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GEM Students Visit Washington, D.C.

April 11, 2011

Photo Credit: David Graham

Washington DC Course

Sunday, March 27th, 2011 – Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

The GEM program offers a special topic course to Washington DC each March to provide students with the opportunity to learn about how energy  policy and organizations function in the US. The purpose of the Washington, DC course is to have our students attend briefings on how energy policy and programs are developed, implemented and evaluated, and to link our GEM students with key U.S. government and nonprofit sector officials working in the energy sector in Washington.  Students attended several meetings focusing on the international resources in Washington to learned how significant international energy decisions are made in Washington, DC, and how they are implemented, and evaluated.

Student Perspective: Leslie Baer

There were two key value sources in the DC Course. One was having a window into the Washington process. I consider myself fairly politically—and bureaucratically—savvy. This course was an eye-opener. The level of people with whom we met from government agencies, NGOs, industry groups, representatives’ offices and embassies provided a clear picture of how these entities work together to shape energy in the U.S.

The second key value source was the contacts: we met with 4 representatives from the Department of Energy, 4 from The World Bank Group, 1 from the American Council on an Energy Efficient Economy, 1 from the Brazilian Embassy, 2 from the American Petroleum Institute, 5 from the Bureau of Land Management, a staffer from the Senate Energy Committee, a staffer from Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s office, and Congressman Cory Gardner. Each Course will be different, but the enthusiasm the presenters bring will be high. The willingness of every presenter to be available to support our program is remarkable.

What each student gets from this course will correlate with what that student puts in. I am already pursuing connections at The World Bank Group and was emboldened by our meetings to meet Senator Mark Udall and one of his Science Fellows. More connections and growth will come as I pursue the them. If you want to know how “the system” works, obtain connections at this level, and learn where you might fit in, then this course is invaluable.

Leslie Martel Baer, MA
President, Strategist
Mountain Muse Communications

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