This summer was a unique experience like no other. From June to August I interned in Washington D.C. at both a Florida-focused nonprofit and a hedge fund.
Despite my manager feeding me Chipotle every day for two solid months, DC life was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I got to meet various members of the Lone Conservative team and attended amazing events like YAF Buckley Breakfasts, DC Young Republicans Summer Soiree, and Rand Paul speaking events. I also was invited to visit fellow Florida Gator and Young Republican Congresswoman Kat Cammack and her team at the House Office buildings. In DC there is never a shortage of events to attend, people to meet, and connections to make.
Of course, as a man of God, I couldn’t let my newfound lifestyle get in the way of honoring the big guy upstairs. To my surprise, I had the pleasure of attending one of the best Masses I have ever been a part of. Churches like St. Matthew’s Cathedral, St. Joseph’s Church on Capitol Hill, and the Basilica are some of the most iconic churches in DC and the country. St. Joseph’s was easily my favorite with how engaging its mass was. I encourage all Catholics to attend at least one mass there.
I interned at a DC-based hedge fund for half of my internship. I researched macroeconomic indicators such as inflation, growth, unemployment, and financial conditions. I then coordinated data collection efforts for research projects on the economy and presented reports to the portfolio manager on various stocks in the retail industry for potential investment by the firm.
The other half of my internship I take far more pride in. This summer I helped organize a nonprofit educational debate initiative, Incubate Debate.
For two months I was put in charge of organizing the third annual Summer Debate Institute, which took place at the University of Florida. The program focuses on connecting with students from all across Florida’s underserved communities and enhancing their public speaking skills, debate skills, and all the universal skills that come with it.
Through my experience with the Summer Debate Institute, I learned valuable event coordination skills by negotiating with restaurants to donate meals for our students, working with the University of Florida to send admissions officers to encourage higher education, and making sure everything ran smoothly behind the scenes. I worked with the Florida delegation in D.C. to make videos for our students congratulating them for their hard work, and I contacted policy experts at the Brookings Institute and AEI to come and speak to our students.
Working with high school students from my home state has been a truly inspiring experience. Despite being high school students, they had beyond collegiate level conversations, showcasing skills like critical thinking, adaptability, and team-building skills. These students are the future generation of leaders, and I was impressed by how much they grew with each conflict they faced in their debates.
These students were diverse in every sense of the word. Black and white. Affluent and low income. Urban and rural. All these students came together one week to grow off of each other. We encouraged all of our students to come closer to a political center, and understand where the other side is coming from. The skills they learned are necessary not only for debate but for life.
This internship was one of the most productive and inspiring experiences I’ve had. I look forward to not only interning in DC again in future summers but also continuing my work with Incubate Debate. As the Incubate Debate motto goes, we all should learn, lead, and inspire.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.