, and her roommates, who work at various organizations doing research and marketing. 

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