Week 9: Unbeatable Breakfast

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Friday, July 31, 2015


Drew Roberts

One of the wildest parts about being in DC is the perpetual feeling that the individuals in the room might be the smartest group of people that you've ever met. The past week made me feel this several times. Elias and I had two big meetings. For the first meeting, we were invited to see the Office of Public Affairs for the American Physical Society (APS), where we met Michael Lubell, Francis Slakey, and Tyler Glembo.

Dr. Lubell is the Director of Public Affairs for APS and has has a long history in both the science and policy communities. It was a great opportunity to talk with him and get to hear his insight on the relationship between science and politics. Dr. Lubell told us about the complicated relationship that he has with my committee. He explained that while he clearly has a vested interest in the Science Committee’s topics, he doesn't always agree with the actions that the committee takes.

The biography of Francis Slakey speaks for itself. He was the first person in the world to BOTH climb and the tallest mountain on each continent and surf every ocean. Additionally, he carried the Olympic Torch down the Capitol Steps in the 2002 Olympics. Besides his impressive extra-curricular resume, Dr. Slakey was very interested in talking about the committee issues that Elias and I have taken an interest in.

Tyler Glembo was also great to get the chance to meet as he was able to give us a glimpse into how he got into the public affairs world, after getting his PhD not too long ago. Overall, talking to the three of them provided a good perspective on another side of the political system. Instead of coming from another office inside the government, they are in charge of government relations for a private group. Meeting with all of these different players certainly helps me develop a fuller picture of the political process.

On Friday, I had the highlight of my summer. Elias and I had breakfast in the Senate Member’s Dining Room with Dr. Mather and Congressman Bill Foster. That was, without questions, the most interesting meal I have ever been a part of. Sure, the dining room had good food, but I could barely notice that. I was blown away with the level of conversation that both Mr. Foster and Dr. Mather brought to the table. In a short meal, I learned so much about financial services, politics, and various natural world risks such as earthquakes. Conversation jumped around, but it was always interesting. Additionally, Lindsey Graham sat a few tables down. The entire morning was surely a point of the summer that I will never forget.

This week was our turn to give the other interns a tour of our work. Elias and I, neither of us having ever given a Hill tour, set up an official tour for all of us in the morning. This was great because I learned and saw more of the Capitol than I ever had while I was working. After the tour, we got the chance to see my committee room. Joe Flarida, my boss, joined us to help me explain the political process and the role that committee staff plays in it. The tour ended up being pretty successful, with us being able to show the group a lot of our favorite spots around the Hill.

Drew Roberts