Caroline Chevat joined POGO in May 2012 as an intern. Hailing from Potomac, MD, Caroline attends the University of Michigan, where she’s double majoring in political science and psychology and is heavily involved with the Dance Marathon student-run nonprofit. The Watercooler talked with Caroline about the environment at POGO, her concert addiction, and the difficulties of choosing a favorite cupcake shop.
Caroline Chevat: I decided to go to Michigan because at that point, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so Michigan, being one of the biggest schools ever, had … a lot of things to choose from. I also just went to visit and fell in love with it, and I also just wanted to get away from the East Coast for a little bit, but my parents weren’t really up for letting me go any further.
Watercooler: Give us a D.C. insider tip—somewhere neat to go that’s not as well-known.
CC: I’m addicted to concerts. I’ve already been to four this summer. The Red Palace [and] the Black Cat are two places that are kind of less known. And also, Jazz in the Garden is a great thing if you like jazz … that’s at the [National Gallery] Sculpture Garden. And honestly, just walking around and talking to people is kind of the fun part. That’s how you get to know people.
Watercooler: What’s the best part of working at POGO?
CC: I really like the environment here because everyone’s very laid back but very intense about what they do, which I think is a great balance that you don’t find at a lot of places. I never feel afraid to ask questions, whereas in other places, I know my friends might be reluctant to ask or feel like, “Oh, they don’t want to talk to me,” but I know everyone here is willing to help.
Watercooler: What project have you enjoyed working on the most?
CC: What I’ve been working on a lot here is different types of conflicts of interest. For example, I’m doing an FDA [Food and Drug Administration] conflict of interest project, looking at the advisory committees and seeing whether they vote for something based on a conflict of interest they had with a corporation that was producing a competing drug. It’s really interesting to see how you might never know what they were actually thinking at the time, but maybe you can kind of put the pieces together to try to figure it out.
Watercooler: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CC: I still haven’t decided, but I’ll probably go on to some other degree. I’ll probably still be on the East Coast. All my family’s from here, so I don’t think I could go too far. I honestly have no idea. I love trying new things and traveling and experiencing new things, so I just can’t even imagine myself settled down.
Watercooler: What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
CC: In high school, I got the opportunity to go to Israel. For January through March of my senior year, I was taking classes there with other American students. We really got immersed in the culture, and what was cool was it was kind of like a Jewish heritage course, because I’m Jewish, so you’d learn about this Biblical story or some historical event, and then the next day, they’d be like, “We’re gonna go here, and this is where this battle happened.” It puts it in such perspective, which is what I really enjoyed about that.
Watercooler: We hear you’re a cupcake connoisseur. Where are the best cupcakes in D.C.?
CC: Some people are frosting people, some people are cake people, so it really does depend on the person. I really love Crumbs, not just because they are downstairs next to our office, but it’s just like a mini cake. I also really enjoy Sprinkles. That’s in Georgetown. … I really love cupcakes. I just love junk food. I’m bad. That’s what’s going to happen when I’m 30: I’m going to realize I ate too many cupcakes in my 20s and have to start working out!