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Lexie Shah

Lexie Shah had a practical reason for spending her summer with the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: she’s from there. “As a Canadian, it’s really nice to look at U.S./Canada relations from the perspective of being in Washington,” she tells us. While her summer focused primarily on various research projects, Lexie made the most of her DC experience, attending a wide array of events at think tanks and agencies throughout the area. We discuss that, her museum trips, and more in her summer profile.

What areas of public policy interest you?

My main project for the summer was to conduct research on a contested freeway in the Arctic between Canada and the U.S. One of the key issues there is climate change. The issue has been reinvigorated by the fact that climate change is melting the ice in the north, which is opening up trade passages and new areas for economic opportunity. That’s something I’m super interested in. I’m a Public Policy Research Scholar, and my policy tract is energy and the environment, so my work this summer really compliments that.

I’m also really interested in tech policy. We had a round table event with Amazon a few weeks ago, looking at Cloud based services and the fin-tech industry in Canada, and how policy is framing those conversations. Overall, it was a very interesting event about a topic I care very much about.

What does a typical day in DC look like for you?

I wake up at 7am, get ready, and listen to a few daily news podcasts; typically NPR, the New York Times, things like that. I get to work around 8:30, open up some Canadian news sources, and browse the news for the day. For interesting stories I find, I create tweets, submit them for approval, and then get them scheduled for posting to our Twitter. The rest of the day is typically very fluid. Most of the time I’ll be working on my own independent research. At the beginning of my internship, that involved a lot of looking at the Arctic, but now it’s more about the upcoming Canadian federal election. I go for lunch around noon with the other interns, which typically involves some heated debates about American politics. I look forward to those discussions everyday. Then in the afternoon, I continue working on my research, or anything else that my supervisors need. As of late, I’ve been making calls for our awards dinner in October, following up with the invitees about any questions or concerns that they may have. After work, I go home, make dinner, and have spent these past few weeks working on a paper for school. Since I’m an international student, I’m required to do an independent study to get legal authorization to work in the U.S. over the summer, so part of the course I created involved writing an essay on Canada/U.S. relations, and discussing how they’ve shifted in over the last few years.

Have there been any surprises regarding living and working as an intern in DC?

I was positively surprised about the fact that there are always events happening and a lot of them are free, which is really good for a student on a budget. Something I really love about my internship is that my supervisors are really flexible in giving me the time to go to interesting events during the workday. I’ve gone to dozens here at the Wilson Center and at other think tanks, learning about various geopolitical issues or international relations related issues. It’s opened my mind to different policy areas that I wouldn’t have even thought of, and helped me get out of the bubble of Canada/U.S. relations.

Name one object that you brought with you to DC that reflects your personality.

I have this necklace that I wear everyday that I got when I graduated from high school, and it’s just a really nice reminder of home. I haven’t been back to Toronto very often this summer, and I definitely feel a little homesick, so the necklace is a nice reminder of my family and friends in Canada.

In 10 years, what will you remember about living and working in DC?

Ten years from now, I think the biggest thing I’ll remember are the relationships that I’ve built here. I think living in DC, especially as an intern, there are a lot of networking opportunities. Those are great, but I think what really made my experience at the Wilson Center unique and positive was the fact that there are so many interns and we’ve all become really, really good friends. They’re what has made this one of the best summer experiences of my life.

Give an example of an experience that signifies why you came to DC.

I’ve always been interested in doing an internship or a semester in Washington, DC. From an outsiders perspective, I saw it as this hub of political activity, and I felt that I wanted to be at the center of it all. I chose this internship because I’m unique in the fact that I am Canadian but go to school in the States, so I wanted to bridge that gap and reflect on who I am. Being in DC working with a group that focuses on Canada relations fits me perfectly.

What is one tourist attraction or thing outside of work that you are excited about?

Every weekend since I’ve been in DC, I’ve tried to go some of the Smithsonian museums. I think it’s such a shame if you’re here for the summer and not going, because they’re both amazing and free. The new African American History Museum is fantastic. I’m the type of museum goer that reads every single word on every single exhibit, trying to absorb the information as best I can, and it took me two whole days to go through the exhibits there. Museums are a part of what makes this city unique and full of history, and they make me really excited to go out on the weekends and learn.

What does being an intern in DC mean to you?

I think that being an intern in DC is almost like a symbiotic relationship. DC runs on interns, and a lot of them are unpaid, so we’re volunteering our time and our energy to help make all of these institutions, companies, and government agencies function. While that’s a really empowering thing for us to contribute towards, we also get a lot out of it this experience. We learn so much as it relates to policy, how to interact in a work environment, how to network and find new opportunities, and how to get outside your typical scope of learning and knowledge. For me, personally, I learned a lot about myself: what I like and dislike about an internship, what I like and don’t like about living in a city, how to be independent. It has really helped shape my ideas for the future. It’s truly an experience that is unforgettable, and has left a mark and influence on what I’ll do in the future. I know a lot of my future will involve bilateral Canada/U.S. relations, and that in part is because of this summer.

WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
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  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
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  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>