A Capital Itinerary

The lobby at The Chronicle of Higher Education headquarters is filled with books on education policy.

Hadley Heath ’10 in the conference room of the Independent Women’s Forum.

Matt Garza ’10 browses the Financial Times in the Brookings Institution library.

Three of our most recent alums provide a glimpse of the young policy wonk’s life in Washington, D.C.

 April 25, 2011

For recent graduates aiming for a career in public policy, there is no place quite like Washington. The nation’s capital offers an unmatched array of jobs, fellowships, and internships for young wonks.

In December of last year, we asked three alumni from the class of 2010 to offer a glimpse of life in the policy arena. Through their daily itineraries, we got a street-level view of life in the city, from covering Congress to covering the rent.


Kevin Kiley ’10

Monday, December 6

7:00 a.m. — Wake up. Shower. Breakfast of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Orange juice.

8:20 a.m. — Out the door. Thirty-five-minute walk to work. Vermont Ave. to Logan Circle. Rhode Island to M.

9:05 a.m. — Arrive at work. Power on computer.

9:10 a.m. — Check the Federal Register for any government agency updates relevant to higher education. Send the results to my editor and the Chronicle’s news editor.

9:45 a.m. — Slog through e-mail newsletters to catch up on what’s happening in the world of politics and higher education. Washington Post, Politico, The Chronicle, and Inside Higher Education.

10:30 a.m. — Begin the final day of writing a story I’ve been working on for about three weeks on the effect that the Republicans’ earmark moratoriums would have on colleges and universities.

1:15 p.m. — File earmark story with my editor, get lunch at the local Subway. Back from lunch at 2 p.m.

2:00 p.m. — Waiting on my editor to edit my story, so I catch up on news and a few reports released last week.

4:00 p.m. — Get notice of two reports to be released by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Going to write a short story on the reports.

4:15 p.m. — Quick call to the Civil Rights Commission’s press office to get ahold of the reports. Only the STEM report is published, but they can get me a quick summary of the HBCU report.

5:30 p.m. — Finish brief. Filed with the night editor. Back to the waiting game and reading news.

7:30 p.m. — A couple of quick questions from the night edi- tor about the report brief. Answered.

7:45 p.m. — Leave office, catch the metro home.

9:30 p.m. — Seven-mile running workout.

11:30 p.m. — Talk with Phoenix-based girlfriend.

12:00 a.m. — Bed.

Friday, December 10

7:15 a.m. — Same morning routine as Monday.

9:15 a.m. — Check the Federal Register. Unusually long today. All sorts of fun information about endangered species, airspace designation, Native American grave repatriation, and grant tracking.

10:15 a.m. — Check morning news stories.

11:15 a.m. — Begin work on an obituary for a recently deceased Columbia University physicist whose research led to the development of LEDs. Send e-mails to some of her friends and colleagues to set up interviews for next week. Begin reading her CV, other obituaries, and finding other sources to contact.

12:45 p.m. — Lunch.

1:15 p.m. — Continue background research for obituary.

2:30 p.m. — Tuning into the Bernie Sanders filibuster while I work on this obit. Parliamentary procedure at its finest.

2:55 p.m. — Hot off the presses: Issue 17, featuring my cover story on earmark reform and higher education.

3:30 p.m. — Taking off early because of working late on Monday and Wednesday.

4:00 p.m. — Home. Watch a few episodes of season one of The West Wing. Finish reading John L. Parker’s Again to Carthage; begin reading Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon.

6:00 p.m. — Nine-mile run.

8:00 p.m. — Dinner. More Disappearing Spoon.

10:00 p.m. — Out to a local bar with my roommate.

1:00 a.m. — Sleep.

Sunday, December 12

10:00 a.m. — Wake up.

10:30 a.m. — Nine-mile run.

1:30 p.m. — Hang out at the local Caribou Coffee. Reading Claudia Dreifus and Andrew Hacker’s Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids and What We Can Do about It.

4:00 p.m. — Send cover letters and resumes to various job openings, in preparation for life after the Chronicle internship.

6:00 p.m. — Peruse Borders book store.

7:00 p.m. — Dinner; pasta.

8:00 p.m. — Finish Higher Education? and The Disappearing Spoon. Watch more West Wing.

11:00 p.m. — Bedtime!


Hadley Heath ’10

Monday, December 6

8:00 a.m. — Read through all the major national news over breakfast at my apartment.

9:15 a.m. — Start my walk to work (a little less than a mile).

9:30 a.m. — Arrive at work, regain dexterity of fingers after freezing them outside, and respond to long list of Monday e-mail.

10:30 a.m. — Write a blog post about how inefficient and unreasonable the estate tax is.

11:00 a.m. — Work on updates to the website http://www.healthcarelawsuits.org a pro,ject of IWF.

12:30 p.m. — Run across the street for a Subway Melt, then read my favorite blogs during lunch (and also check Facebook).

1:30 p.m. — Take the Metro to an event downtown.

2:00 p.m. — American Enterprise Institute panel about the expansion of Medicaid and creation of health insurance exchanges under ObamaCare.

4:00 p.m. — Shake hands with panelists, give out my card, encourage them to visit http://www.healthcarelaw- suits.org and email me with their input.

4:45 p.m. — Back at my desk; catching up on e-mail and editing a blog written by an intern.

5:30 p.m. — Fifteen-minute walk home, then catch up with my roommate.

6:00 p.m. — Prepare for a radio appearance.

7:00 p.m. — Radio host Andy Caldwell calls me from L.A. to talk on air about the federal pay “freeze,” the Bush tax cuts, and unemployment extensions.

7:30 p.m. — Make a run to the grocery store, cook pork chops and green beans, dinner with my roommate and a friend.

9:00 p.m. — Read a few chapters in Atlas Shrugged, then a phone call with Aaron Manning ’10.

10:45 p.m. — Get ready for bed, pack tomorrow’s lunch, etc.

11:30 p.m. — Hit the sack.

Friday, December 10

8:30 a.m. — Breakfast, read the news. Walk to work.

9:30 a.m. — Respond to e-mails.

10:00 a.m. — Plan blogs for the day and read pending legislation on Bush tax cuts and unemployment extensions.

11:00 a.m. — Notice that it’s snowing outside! Keep working . . . focus . . .

11:30 p.m. — Write a new post for IWF’s health-care blog.

Noon — Break for lunch with a colleague.

1:00 p.m. — Read results of a survey that is related to my next policy paper about how ObamaCare will affect doctors and their practices.

2:30 p.m. — E-mail an intern about her schedule for next week and her blog entries-in-progress.

3:15 p.m. — Write a quick blog post about the top 10 percent of earners paying 71 percent of federal income taxes.

3:45 p.m. — Study up in preparation for next week’s ruling in the Virginia v. Sebelius case (challenge to ObamaCare in federal court).

5:00 p.m. — Head home a little early to get ready for Aaron’s visit; listen to “Whip my Hair” on repeat to mentally prep for the weekend!

5:15 p.m. — Clean my apartment, then take a nap; I’m exhausted.

7:00 p.m. — Cook dinner (Asian stir-fry makes my whole apartment smell delicious), then head downstairs to help Aaron find parking on D.C. streets.

8:00 p.m. — Dinner, followed by an hour-long episode of The Office on Hulu.com.

10:00 p.m. — Fall asleep reading Atlas Shrugged. A med student, Aaron stays up to study.

Sunday, December 12

9:30 p.m. — Breakfast at home. Get ready for church.

11:00 a.m. — Attend church, hearing a message about the importance of forgiving others when they wrong us.

12:30 p.m. — Stay late to help plan a mission project.

1:00 p.m. — Lunch at Chipotle with my roommate and Aaron, then a Sunday-afternoon nap back at the apartment.

3:00 p.m. — Bake and enjoy some chocolate chip cookies and bid Aaron farewell.

3:30 p.m. — Read some Atlas Shrugged (almost finished!).

4:30 p.m. — Take care of some work, post blog entries to http://www.healthcarelawsuits.org and www.savingourhealthcare.org about the upcoming ruling in the Virginia v. Sebelius case.

6:00 p.m. — Heat up my Chipotle leftovers for supper; read the news and catch up on pop culture. Check Facebook.

7:00 p.m. — Prepare for a radio appearance.

9:15 p.m. — Appear on the Marc Cox show out of St. Louis to discuss the Bush tax cut deal, class warfare, and social mobility in America.

9:30 p.m. — Go upstairs to a friend’s apartment, watch an ABC Family movie (Cupid’s Christmas, with Chad Michael Murray playing a doctor who plays basketball. Perfect.).

11:00 p.m. — Back downstairs. Grab a bedtime snack and check to see if the application for Amazing Race Season 19 is available online yet. Send an e-mail Aaron reminding him we have to get started on this if we’re going to be on the show!

11:45 p.m. — Finally to bed, resting before a busy Monday . . . .


Matt Garza ’10

Monday, December 6

8:30 a.m. — Pack lunch for work (saving $$); bike to work.

9:00 a.m. — Read the news at work, especially articles surrounding deficit commissions. Finished cleaning and organizing my new cubicle (got a window!).

10:00 a.m. — Study coding syntax for Stata; trying to better understand some ideas for loops, conditional statements, & preserving data. It’s remarkable how my math training at UNC helps me with programming.

10:30 a.m. — Review code for our program and merge into a new program to analyze Current Population Survey data and government expenditures.

1:00 p.m. — Edit a paper about the investment decisions of institutional investors. A collection of these papers will eventually become chapters in a book, and I provide the initial edit and write the first draft of the book’s introduction.

4:00 p.m. — Meeting to discuss ideas for our data analyzing code.

5:00 p.m. — Read old articles from The Economist; I keep a stack of old magazines from the financial crisis at work.

6:00 p.m. — Home to cook dinner with my girlfriend, Kaila.

7:00 p.m. — Watch an episode of The Colbert Report online.

7:30 p.m. — Off to Target to buy a fan for my office. The heaters run all winter, and I own cheap polyester dress shirts.

9:30 p.m. — Back home, where I give myself a haircut (one of the benefits to having short hair).

Friday, December 10

8:30 a.m. — Bike to work.

9:00 a.m. — Listen to Obama piece on NPR’s Morning Edition; send note to our listserv about the DREAM Act, which deals with federal immigration and education policy.

10:30 a.m. — E-mail a proposal for consumer expectations research to a Brookings Fellow.

Noon — Done with the data analysis code! Thankful for the research I did at UNC that proved so helpful with this project.

12:30 p.m. — Lunch with Kaila.

1:30 p.m. — Correct my statistics homework, scan it and e-mail it to my professor at George Washington.

1:45 p.m. — Edit a conference paper about pension system in China, South Korea, and Japan.

2:30 p.m. — Help fellow research assistant with Excel data and chart designs.

3:00 p.m. — Finish up conference paper edits, e-mail author and the managing editor of Brookings Press with corrections.

5:30 p.m. — Out for dinner and drinks with Kaila!

Sunday, December 12

9:00 p.m. — Awake; quick breakfast.

9:30 a.m. onward — Study at home all day for a statistics exam on Tuesday.