By Samantha Morales (3L), who is interning with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. this summer
As an intern for the Disability Rights Office of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., Christina Hebert (2L)
is definitely making the most of her summer opportunities.
Like typical interns, Hebert begins her day at the office checking emails and preparing for the day's assignments. But her days are anything but typical. Unless there is an interpreter available, email is the primary form of communication between Hebert and her boss Craig Hlibok, who is deaf.
Hebert knew she would spend her days researching and writing on policy making in connection with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Innovation Initiative. More specifically, she is reviewing compliance under Section 255 of the Communications Act as well as closed captioning exemption petitions. What she was not expecting was getting published!
“Seeing my work actually being published and seeing it have an impact on legislation has been the most exciting part of interning for the FCC,” says Hebert.
Her work has been key to explaining the FCC's jurisdiction over state and privately run prisons that are out of compliance with
“Currently, prisons have little or no recognition for services for hearing and speech impaired individuals,” she explained. “They need access to equipment and it’s either not there or inmates are being charged 3-4 times the (normal) rate for using it.”
Outside of work, Hebert can be found sightseeing in the D.C. area or setting foot on foreign soil by visiting one of the many foreign embassies. Hebert has attended lavish receptions filled with music and fine dining in the company of Saudi Arabian, Austrian, Greek and Dominican Republic Ambassadors.
“Austria's reception was the most royal and elegantly presented event with tuxedos, floor length dresses and ballroom dancing,” described Hebert.
“Saudi Arabia has been one of the most eye opening experiences. The Ambassador and his attaché were very glib about the equal rights of women in the Saudi culture, noting that women are allowed to wear whatever they want to wear – within the house - but they must dawn their birkas when they step outside the house.”
Compared to San Diego, where it is very laid back and diverse, Hebert has found her time in D.C. to be very insightful. “Diversity is an actual issue and people have a different mindset here,” she shared.
Hebert highly recommends that her TJSL peers leave San Diego for opportunities in cities like Washington, D.C.
“Do it! Absolutely do it! Bottom line – it gives you exposure to the mindset the rest of the nation holds. You'll get a breath of exposure of what it means to be an American that you won't get by just staying in San Diego.