The Washington Center Gala 2011: A Bold Look Ahead

TWC Host Committee members, Honorees, and interns

TWC Host Committee members, Honorees, and interns

By Punch Passport Correspondent Lori González Lazzarini

Last Monday I dressed up and walked just a few blocks over to the National Building Museum in where The Washington Center Gala was being held to commemorate 36 years of providing academic internships in the nation’s capital to students worldwide.

Luke Russert, NBC News Correspondent & Master of Ceremonies

Luke Russert, NBC News Correspondent & Master of Ceremonies

As soon as I walked inside of the National Building Museum for the first time, I was in shock.  This place is so wonderful.  I felt like I was inside of a castle.  It has a big plaza in the middle of the building with golden arcs surrounding it and four Corinthian columns to each side, which are among the largest in the world measuring 75ft.  If you ever have an opportunity to attend an event there, you really should take advantage of it, or just inquire about a tour, but when the venue is dressed up for a function, it’s beyond beautiful.

After I recomposed myself of daydreaming that I’m Rapunzel up in one of those columns.  I kept walking to my table because the seated dinner and program part of the evening were about to begin. I continued to have a dumbfounded look on how everything was decorated so beautiful and magical until I reached my table.

The main area had a big stage in front of all the dining tables in which more than 450 guest were sitting paying attention to Luke Russert, NBC News Correspondent (who is extremely handsome and funny) and the Master of Ceremonies of the Gala who was welcoming everyone to the annual event.  He explained that proceeds from the event will help fund $5 million in scholarships distributed to The Washington Center students each year.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

During the program, The Washington Center paid tribute to the event’s honorees.  Three distinguished political leaders were recognized. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY) and Governor Juan José Sabines Guerrero of the State of Chiapas, Mexico were honored for their continued support to strengthen and foster academic internship experiences in DC and abroad.

Governor Juan José Sabines Guerrero was recognized with the Pillar Award for Civic Engagement in appreciation of his continued dedication to fostering the relationship between Chiapas and The Washington Center. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers received the Pillar Award for Leadership in recognition of the 500 students from Kentucky that have interned in Washington, DC. In honor of Senator Maria Cantwell’s continued support and commitment to hosting and mentoring The Washington Center students over the years, the Senator was the recipient of the Pillar Award for Professional Achievement.

Sarah King and Lori Gonzalez Lazzarini

Sarah King and Lori Gonzalez Lazzarini

East Tennessee State University, Grand Valley State University, Kentucky University System, Suffolk University, and Steve Scully of C-SPAN received this year’s Academic Affairs Award for their continued partnership with The Washington Center and strong commitment to advancing experiential education.

Afterward at the after-party reception, I had the opportunity to meet and socialize with many interesting people.  I even learned that The Washington Center has a program called “Cordova Congressional Program” that is specifically for Puerto Rico college students, which is where I’m from, and this fall there are 19 students participating. I quickly passed along this information, the next day, to everyone back home.

The work that The Washington Center has done for 36 years providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. for academic credit is simply said amazing and really made me wish I could go back in time and be an intern.

For more information please visit: www.twc.edu/

***Post and photos by Punch Passport Correspondent Loreana S. González Lazzarini, gonzalez.loreana@gmail.com, @lory_dc. By day Lori is a CPA at an international accounting firm and when she can, she continues to fill up her passport with her numerous globe trotting travels.***

About Loreana S. González Lazzarini:
Post and photos by Punch Pioneer Correspondent Loreana S. González Lazzarini, gonzalez.loreana@gmail.com, @lory_dc. By day Lori is a CPA at an international accounting firm but has a passion for the entrepreneurial spirit, advanced technology, and the continuing landscape of startups.
TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,