Andre ’14 RSS feed

About Me:

Hi! I'm Andre. I'm a senior double major in Political Science and Spanish at Butler and I'll be graduating in 2014.

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Andre

Nationals Game

Last weekend, for our last weekend seminar on the History of Baseball in the District, we were able to attend a Washington Nationals Game. Although I have a sworn allegiance to the Yankees, I was still able to enjoy the game. They played the St Louis Cardinals so regardless I wouldn’t have cared if any team lost.

The only previous MLB game I’ve attended was the first home game the Yankees won in their new stadium during the regular season. It was really cool seeing a new stadium and going to a professional game during one of the last weekends of the semester.

The funnest part of the game was seeing how different things connected to some of the historical facts we learned in class. We got to understand why the Nationals came to DC from Canada.

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Cryptography

Last week, my class went on a field trip to the National Cryptologic Museum and the National Spy Museum, and they both were great! We had a seminar on Cryptography with a guest professor and it was really enjoyable. It involved a lot of math, which I usually hate and try to run from, but this time it was actually fun.

The National Spy Museum was cool because you were able to assume a different identity and see all different types of real life spy gear and protocol. It blended elements of fiction, in terms of the Bond movies, and reality, in terms of international spy rings. At the end there was a gift shop where you could purchase spy stuff you saw throughout.

The Cryptologic Museum was sponsored by the NSA and showed how cryptography has been used throughout history, even influencing the outcome of war. Being able to see the real life impact of cryptography and spying, was really powerful and made me understand it much more deeply than I previously had.

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Movie Monday: Blue Jasmine

Instead of my usual Music Monday, I’ve decided to do a Movie Monday instead! This week’s movie is Blue Jasmine. It stars Cate Blanchett, who won an Oscar for her role, and Alec Baldwin. Its acclaim, and the fact that renting it was $1 on iTunes, made me decide to watch it. I’m not usually a movie person so it was a nice change.

The movie is beautifully done and, without giving too much away, is basically about a socialite and her downfall into poverty. The movie is by Woody Allen, which has come with its own fair share of controversy, but I tried to watch it through a purely artistic lens and separate the art from the filmmaker and found it enjoyable.

I’d highly recommend viewing. The movie is only 98 minutes so if you’re like me and can’t stand too long movies, then this is perfect for you! I also liked Allen’s previous movie Midnight In Paris as well, which is also a must see, especially for literary lovers.

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Meeting Senator Warren

Last week I got the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite senators, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren is from the state of Massachusetts and was also a professor at Harvard. So when I heard she was having a meet and greet in her office, I jumped at the opportunity!

Warren is pretty well known to political watchers. Some are even urging her to run for President in 2016. She became of a political celebrity after being nationally known for taking a stand on issues for consumer protection after the financial downturn. Here’s a video of her speaking on those issues:

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When I met her, she was extremely nice and we even held a small conversation. It was great seeing how genuinely excited and interested in getting to know everyone at the event. I’m so glad I went and got to meet one of my favorite senators!

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Throwback: National Cathedral

A couple of weeks ago our class visited the National Cathedral and it was a really fun experience. One of the striking things about the building is the cool gothic architecture. It’s such a distinct building and sticks out, which is cool since it’s a couple blocks away from our apartment. Fun note: one of the gargoyles on the building is in the shape of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

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The inside of the building is beautiful as well. One of the stained glass windows actually has a piece of space rock in it from the moon that is over 3 billion years old! It’s hard to tell in the picture but there’s a little black dot in the window and that’s where the rock is.

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There are tons of other things to see inside such as President Wilson’s tomb and Helen Keller is also buried in the building, which is either creepy or cool whichever way you look at it. If you’re in DC, I’d recommend visiting, whether you’re religious or not. It has so many secular and political things as well, Darth Vader & President Wilson included.

State Department Visit

Last week, our class took a field trip to the State Department. Unfortunately, Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Middle East during the time or otherwise I would’ve found a way to take a selfie with him. We got to see a lot of historic architecture and handiwork inside the building as well as some historic artifacts like the desk the Treaty of Paris was signed on.

statedeptWe also got to see the Jefferson room, which is the room our tour guide said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton preferred to have her photo ops with Ambassadors. After the State Department, we got to visit the Foreign Service and hear a talk about overseas work from one of our professor’s friends.

It ended up being an eventful day and I got to see a lot of history, surprisingly up close, that I didn’t expect. Heck, it even made me debate wanting to do international work in the future.

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21st Birthday!

Last week I celebrated my 21st birthday! It was actually really fun, but not in the way you’re thinking. I had a weekend class seminar about Cryptography on my birthday. Our class spent all day visiting the National Spy Museum and the Cryptography Museum. The course involved a lot of puzzles and math and surprisingly I learned a lot about cryptic messages and the history behind them!

Normally people don’t like being in class all day on their birthday but I did considering I got to visit two new museums I wouldn’t have otherwise! Plus, I got all my gifts and texts wishing me a happy birthday throughout the day so it still felt like my big day.

Plus, I don’t work on Fridays so the rest of the day I had free! I took the time to do some shopping with my birthday money and trust me, it was money well spent. The only weird part of the day was not being on campus with all my friends on my birthday but I was still with the Butler group in DC so all is well!

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Saudi Arabian Embassy

Our DC professor Ivo decided to take us on a field trip to the Saudi Arabian Embassy last week and it was a lot of fun! When we first got there, we were able to look around a bit and the building was beautiful inside. There were so many displays and building models to see.

Eventually we were led in a room to watch a short slideshow about Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is definitely one of the most westernized countries in the Middle East and its country’s leaders have had a long history of cooperation and support with the United States. Every single US President has met with the Saudi Arabian leader since FDR.

We ended with a couple of us volunteering to try on traditional Saudi Arabian outfits! I got to try on what men traditionally wear in the country and it was so cool. Most of their outfits are long and flowy because of the extreme heat in the region.

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Hometown Tour

As part of my internship, I am able to give tours to visitors to the office/Capitol and recently I was able to give a tour to a group of students from my local middle school/future attendees of my high school. Some of the kids in the group were even younger siblings of friends I graduated with! It definitely showed me truly how small of a world Earth really is.

I got my group of students and parents, many of whom also went to my high school, and we went through the Capitol Visitor Center and began our tour! We got to see all of the cool rooms and I got to inform them of all of the history of the different parts of the Capitol.

When the tour ended, we all got to catch up and they were able to reunite with the larger group and they all went off to see the rest of DC. It was a nice taste of home seeing them and definitely eased my homesickness!

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Veterans Event

Last week, there was an event on the National Mall honoring all of our veterans that died of suicide as a result of their duty. About 1,892 flags were planted and I got to see all of the volunteers as they were finishing putting the flags on the ground.

I thought it was a great thing to witness and also call attention to. It was so great that they were able to put the flags in front of the Washington monument, a site with so many historic events. The weather was also nicer yesterday so it was perfect timing for the event. I’ve also believed making sure our veterans are being taken care of should be one of the highest priorities our country has.

I was able to go see all of it during my lunch break and I’m so glad I did. There was even an info booth so I could find out more information about the issue and also the group that was sponsoring it.

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