Friday, June 3, 2011

My First Week at My Internship

My first week in Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office has been very interesting. I have spent the last three days getting oriented to my surroundings and the people around me. On my first day, I joined in on a staff meeting, which is a weekly event in our office and met with all the staff members. I also started to work with one of the other interns in our office. He has been really helpful to me, and he has helped me get oriented to the house buildings on the hill. The fellow intern is an excellent resource to have in the office, because he is not as busy as the full time staff, and he likes working with me: which is a good thing, since I can turn to him if I need help with something. On my first day I had a quick 20 minute meeting with my supervisor, the Legislative Director for the Congresswoman. She set me up with three projects to work on right away, and she has pretty much let me loose and allowed me to work on these projects. I have some deadlines, and I am sure I will get my work done on time.

Some of the things I am working on include, researching accessible labeling systems for pharmaceutical products, the Olmstead Decision of 1999, and barriers to employment for people with disabilities. I have to research accessible labeling of prescription medication for the blind to make pharmaceutical products accessible to the blind and visually impaired. I have to work with another staff person in Congressman Langevin’s office on organizing a round table on barriers to employment for people with disabilities such as SSDI earnings limits, misconceptions about disabilities, and accessibility issues. My third project is to learn more about the Olmstead Decision of 1999, which ruled in favor of allowing disabled people to take advantage of community provided services rather than putting them in nursing homes.

Congress just got back into session from Memorial Day Break and everybody has been really busy in the office. I will be attending a meeting with my supervisor on the Olmstead ACT with the NCD, the National Council on Disability, and I very much look forward to it.

Perhaps the highlight of my week came on Friday, when I attended a lecture by Twitter’s Adam Sharp, and Facebook’s Katie Harbath Bath. Adam Sharp thought that I was a dog-catcher. In the middle of answering a question he stopped and asked, “Sir, the one with the pole in your hand, is you a dog-catcher”? LOL That was very funny. He was very embarrassed about it and he apologized when somebody told him that I was blind, and that the stick I was holding was my cane and not a pole for catching dogs. I made it sound funny when I asked a question later under the name “dog-catcher”.

Overall it has been a good four days, and I am getting more and more excited about working in Congresswoman Rodgers’ office. Keep on the lookout for more developments from my end of the blog.

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