By Amita Chauhan
During my first week in DC, I read this powerful inscription on the granite walls that wrapped around at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Ten weeks later, as my internship with Cal in the Capital comes to a close, I realize this bend is not inevitable. Rather, it is the work of resolute public servants who push this arc in the right direction.
As an intern at the Office of International Affairs in the Department of Justice, I gained first-hand exposure to the work done to promote justice in the international realm. OIA works with foreign authorities and domestic law enforcement agencies on fugitive extradition and mutual legal assistance. My internship has reaffirmed my interest in international law, but more significantly, it has helped me develop the skills necessary to excel in this field. In addition to gaining institutional knowledge, I have refined my research and writing skills. Moreover, I have learned the importance of demonstrating a commitment to putting forth my best effort in each assignment I take on.
I am incredibly grateful for the Cal in the Capital program. Without it, I would not have had access to the network of alumni that provided me with invaluable guidance during my time in D.C. I also wouldn’t have had the chance to meet and make friends with UC Berkeley students interested in diverse social, political, and economic issues. Cal in the Capital remains a critical program for Berkeley students because it supplements the academic rigor of Berkeley with extensive preparation for a career in public service.
As I prepare my luggage to return to Berkeley, I know I will miss colleagues at the office and my Cal in the Capital cohort. However, I am also excited for what tomorrow holds. After this transformative summer, I look forward to continuing to work to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice.
Through Cal in the Capital, Berkeley students from all majors, backgrounds, and areas of interest are able to intern in Washington, D.C. during the summer. Since 1965, Cal in the Capital interns have contributed more than 1.6 million hours of service in over 400 professional settings, including government agencies, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, media centers, and more, preparing them for careers in public service. Students can participate in CITC through the Public Service Center. There are a number of ways for parents, guardians, and families to help provide more public service opportunities.