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Armando J. Santiago

Carolina, PR

Armando J. Santiago Pintado - Entry 4

July 15, 2009


As a young Latino, interning in Washington, D.C., how do you feel watching the confirmation hearing for the first possible Hispanic on the United States Supreme Court?

Proud! In my mind, there is not the slightest doubt that Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and go on to be the first Hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court.

I'm reminded of a slogan used by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company during the 1990's, "Puerto Rico lo hace mejor." What better way to prove that slogan right than by having the first Hispanic sitting on the Bench be of Puerto Rican descent! I also feel fortunate. I will have the privilege to tell my children, and my children's children, that I was there. I was working on the Hill at the time when the Senate was drilling Judge Sonia Sotomayor in the historic confirmation hearings that will soon lead her and the Supreme Court on to a period as historic as that of Justice Thurgood Marshall's years on the Bench. ¡Vamos Sonia! ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

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Armando J. Santiago - Entry 2

June 29, 2009

What has been the most challenging moment during your first three weeks of the internship?

I quickly realized that the level of professionalism required of government officials and staff is much greater than I anticipated. Regardless of warning and training prior to working with our Congressional offices, my professional demeanor was still somewhat rough around the edges. However, it is still a work in progress.

What has been the coolest moment during the first three weeks of your internship?

Seeing, meeting, and interacting with international dignitaries; running into the men and women leading the legislative branch of this government; all of which took place in my first two days of work at Capitol Hill. Just recently, I also met and talked with prominent political figures from Puerto Rico.

What experience has most inspired you thus far and why?

Recently, I have been somewhat uncertain as to the best path to take for achieving my life-long dreams. However, a recent conversation with a greatly admired Puerto Rican political figure, cast away all doubt. We spoke of his past experiences and my future plans: the similarities were both exhilarating and encouraging.

If you had to make up a slogan, ten words or less, that represents your internship experience thus far, what would it be?

Work for it. Go for it. The time is now!

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Armando J. Santiago - Entry 1

June 19, 2009

Please describe your first week in Washington, D.C.

Work.

As students, we tend to throw this word around carelessly. I have certainly caught myself underestimating the true load of the word in a professional setting. The hours, I thought, were definitely a lot more manageable than our college class and homework schedule. "How bad can an 8-hour day really be?"

If there was ever a time when the expression "Ignorance is bliss" could be used, this would be it. Even as interns, the amount of work we do is but an infinitesimal portion of the work done by a single staff member in a congressional office. However, an 8-hour day is enough to drain my energy to the extent that I depend on those cozy naps on the Metro ride home to be able to cook dinner, take a shower, and sleep a few hours; only to rinse and repeat the next day.

As a student, I had enough time and energy left over after class to go to the gym, take on extra-curriculars, and hold a part-time job. Needless to say, those days seem like distant memories of a sedentary life.

However, the kind of experiences, knowledge, exposure and opportunities that have been offered to me through this internship program are priceless, and they are certainly well worth the struggle and difficulty in the challenges that they bring.

I like to think of myself as someone who thrives under pressure, so I look forward to the lessons to be learned from these new challenges. If I had to narrow down this first week to a single word, that word would be "Humility."

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