Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wouldn’t trade this experience for the world

It's been a hectic last couple of weeks in DC and at Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Last week was our 2018 National Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Conference in Baltimore. I've been to a few different conferences in my college career, but I was never behind the scenes for them.

It's a ridiculous amount of planning and coordination. Making name tags, registering attendees, putting together packets, confirming with speakers is just the short list of things we did in preparation.

The conference lasted three days, and we had over 300 attendees from 45 different states and territories throughout the week. I had the unique honor of getting to run around the plenary session with a microphone during the "Question and Answer" time. This was probably my favorite part, because it was a very visible position.

The conference was exhausting but worth every second. I got to wine and dine with industry professionals, sit in a few breakout sessions and learn about juvenile justice successes across the country. I got to meet keynote speaker Cara Drinan, who wrote an incredible book about youth incarceration.

Now, for outside of work activities, the list goes on. I took a bus and train home for Thanksgiving to celebrate with my family, went to a Washington Post live chat about criminal justice reform, went axe throwing with my boss and coworkers (an amazing stress relief, I definitely recommend), went to a sports bar, walked around Georgetown twice, got brunch (more than once), ate incredible macaroons, went to happy hour, watched a beautiful sunset in NoMa, celebrated Dia de los Muertos at the National Portrait Gallery, met up with friends from Bloomsburg, went to global festival at TWC, and ate an embarrassing amount of gyros and teriyaki chicken from food trucks near my office.

All in all, this experience has changed my life. I found direction, and I found my passion working with youth justice reform and helping provide equitable outcomes for at-risk youth.

I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world and would extend my stay here indefinitely if I could. I have met so many wonderful people from all around the country and world, and I hope I will get to see them again in the near future. It's been an incredible few months down in our nation’s capital, but it’s time to come home and finish up my four years at Bloomsburg then graduate in May.

Thank you so much to The Washington Center, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and Bloomsburg University for bringing me to this point. Go Huskies!!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies major #ProfessionalU

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