Hi there! My name is Sean Dunshee, and I’m the new Digital Marketing/Social Media intern. I’m a senior at BYU, majoring in communications with an emphasis in advertising. Before coming here, I interned for a software training company and an ad agency in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is where I’m from. I love getting experience in all things marketing, because it allows me to develop a wide set of skills, and see the bigger picture. I couldn’t be happier to be working and learning with everyone at the Smithsonian Associates! The Smithsonian Institution seriously is #SeriouslyAmazing.
This is my first time in D.C. and it has been a very rich experience so far.
I was able to live-tweet a panel discussion about the Supreme Court’s cases for the new term. It was a very unique opportunity for me. The last event I live-tweeted was a BYU lacrosse game, and I found that tweeting the status of a debate on critical issues wasn’t quite as simple as tweeting about goals and game stats.
Me and my wife Paige in front of The White House.
It was in the S. Dillon Ripley Center, so I didn’t have to travel far from my desk to get there. The program was sold-out, and the auditorium was packed with people taking notes. The panel of legal experts included Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who represents the United States before the Supreme Court; Joan Biskupic, who has covered the Supreme Court since 1989, as a correspondent for the Washington Post and USA Today; Jeff Wall, who is the Co-Head of the Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s Appellate Litigation Practice; and Catherine Carroll, whose practice spans a wide range of issues of federal law. Kannon Shanmugam, partner at Williams & Connolly, was the moderator.
The first issue discussed was equal employment. It’s a hot topic because it involves discrimination in cases of age, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Carroll pointed out that this issue is getting a lot of attention because it’s a collision of social and business cases. The issue of race and education was brought up as well, as University of Texas and Harvard cases were referenced.
The panel went on to discuss the controversy surrounding Texas’ legislative districts, as “one person, one vote” raises questions about voting rights and population equality. Concerns with California’s labor unions and collective bargaining were mentioned, as well as the debate of energy consumption– both issues involving business and government. The raging moral debate about abortion rights was also discussed. Biskupic said, “2016 is going to be more socially charged on the election floor.”
Donald Verrilli Jr, Joan Biskupic, Jeff Wall, Catherine Carroll, Kannon Shanmugam (left - right).
The expert commentary from the panel was very engaging, and they opened up for questions from the audience at end of the program. When asked how the Supreme Court chooses which cases to intervene in, Verrilli responded, “We make the judgments where the interest of the U.S. lies.”
Live-tweeting at such a politically charged event was fitting assignment for my first week as an intern in Washington, D.C. One element I love about interning with the Smithsonian Associates is that I have the opportunity to be involved in a wide variety of programs. I hope that many of the things I learn and experience this fall in D.C. will rub off on me, and help me become a better-rounded person. It’s a great time to be here!