D.C. Interns "A Closer Look" - Keegan McCrady
Oct. 16, 2013
LCU Washington interns share thoughts and highlights of the experience of a lifetime
Lubbock Christian University proudly partners with The Washington Center in Washington, D.C. to offer internships to qualified students each semester. For the fall semester there are seven LCU students in D.C. for academic internships that will continue until the middle of December.
This group brings to 32 the number of students through the years (since 2005) to represent LCU in this program and the legacy of success is well documented. In fact, in early October the university was recognized by The Washington Center as the "Private School of the Year." The award was presented at a luncheon for TWC Academic Awards that took place at the National Press Club. The university and the award that was received were also featured in the program and announced at the annual gala at the National Building Museum on the same day.
As these students spend the semester in D.C. we want to share their experiences with our readers, so The DusterToday is presenting a series of Q&A features with each of our seven interns.
This week we would like to introduce you to Keegan McCrady, a biology graduate from Burleson, who plans to attend graduate school with hopes of attaining a master's or PhD. Keegan is doing his internship at the Ecological Society of America and we had the opportunity to visit with him about the experience so far:
Duster: As you looked at the possibility of doing the D.C. internship, what were the major factors that prompted you to go for it and has it lived up to your expectations so far?
Keegan: It seemed like a good way to gain real experience and to make different connections with people in the area in which I hope to work. I also thought that it would give me a chance to experience a culture that is relatively different from that commonly found in Texas. My time in D.C. has certainly met, and in some cases exceeded, the expectations I had when I decided to pursue an internship here.
Duster: Tell us how your experience on the job has been thus far and about your job duties.
Keegan: I am interning at the Ecological Society of America in the Office of Education and Diversity. The ESA is a professional society for ecologists that was founded in 1915 and boasts about 10,000 members. The group I'm working with is involved in advancing ecological education and trying to increase the diversity of those practicing ecology.
To that end I've been involved in everything from newsletter and website production to forming a strategy for engaging members across various social media sites and attending conferences on ecological and educational topics. I've really done a little bit of everything in my internship and had a very broad range of experiences in my time here, which suits me quite well.
Duster: What are the major goals that you feel you would like to accomplish with regard to this internship and the overall D.C. experience?
Keegan: When my time here in D.C. draws to a close I'd like to be able to say that I have a better understanding of the mechanics of the education system and the workings of non-profit organizations in general. I'd also like to narrow down the direction of my path after this internship.
Duster: Describe for us what your typical day is like?
Keegan: My typical day? I typically leave the apartment around 7:30am and then walk three blocks from the RAF (the building in which we live in D.C.) to the metro stop. I ride the metro for about 15 minutes and then walk four blocks to work. I have my own office and work from 8:00am until my lunch break at noon. I usually pack a lunch and take it to work with me; when I don't feel like bringing a lunch I often eat at a Mexican food place in an alley across the street. It sounds kind of sketchy, but it's the best Mexican food I've found in D.C. so far. I head home around 4:30pm and always stop to say "hello" to Burl, the security guard that memorizes all the workers' names. From there, it's just a bit of walking and a metro ride to get back to my apartment.
Duster: As for the "off-the-job" related part of this experience, are there some highlights of what you've been able to do and see that you can share?
Keegan: The highlight of my experience outside of work has certainly been spending time in the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress (I managed to get a reader card!). I also greatly value my trips to the Chick-fil-a in Silver Springs, MD for the excellent sweet tea.
Duster: How has the LCU group meshed together during this experience?
Keegan: The group from LCU actually has a rather diverse set of interests. So far it's been uncommon for all seven of us to be in the same place at that same time. I don't want to put that in a negative light though. I think it speaks to how well each of us has acclimated ourselves to the environment here. Whether we all get together in a big group or not we certainly have good communication between each other. I've been glad to have this group here with me.
Duster: If you had to single out the most exciting thing about your time in D.C. so far, what would that be?
Keegan: If I had to pick a single event I'd have to say that it was the gala we attended a couple of weeks ago with President Perrin and the rest of the contingent that came to represent LCU at the event. I've also had the opportunity to attend a couple of conferences at the National Academy of Sciences, both of which have presented an intriguing look into the process by which the scientific community presents its views to the public.
Duster: Finally, in keeping with the LCU mantra of being the "life-changing university," can you see where this experience in D.C. will fit that bill for you personally?
Keegan: For me it's a way to experience something completely different. I grew up near Fort Worth and went to college in Lubbock. I've never really lived outside of the state. Interning in Washington, D.C. has been a way to experience something different without a long-term commitment. It has given me greater professional confidence, which is invaluable, and has let me see things from a different perspective. I think this experience will help to make me a more well rounded person with a greater empathy for those with a different set of life experiences from myself.
We want to wish Keegan and all of our current and future LCU Washington intern students the best of luck and a safe and happy experience. Thanks, also, to Dr. Stacy Patty, director of the LCU Washington program, for his guidance and leadership of these students.