This year, after over a dozen failed applications to various organizations, I applied to the Koch Fellowship Program (KFP) through the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) for an opportunity to do economic/policy research with a think tank in the United States. Not only did I get accepted into the program, I managed to get a summer research fellowship with the Independent Institute, an institute I have known and respected for years. On top of the internship, the KFP program provides a $5,000 stipend for fellows to support themselves at (generally) unpaid positions. A part of the program involves travelling to DC for a seminar at the beginning and the end of the program, so this summer I get to be all over the place.
After a layover in Atlanta (again), I managed to land in Washington D.C. and successfully found the opening seminar for KFP. This only happened after getting lost on the DC metro system, lugging a 50 lb pound suitcase through DC's humid heat, and breaking said suitcase's handle. Fun.
The opening ceremony/social took place at Crystal City Marriott, and we were given some awesome catering while everyone introduced themselves (school, hometown, studies, where they are working). On top of the fun introductions, we were also given a little goody bag filled with free books(!) and other nice things. Free is always awesome. At my table was some students and Ryan Yonk, professor from Utah State and the Strata organization, and he schooled me on new institutional economic theory, something I wish happened more often.
After having the opening social/ceremony at Crystal City Marriott, we bused over to Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and got housed in the really nice dorms. Everyone chilled out on their own or in groups, and the general evening was pleasantly relaxing after such a busy day. The only let down was when it took two hours for Dominos to deliver. Talk about a market failure...