Portfolio of Improvement

By: Maddie Miller

Washington D.C. proved to be an amazing experience for me, opening my eyes to some of the realities of America’s government structure, as well as exposing me to a culture I had no experience with.

I have greatly grown on this trip; one of the ways that I have seen this is through my blog posts. In the beginning my blog posts addressed relevant materials, and often left the reader with anecdotal information. This was the start of a challenge in writing for me, as I typically write academic pieces that have minimal personal information. As my time in D.C. was an incredibly reflective time, it guided me to incorporate that in my writing for the blog as is seen in “Are You Sending Out Invitations?” This blog post in particular tried to incorporate the theme of our academic seminar with The Washington Center as I connected the monument tour with the need for connection through civil discourse. Following a midterm review meeting with the instructors, I was further able to improve as I worked to make my blog posts even more substantive, drawing deeper connections between those from the academic lectures and outside sources. This can be seen in my blog entry “Economics: Many Choices to Make” as I researched the Republican and Democratic party platforms to highlight some of the different theories that were being discussed in the morning session. This allowed me to explore new concepts in a different frame than I had previously in this course, while still remaining relatively non-partisan, which was a goal of mine during the trip.

This course from a technology standpoint pushed me to improve everyday. I had never blogged before, let alone worked with WordPress. I learned a new set of lingo just to be able to function within the class, such as ‘featured image’ or ‘tag’ in relation to blogging.

DC 2017 Library of Congress.jpg

The Library of Congress (Picture Credit: Maddie Miller)

This also challenged me to take pictures that I thought could be useful later for my posts. When thinking about this, many of my images focused on trying to capture the beauty of the architecture, or a unique perspective that not everyone has the opportunity to see. One such image was the ceiling at the Library of Congress, that had a statue holding a lamp. This photo represented to me the immense amount of detail that was put into creating such an amazing resource.

My participation remained constant, as I was attentive and thoughtful in my shared thoughts and responses to peers.I also sought out opportunities outside of the course, such as attending a Gladys Knight concert at the Kennedy Center in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


This was another one of my favorite photos, as the architecture and my amazement at being present for the concert at the Kennedy Center seemed to align perfectly. (Picture Credit: Maddie Miller)

D.C. and this course taught me to push myself, and from that I gained so much more than I could have ever anticipated.

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