The Washington Center – Troy Schneider

Troy Schneider at the US Capitol

My time here at The Washington Center, arranged and funded with the help of UT’s Honors Program, has been incredible so far. I am working at a lobbying firm in Alexandria, Virginia right outside of D.C. At the firm, I am a research assistant. I compile research for whatever project my boss needs me to and then write up briefs and packets to inform my boss of what he needs to know to present it to his clients. Some of the clients my research has been sent to include the Electronic Security Association, which is the largest home and business security trade association in the country, the top weather companies in the country, including the National Weather Service and NOAA, and the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP), which deals with government surplus property issues. It has been awesome knowing that the work I have been doing these past few weeks is actually being received by the top people in these companies for lobbying purposes. I have learned so much from my supervisor and have even been given the chance to go to Capitol Hill (see photo above) to help in the lobbying process of Representatives and Senators as well as to attend congressional hearings. Being in Washington, D.C. this summer has been one of the best experiences of my life.

International Travel – Katie Serba

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In spring 2017 I had the opportunity to take the Design and New Media travel course that included a trip to Zurich, Paris, and London thanks to an Honors Study Abroad scholarship. It is hard to sum up two weeks in Europe, but they were definitely some of the best two weeks of my life. I had so much fun exploring each city, but I also got to learn so much too. I learned about design, art history, and the different cultures. In, Zurich my favorite places were the Museum für Gestaltung and the Alps. The museum really opened up my eyes to how design includes everything from furniture, to clothes, to ads and street signs. This museum was also where I learned the most about graphic design. I learned that graphic design focuses on typography and uses a grid. We also got to create our own posters. However, the Alps were the best way to end our time in Switzerland. The Alps were so incredibly beautiful and peaceful, and we even got to go tubing down them.

Then in Paris, we visited the most amazing museums such as the Louvre and The Centre Pompidou, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and saw it light up at night, took a tour through Montmartre, and even went to the Catacombs. These days were the busiest, but I loved every second of it because they made me realize how much I enjoy contemporary/modern art while giving me the chance to see every part of the city. Before, I didn’t even know who Wassily Kandinsky was, but now I cannot wait to visit other museums to see more of his unique work.

Our last four days were then spent in London. London was really special for me because I could actually see myself living there one day. We visited more modern art and design museums, such as the Tate and Design Museum. Although, my favorite museum was the Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising because it was very hands-on. We were able to see the progression of a brand’s packaging and then sketch out a design of our own. Our adventures continued with a tour of the studios where the Harry Potter movies were filmed. We saw the real props, costumes, creatures, and even the paintings and cardboard models. What was truly exciting though, was that I was able to meet marine scientists from the London Zoological Society. They were collecting samples in the river and provided me with a sheet of information on their research, which is such a great connection to have in the future.

The other part of this trip that made it so great though was the people. All the women were so helpful, especially when I had questions. After this trip, I feel way more confident being abroad than I did before. I now know how to travel using each city’s public transportation and even a few key phrases. Overall, I am so grateful to call these women my friends, for the memories, and for the opportunity from the Honors Program to go on this trip