America: Remembrance. Freedom. Baseball.
At The American University, Washington College of Law, I am assisting a professor with research for her course as well as analyzing evaluations regarding externship opportunities for students. But on weekends and evenings I am able to explore and enjoy the city life!
Remembrance. D.C. is filled with countless monuments and memorials, both lamenting and celebrating great accomplishments and sacrifices made for this great nation. One of the many touching memorials is that of the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial (1st photo), which is located just outside of D.C., at the Pentagon, in Arlington, VA. This memorial consists of 184 benches elevated above small reflecting pools of water, remembering those who died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The Newseum (located near the National Mall and the Capitol building), in addition to holding the history of the media as it evolved over generations, pays tribute to the events of 9/11 with a touching memorial consisting of the antenna of one of the World Trade Center towers, notes celebrating lives lost, a moving film recounting the events, and a wall of front page newspapers (2nd photo). Jen and I (3rd photo) were able to explore the Newseum as well as the National Gallery of Art, viewing inspiring works of contemporary and modern paintings, photographs, and sculptures.
Freedom. What better way to celebrate our freedom and America’s birthday, than to be in the capital of our great nation on the 4th of July! For July 4th Jen and I were fortunate to receive an invite to see the fireworks at the National Mall on the rooftop of Arnold and Porter, LLP, a large law firm in the D.C. area. To have such a great view of rooftop fireworks in D.C. is extremely rare (4th photo). But Jen and I were able to enjoy great company and delicious food while listening to the concert taking place on the Mall and watching the live fireworks (with the Washington monument in the background)!!
Baseball. America’s favorite pastime. I must confess that in a span of one week I attended 5 Washington Nationals games, and I loved every moment of them! At each game I was fortunate to sit in different seats: The third level behind the first base line, Left field, third base line foul zone, and excellent seats nearly right behind home (10th Photo) in the Diamond Club! Jen and I took advantage of some post-game opportunities by attending the Independence Day Fireworks Show (8th photo) and a free Thompson Square concert (9th photo) after the ballgames concluded. Pictures 5 and 6 are of Jen and I watching the fireworks and a day game. After the 7th inning stretch my hall mates and I (7th photo) were able to take a picture with “Screech”, the Nat’s mascot! Can’t wait to see another game!
Hey! So lots of time has passed since I last updated this. I apologize for the lack of updates, but things have been going way too fast, and I can’t believe I only have four days left at Washington College of Law, and in Washington, D.C. This summer has gone by way too fast. I have made so many interesting new friends, and met interesting people, and I will miss this when I’m gone. I have learned so much about myself after spending eight weeks in a new city. I certainly hope to come back to Washington, D.C. as soon as possible. I am so grateful for this new opportunity and for all that I have learned since being here.
I’ll pick up with where I last left off. It was great getting to experience the Fourth of July in the Nation’s Capitol. Peter Gormanly, who teaches the Focus Approach LSAT prep course, and his wife Vicky invited us to celebrate Independence Day with their family at a rooftop party at Vicky’s law firm, Arnold and Porter, which had a view of the fireworks over the National Mall. It was an incredible evening. The food was great, as was the company.
The following day, we headed to the Newseum, which features exhibits on the First Amendment, the history of the press, and various interactive media stations. The building also features a beautiful terrace on the sixth floor with a view overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue and the Capitol building. The most recent exhibit featured is on John F. Kennedy. The exhibit features pictures of the Kennedy’s in various aspects of their life, as well as news coverage from President Kennedy’s assassination. One of my favorite exhibits was on the FBI and various crimes they prosecuted. I hope to someday work for the FBI, so this was an exciting chance to learn more about some of their most famous cases. Friday, after the museum, everyone from our hallway at American University went to Jazz in the Garden, which is an event that happens every Friday at the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art. It was a really hot, but beautiful evening, with excellent music. When you purchase your ticket, you get a two-day pass to go back to the museum. This is not a museum that can be seen in one day, so I took advantage of this and went back on Saturday of that week. Saturday afternoon, we went to the Nationals game (the third of the week) and got to see Thompson Square perform a post-game concert. Besides it being unbearably hot, it was a great day. Sunday marked my fourth Nationals game of the week. Professor Steve Wermiel from Washington College of Law took us to a Nationals game. We had brunch in the Diamond Club, and had amazing seats! We were right behind home plate. Seeing as I’ve never really given my support to a baseball team before, I think I’m leaning towards the Nationals. They might not win every game, but they’re a great team to root for, and the games are really enjoyable.
The following Tuesday, I went to the Kennedy Center for opening night of The Book of Mormon. This was quite the experience. I once again got to see the sunset from the beautiful rooftop terrace with views overlooking the Potomac as well as the National Mall. The Book of Mormon was phenomenal. I laughed throughout the entire show. The set was unbelievably well done, and the acting was perfect. I’ve heard that the show will be at Proctors in Schenectady this winter, and I hope to see it again. Wednesday, Dr. Cutler came to Washington, D.C. We had a nice lunch with some of our supervisors, and got to talk about the program and our experiences in D.C. It was great to get to share these stories with Dr. Cutler, and discuss what we’ve learned thus far and how it compares to what we’ve learned in his classes. I look forward to hopefully applying some of the legal research I’ve done this summer to Criminal Law this fall. Friday of that week, I went with some of my friends from my floor to a documentary in DuPont Circle on the student debt crisis. This was followed by an open discussion on what is being done, what can be done, and what needs to be done. It was great to have this discussion with new people, especially students who work for the United States Students Association, a group that works to remove barriers to education for all students. It was a fascinating, and unique experience unlike anything I’ve done before. Saturday, I explored Chinatown. It’s fascinating how Americanized Chinatown has become. The Chinese businesses have been forced out, and now what remains are popular chain stores and restaurants with Chinese letters on the signs. However, it was interesting to explore this new area of Washington. From there, I met up with the majority of students from my hallway and we went paddle boating at the Tidal Basin, which is basically in between the National Mall and the Jefferson Memorial. I had never done this before, and I really enjoyed this activity. I’m still not used to the extreme heat and humidity in D.C. but the challenge was worth it. On Sunday, our hallway went to the Eastern Market for the weekly farmers market and flea market. We also went to a small used bookstore with a whole lot of character. Of course, I had to buy new books, because it is impossible for me to not buy books when they’re reasonably priced and easily accessible. For dinner, our hallway went to Adams Morgan to go to Pizza Mart, where they sell HUGE, and I mean HUGE pieces of pizza. They are incredibly delicious, but nearly impossible to eat in one sitting. Following dinner, to walk off all of our food, we walked aimlessly in attempts to see parts of D.C. that we hadn’t seen yet. This was so much fun, and a great chance to just take in everything I was seeing. We had dessert at this amazing bakery where they make homemade ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and amazing crepes.
This past Wednesday, Siena grad Meghan Yi invited us to her house in Maryland to experience Maryland crabs (which were fabulous). It was a super fun evening and it was great to hear about what Meghan has been doing since graduating from Siena. We are so lucky to have spent so much time this summer with various Siena grads and hear about their experiences. Thursday evening, we went to Iftar, the meal after fasting during Ramadan at the Bahrain embassy. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The embassy was absolutely beautiful, and to meet unique and fascinating individuals was amazing. The food was fabulous as well! Yesterday, a few friends and I went to the Arlington Cemetery, and Pentagon City. We took a bus tour of the cemetery and saw the Kennedy burial site, and the Eternal Flame. We also saw the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was an incredibly moving experience.
I’m currently finishing up my four projects remaining, which involve extortion, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, legal networking, and a conference project. Every year, the Siena Summer Legal Fellows at Washington College of Law propose a conference geared towards law students with a hot topic that has large implications. For my conference project I chose the right to privacy and how it is been impacted by changes in technology. I am excited that I got to spend this summer learning about a topic of law that I knew next to nothing about. With only four days left in Washington, D.C. I hope to get to see some things I haven’t gotten to see yet, and just really enjoy my remaining time here.
Megha Dasani ‘14 and Kelly Moquin ‘13 have just completed a summer of service in Kenya! Here’s how Megha describes their experience:
"We did a lot of medical work, such as giving immunizations to babies and went on mobile clinics to remote villages in the nearby area of Marigat, Kenya. Other pictures are from us teaching at a local school and visiting a refugee camp of the Trucana tribe. The Trucanas were displaced from their homes in Northeast Kenya during a tribal war and shifted to Marigat about 40 years ago. There are about 1000 people who live in the camps. We spent a lot of time there as they were, and the only way I can think to put it, “the neediest of the needy." We gave out a lot of donations such as Siena College shirts and about 100 caps to children for their new soccer program. Kelly and I have even decided to sponsor four children from the Trucana tribe who are first in their class to help them pay for secondary school education and to pay for things such as food and clothes. A lot of these children go to school for days without eating anything and have one set of clothes to wear, which is their uniform. Hopefully whatever money we collect, can help them with something even if it means buying a solar lamp so they can study when it gets dark, since they don’t have electricity in their huts. Overall, our trip to Kenya was a humbling experience and as cliche as it sounds, really showed me what poverty is. I truly hope I can go back one day."
Hey! Time for an update on what’s going on at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. Things have been really busy lately, with the Summer Institute on Law and Government and the Health Law and Policy Summer Institute coming to a close this past Friday. Since the last time I posted on the blog, I attended several more classes. The first week concluded with the courses “National Security and the Constitution: Drones and Other Policies,” and “Drug Law and Policy – Controlling Prescription Drug Abuse.” I was especially grateful to attend the course on drug policy, because I hope to someday work in that field. The course was fascinating and informative, and I learned a lot about a specific subset of drug policy that I did not know much about. This past week, I attended several lunch panels. The first lunch discussion was “Unconventional Responses to Unique Catastrophes: Tailoring the Law to Meet the Challenge” featuring Ken Feinberg. Not only is Mr. Feinberg an adjunct professor at some of the top law schools in the country (Columbia University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, and New York University School of Law), but he is an attorney who specializes in a niche field, responsible for the allocation of funds to victims of various crimes and events, specifically 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings. Mr. Feinberg spoke about the challenges of allocating money to multiple victims with different injuries. Mr. Feinberg is an excellent speaker and it was great to learn about this. The other lunch panels last week were regarding the recent Supreme Court cases. The lunch panel on Thursday was on the same sex marriage cases. This panel consisted of various professors at Washington College of Law, including Jamie Raskin, a Maryland state senator who was involved with the passing of the same sex marriage bill in Maryland. Caroline and I also attended a two-day course on reproductive genetics. This class was informative and touched on topics I had never learned anything about before, including the moral, ethical, and legal issues regarding cloning, surrogate adoption, and genetic modification.
As for how I spend my free time, a lot has been going on! Two weekends ago, several kids from my hallway went out to dinner, and then went to the National Mall at night to see the monuments lit up. It was truly breathtaking. We weren’t overcome by the massive amount of tourists or the DC heat and humidity, so it provided a unique experience at the monuments. It was a great evening. We are blessed to have such nice and interesting people living on our floor at American University. That same weekend, my dad and my aunt came to visit me. We went to the National Mall, the American History museum, and the Holocaust museum. It was an exhausting day, but we learned and saw lots of new things. It was great to spend time with my dad and my aunt.
The following week, Caroline’s parents came to visit and took us out to lunch at a local restaurant, Chef Geoff’s. The food was incredible, and the company was even better. That weekend, my roommate Christine Smith, came to visit me for the weekend. We had dinner Friday night in Dupont Circle at a bookstore that is open 24 hours on the weekends. The café had amazing food. Saturday, we made sure to get up early to do as much as possible. We started out with brunch and shopping in Georgetown. Then, we explored the American History museum, and the National Gallery. We headed back to Georgetown for dinner, and cupcakes at Baked and Wired. At Baked and Wired, they have a tradition where you draw on a napkin, and then hang it up on one of the walls. Of course, we all took advantage of this. After dessert, we headed to the Kennedy Center. There is a roof top terrace at the Kennedy Center that is open to the public. It has a 360 degree view of the Potomac River, Georgetown, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and more. Being there at sunset was beautiful. To finish our busy day, several of us from our hallway went to the movies in Friendship Heights, and saw the movie The Heat. It was the perfect way to end our day. Sunday, Christine and I had a relaxing day of shopping near Metro Center, and then Christine headed back to the city.
This week was back to a regular schedule at work. Last night however, Caroline and I went to the Nationals game and met up with Siena grads Matt Spargo, Matt Ferritto, and Mark Ferritto. It was great to spend time with more friends from Siena. It’s too bad that Siena grad John Lannan doesn’t still play for the Nats. The game was incredible. After time out due to a knee injury, Harper’s first hit was a home run. This really got the crowd going. The Nats ended up winning 10-5 over the Brewers. Being my first Nationals game, this was really exciting. The ballpark is beautiful, and has an amazing view of the Capitol building. This Saturday, Caroline and I are going to the Nationals game, which is followed by a free concert by the band Thompson Square. Sunday, Professor Steve Wermiel from Washington College of law graciously invited Caroline and me to the Nationals game on Sunday. I am so grateful for all of the wonderful opportunities available to me in Washington, DC. It is hard to believe that I’m starting my fifth week here, with only a few weeks remaining. Well, I think that’s all for now!
Hello everyone! I can’t believe my six weeks in Belize is over and I’m back home in the states. I’m so glad to be back home, but I will definitely miss my host family and the school children we got to know! On our last night in Punta Gorda with our host family, we took our host mom Miss Elena and her son and granddaughter out to dinner, and that’s Miss Elena and her granddaughter in the top left picture. Since we were done with our service work for the last weekend there, we were able to visit San Pedro - the more “touristy” part of Belize - and check out the beach and many souvenir shops there. We had an awesome time! The top right picture is us out to dinner at a yummy Italian restaurant there, and the bottom left picture is the view from our hotel room. While we were walking around the town shopping for souvenirs, we also saw a procession for Saint Peter for San Pedro day which happened to be that weekend, and that’s what you see in the bottom right picture. I feel so lucky to have been able to come to Belize and learn more about its rich culture and meet its amazing people!
Linda Paniszyn ‘14
Belize Summer of Service 2013
It was a busy week for us. We have continued our work with the CLARO program and have been doing a lot of outreach in Staten Island. We are currently working with the Feerick Center on a number of programs that range from identity theft issues to securing pro bono lawyer programs for emeritus status attorneys. This past weekend I spent a lot of time with some of my Siena friends from home who visited—we went to Central Park, an awesome restaurant called Shake Shack, and the Museum of Natural History. Yesterday I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and have been doing a lot of traveling around Manhattan. It has already been four weeks, can’t believe how fast time is flying!
Here are some pictures from my final visit to the nutrition project at Barangay Santo Niño. Along with preparing food for the kids, I brought a large bag full of clothes I collected from my classmates this past semester. Though the shirts were a quite large on some of the small children they were thrilled to have new clothes. Above you can see Steven (blue), Marken (red Phillies shirt), and Christine sporting their new gear as they came running out of their houses with their new clothes immediately after the feeding. I also found some Siena shirts in my bag of donations as you can Roseann and JR above with their new Siena gear!
This week some local boys and girls came into the center, where two other volunteers and myself presented about living a healthy lifestyle. We addressed issues such as a healthy and balanced diet to promote growth, prevention of heart disease, and the importance of not smoking. The diet of many Filipinos is heavy in carbohydrates, red meat, and fried foods, and lacks nutritious vegetables, so we were able to really connect with the kids and help them understand how to maintain a diet that promotes growth and good health. Also, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the Philippines. So I took the blood pressure of all in attendance to show them that they still have healthy hearts and vascular systems and charged them with the goal of maintaining the same blood pressure in the future.
I’m writing from Tokyo right now as we make our final trip home, but I still have even more updates to come!