DC Reflections: Nearing the End

Posted On September 11, 2013 by Omar Rodriguez, Honors College Class of 2014

A team member from the Native American CDFI Program added another project to my assignments. It involved researching website layout ideas, developing a memo with a group member, and working on configuring Microsoft Word Documents to Excel—all for the Native American Access to Capital and Credit Study. In addition, I learned more about the CDFI Fund’s commitment to serve the needs of Native Communities.

At the UC housing center, I went to a speaker series about former chief of staff to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, John Lawrence. He spoke about his early career, how he reached his position in Capitol Hill, as well as gave advice about a career in politics.  Although staying at the UC center was not my first choice, I am extremely glad I decided to stay there. The speaker series, lectures, and tours were all great learning opportunities that created many rewarding experiences.

In July, I also went to a session about “Effective Public Speaking.” The presentation was about building confidence and ways to overcome the fear of addressing groups of all sizes. A life goal of mine is to keep improving my public speaking skills, so I decided to take advantage of any opportunity available in D.C. In addition, I went to my first Congressional Committee hearing: “Regulating Burdens: The Impact of Dodd-Frank on Community Banking.”

A topic I found appealing included a discussion about how the failure of banks is partly responsible for strict regulation that trickled down to small banks like those involved in community banking. Another case identified how Dodd-Frank and regulations cause fewer services to be provided, for example, an increase in compliance workers means that there are fewer positions available for small business lenders. The gist of the hearing was the result of how “one size fits all” regulation negatively affects the financial industry, including community banking. In the end, I learned how congressional hearings run and the challenges community banks face.

The next event was at the Cannon House Office Building for the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) Future Leaders Conference. The conference theme was, “Explore the World, Discover the Future” and the conference featured experts from the public and private sector, representatives from fortune 500 companies, as well as members of Congress. The best part of the conference was the networking luncheon where I met with a member from the U.S. Department of State and mingled with other interns.

Before the month of July ended, I met with my manager about a proposal for the CDFI Helpdesk. After working a few helpdesk questions, I knew there had to be a better way to improve in the overall function. I drafted an informal proposal, presented my case to my manager, and then spoke with an IT member. They seemed to like my idea, so we spoke to someone in the legal department to pass along the information. On this day, I felt as if I walked the extra mile and I accomplished more than my typical workday. Even though my idea may or may not happen, I am glad I was able to evaluate a problem, outline a plan, and provide solutions.  At the end, I am trying to make the most of my internship.


“Whatever you are, be a good one.” —Abraham Lincoln


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