My DC Experience
Bowls of wild rice lined Minnesota Senator Al Franken's office. A sweet scent of blueberries and cranberries filled the room. When NCWIT gave me the opportunity to attend the White House's Champions of Change I did not expect I would be having breakfast with my senator!
Every Wednesday morning Minnesotans in DC are invited to come down to the Hart Senate Office Building to have "Breakfast with Al". Franken shares what new initiatives his office is working on, opens the floor up for questions, and takes photos. The wild rice porridge recipe was originally found from the journals of fur trappers and voyagers from the days of the fur trade. It was refreshing to have authentic Minnesotan cuisine even in the heart of bustling DC.
I had the pleasure of talking with Senator Franken about STEM education and robotics. Robotics and other science related extracurricular have made such a huge impact on my future. I advocated for the continued support of STEM and specifically after school programs such as FIRST robotics. Senator Franken actually attended a FIRST robotics competition a couple years ago and assured me that he will continue to back STEM after school programs.
One would expect that my favorite part of this experience was getting my picture with Senator Franken or shaking his hand. However, the most memorable moment occurred before he stepped into the room. Several families from Minnesota brought their children to visit the Senator and were eagerly awaiting his arrival. I shared my enthusiasm about computer science, robotics, and other STEM fields with the children. I was able to give their parents information about NCWIT and after school activities the kids could be involved in to get them hooked on STEM. Helping kids discover the excitement of STEM made my day and my trip!