Golf, Area 51, and Waffles: POGO Interns Tell All

POGO was able to accomplish a whole lot more this summer due to having three powerhouse interns in the office: Alex Bland, Jimmy Budnick, and Rick D’Amato. The POGO Watercooler took a few minutes to find out what the interns learned this summer, who is the best golfer, and what tips they have for future POGO interns.

Alex Bland

How much golf did you play in the POGO office this summer?

A lot, but only in the intern room. ;)

I’ve heard stories about a POGO PGA tourney, and hope it comes to fruition.

What was your favorite experience at POGO this summer?

I was really happy that I was allowed to spend so much time researching and writing various things. Both of the other internships I’ve had involved a lot less actual work, and the work I did do was far less interesting than Area 51 and the other issues POGO deals with.

Where is your favorite place to eat in DC?

I found this little seedy diner “Lincoln’s Waffle Shop” around the corner that has great banana pancakes.

How has this internship shaped your future plans?

It solidified my government major. POGO showed me just how much work needs to be done to fix our government.

Jimmy Budnick

What was your favorite experience at POGO this summer?

My favorite experience was getting to see Danielle testify before Congress, especially at one of the MMS hearings where she was testifying right after the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. Also, Breakfast Day was a lot of fun—everyone was a lot more excited for the staff meeting since there were waffles.

How much golf did you play in the POGO office this summer?

Enough to know that I should stay in college and not try to go on the PGA tour.  A helpful hint for future interns is that the floor in the aquarium (the room where POGO interns set up shop) is slanted so the ball hooks left.

What surprised you at POGO?

I was really surprised by how laid back the office is. One day you could be in business attire because you’re going to a congressional hearing, and the next day you could be in flip flops and a polo. And it’s definitely easier to get work done when you’re comfortable.

What not-free DC activities did you like best?

Going to the congressional baseball game after work was a lot of fun.  The stadium was split with Democrats on the left and Republicans on the right, and it was amusing to watch all the old Congressmen try to play baseball.  Some of them were actually pretty good.

What advice would you give to a future POGO summer intern?

Take advantage of the city, especially if you’re not from the area.  DC is a relatively cheap city for tourists with free museums and a relatively cheap metro system, so get out there and see the city.

Rick D’Amato

How much golf did you play in the POGO office this summer?

Enough to become a POGO PGA champion as soon as Chris sets up the tournament.

What was your favorite experience at POGO this summer?

My favorite experiences have been going to a bill signing at the White House and going to POGO’s Muckraker Happy Hour and meeting so many interesting journalists, staffers, and non-profit workers.

What surprised you at POGO?

I was surprised by how everyone who works at POGO manages to be relaxed and fun while simultaneously being so passionate and dedicated in working toward good government. That combination really helps create an ideal work environment.

How has this internship shaped your future plans?

This internship has given me a greater appreciation of how government works, and in particular, given POGO’s nature, how much influence citizens really can have with enough teamwork, passion, motivation, and effort. Working at POGO has given me a firsthand look at how non-profits, Congress, and government agencies all work together to make changes that impact our world. The internship has inspired me to continue pursuing a career in government or public service in order to have a positive impact on my community, country, and world.

What advice would you give to a future POGO summer intern?

Take the initiative in asking for work, always say “yes” to projects (you’ll learn a lot and they’ll usually turn out to be interesting), and practice your putting game before you start your internship.

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One Response to “Golf, Area 51, and Waffles: POGO Interns Tell All”

  1. Timon 12 Aug 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Who is Danielle? Is she the fourth intern who didn’t golf and therefore was not interviewed?

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