SAYA’s Public Service-Minded Seniors Take on DC

Day 1: BY MAKINOON, GRADE 12

After a long bus ride from New York to Washington DC, we arrived at the office of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).  We met Lakshmi Sridaran who told us little about herself and what she does on a daily basis. She is an advocate for South Asians around the country and raises awareness for their rights. The office was pretty nice and welcoming.  Afterwards, we went to Dupont Circle and explored the area. I really loved the fancy train station there, named Dupont Circle Station.  Later we met up with SAYA alum, Dimple Patel, who told us about what she does.  I was amazed when she told us she works for a Native American organization.  I never knew I would meet someone in her profession.  Both Lakshmi and Dimple were proud of what they were doing. 

Day 2: BY SUKARNA, GRADE

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Day 2 was my favorite day out of the whole trip for various reasons mostly because I feel like this day was where we experienced the authenticity of DC. The first thing we did was tour the US Capitol building. What fascinates me is that the US Capitol is a 200-year-old building however it stills stands One of the things I liked a lot was the exhibition hall, where they portrayed the History of Congress and the Capitol. 

The next thing we did was meeting the legislative aides for congressman Garrett Graves from Louisiana. The thing that was the most interesting about their jobs was that even though they went to college with different majors and plans in mind, they ended up being legislative aids. 

So here comes my favorite part, the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institute) and visiting the White House. This was very exhilarating to me because it was my first time visiting the White House and I’m so glad I got to spend it with SAYA.  My favorite exhibit was the costume collection. Knowing me, I’m genuinely fascinated by fashion or anything related to that, so seeing an exhibit with fashion throughout centuries is so intriguing. 

Last but not least, we went to see Georgetown University. The campus was an old school setting, which I loved! It was so nice and the students seemed content with the school.  The thing I loved most about this university is that you can feel the college vibe and it seems that it’s an environment where you would never genuinely get bored. So I loved it, I would very much consider going to this school if I got a shot at it. I had a great experience on this trip and I loved that I got to travel to DC for the first time with my second family, SAYA.

Day 3: BY JANNAT, GRADE 12

After two days of exploring and speaking to various people, we signed out of our hotel to go see the Lincoln Memorial. After that, we traveled to go speak to two government officials. Rachana Shah is the legislative assistant to Congresswoman Grace Meng and Moh Sharma is the policy director for House Democratic Caucus. They talked to us about their experiences and answered questions that we had. They were very honest about how to work our way up to success. They gave us advice on how to convince our parents of our life choices. Rachana and Moh told us about their college life experience, their ambitions, and their importance in the work field. I have never been so proud of women of my culture doing what they love the most.