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Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

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CARTA in DC Communication Interns Tour the Capitol as Guests of Congressman Curbelo

Fall Semester’s CARTA in Washington, D.C., Communication Interns were guests of Congressman Carlos Curbelo’s office for an informative chat with Press Assistant Mason Di Palma, who outlined the challenges of modern communications in the fast-paced legislative world.

Communication interns Mauro di Pietro, Safiyah Baxter, Tamara Kacy-Cornwall, and Nareemah Griffith, as well as Washington News Bureau student Leo Cosio, also got an insider’s look at building a communication-related career in Washington. Di Palma shared his career trajectory, which included previous internships and a stint on his campus newspaper, and encouraged the CARTA interns to network and take advantage of all that a DC experience has to offer.

The Department of Communication places interns each semester in a variety of challenging locations across Washington, including The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, The Smithsonian Institution, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, and Young People For. Students work four days a week and have Friday free for enrichment sessions–like this opportunity at the Capitol–or at the offices of FIU in DC, which is just a few blocks from the Capitol.

Safiyah Baxter was interested in how Di Palma’s job was affected by the upcoming midterm elections–which has surely ramped up the intensity of constituent communication within the Capitol. “You have to think from a strategic standpoint,” Di Palma said.

And much of that messaging has to be quickly produced and placed on the best platform–and even some new ones not commonly associated with the gravitas a congressman usually projects. “On a day-to-day basis, I handle the congressman’s social media–Facebook and Twitter,” said Di Palma. And with a smile, he added, “and we’re working on getting him into Snapchat.”

The interns left with a great sense that there were even greater opportunities to make a difference in D.C., and that opportunities lead to further opportunities. “There is so much you can do with a communication degree here on the Hill,” Di Palma said. FIU staff and our DC-based alumni network make it possible for our students to meet with professionals from many sectors, and from both sides of the aisle. Also meeting with visiting FIU students last week was the Press Secretary for Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.

After a quick photo by Congressman Curbelo’s desk, the morning was capped off by a Capitol building tour, led by staff intern Xavier Lopez.

Interested in learning more about the CARTA in D.C. Communication Department Washington Internship Program? Contact Gabby Portela (dportela@fiu.edu) or John Sotham (jsotham@fiu.edu)

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