To Infinity and Beyond…

Chris Day, WIP Class 2012, talks about the week he met Charles Bolden, Head Administrator of NASA

Yet another week has whizzed by and again I have been left gob smacked!

A severe thunderstorm, the 4th of July BBQ and fireworks that went with it. Meeting the Head Administrator of NASA, not to mention the US Secretary of The Navy and a reception at the Republican Parties very own Capitol Hill Club.  It’s been an impressive and inspiring week to say the least. I am loving life right now.

After our mini hurricane and lack of power for several days, you’d imagine it would be a pretty awful week! But it was probably the best for me so far!

Thursday night saw the US Naval Academy hosted at the Irish Ambassadors Residence. As an Army Reserve Private at home, I have always been enthralled with everything military – so I was in heaven surrounded by some of the most influential and experienced Naval leaders in the US. They oozed confidence and certainty and carried themselves with such pride.

However, they were of course there on official business; to celebrate their up coming American Football game against ‘The Fighting Irish’ – Notre Dame. It’s to be played at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and will see more than 30,000 fans make the transatlantic trip. The Naval Academy were lucky enough to receive a supportive video message from Taoiseach Enda Kenny which was naturally met with an explosion of GO NAVY! cheers.

Speaking with both young and old leaders at this event really gave me an understanding into their way of life and management styles through sheer dedication, loyalty and respect. They have an unfaltering attitude, which is to be admired.

Superintendent of the Academy, Vice Admiral Michael Miller was fascinating. He served as a fighter pilot in several combat deployments as well as commanding several strike groups and operations in the Persian Gulf, including Operation Desert Storm. He even served as Deputy Assistant to the White House Military Office and Deputy Military Assistant to the US President.  I was casually talking to him about American Football and what restaurants to go to when he visits Ireland – It’s surreal!

Fellow WIPper Johnny Campion was at the event with me and we were fortunate enough to meet Charles Bolden, Administrator of NASA and his family. We were introduced as ‘The WIP Interns’ from Ireland and he immediately wanted to know all about us. This guy is a four time space traveler and personally launched the Hubble probe… He’s the Head Of NASA… AND he wanted to know about us? It’s crazy! Granted we have the Emerald Isle accents to our advantage, but I put it down to the outright power and influence of the Washington Ireland Program. Neither of us would ever have had such a privilege or opportunity without WIP and I am just so overwhelmingly thankful for it.

An intense week of interning was met with a great weekend of celebration. It was brilliant to finally get out and support the Washington Nationals Baseball team play at home. I didn’t know what all the hype was about before seeing it for myself, but now I get it. We also managed to squeeze in a Coldplay concert at the Verizon Centre on Sunday night! EXCELLENT wouldn’t even describe how it was! Our seats were an arms reach from the stage, which certainly didn’t disappoint!

All and all, I had another magnificent week as apart of the WIP Class 2012! I couldn’t be happier here!

As I write this, we are pulling off the freeway on our bus to New York and I can now see the city buildings! We’re getting close so I better be off! Stay tuned – this is bound to be another heavy hitting week!