Here are some more photos from my visit to Quantico Marine Base and the HMX-1 hangar. 

IAC Freshmen Survival Guide- Move In Day

Who is ready to carry some boxes up 3 flights of stairs!? I am! Just kidding… But ready or not, move in day is quickly approaching, and that means it’s time for a new batch of freshmen on campus (you)! If you’re a new freshman to this blog, let me introduce myself. I’m Ariana, and I’ve written a whole bunch of advice blogs for freshmen on this tumblr page, and I’m excited that I have a new group of freshmen to talk to! If you’ve seen this blog before (whether in your FASET packet or from the GT Liberal Arts Twitter), it’s time for some more advice. So, how do you get through move in? It’s easy…

There are going to be TONS of people running around helping freshmen move in. It’s partly because GT students love to help out their fellow classmates and partly because we live in a busy city and cars can only be parked for so long before they need to be unpacked and moved to a less congested area. The people are there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask them to carry your futon! I only had to make one trip when I was a freshman because there were so many people helping. My muscles were very thankful since I lived on the third floor. 

One thing to keep in mind while moving in is that dorm rooms are tiny. There’s no way to sugar-coat it. Don’t bring things you don’t need. That includes people. And because the room is small, I recommend talking to your roommate and planning to move in a few hours apart so that there aren’t 10 people trying to maneuver around the room (parents, roommates, brothers, sisters, grandparents, childhood friends, blah blah). 

One thing that I cannot stress enough is to keep your door open on move-in day. There will be all sorts of people roaming the hallways: new hall mates, PL’s, maintenance helpers, tech helpers. Introduce yourself to your hall mates as soon as possible. Make a good first impression! Plus, I’d recommend that you ask a few to grab dinner that night. The first night is always the scariest, but it can also be a ton of fun. There’s no homework yet, and nobody knows anybody. Make the most of it and make friends that could last forever (sounds corny, but I still talk to my “first night friends” on a regular basis). 

I’m not going to lie and say that move in day is easy. It isn’t. You’re leaving your family, friends, and hometown and moving to a new, unknown place. Keep your mind busy by setting up your room the way you like it. And if you’re bored or lonely, walk into the hallway or lounge. Your Peer Leaders will be leading some get-togethers to encourage everyone to meet each other. Participating and putting yourself out there will make the night much more enjoyable. Move in day is the beginning of a wonderful adventure: life as a Georgia Tech Liberal Arts student! 

Quantico Continued…

All Marines know Quantico as the “Crossroads of the Marine Corps.”

The smallest branch of the US armed forces is the Marine Corps. The Marines are usually the first “boots on the ground” and there are less than 10,000 colonels in the Marine Corps. Each Marine eventually trains at Quantico, and I believe it after seeing it fist-hand. During our lunch break, we got to chat with a vast group of Marines currently training at Quantico. All of the Marines I talked to were finishing their 10 week leadership courses and came from different backgrounds. Some enlisted in high school, one was already a graduate with his masters, and another was an ROTC cadet.  All of the Marines were headed in different directions: one woman to Okinawa, one woman was an intelligence officer headed to their new offices located at Quantico, and the two men were still awaiting their assignments for their infantry stations. 

After chatting with the Marines we got to see one of their lecture hall and learn about the importance of mapping. In the middle of each lecture hall there are elevated sandboxes. The instructors use these sandboxes to illustrate missions on different terrains and there are several smaller sandboxes in the room necessary for the groups of students to practice themselves. This talent is necessary for learning how to map in the field where instead of sandboxes they will use whatever they have on their person, the ground under there feet, sticks, leaves, and whatever they can get their hands on. 

Later we went to the Marine Helicopter Squadron-1 (HMX-1). HMX-1 is responsible for the transportation of the President, Vice President, Cabinet Members, and other VIP guests.


Their headquarters are located at Quantico, and we were fortunate enough to chat and get a tour with current HMX-1 pilots. These pilots are the best in the business and compete for a position with HMX-1. One of the most memorable things from the trip was one of the pilots talking about transporting the President. He said HMX-1 is probably the most photographed helicopter in the world, and as the crew responsible for the craft, the HMX-1 team are probably the most photographed troops in the country. He glowed as he talked about how privileged and thrilling it is to stand next to the President as he walks by or sit in the cockpit as the President exits the aircraft. As Marines, it is their job to ensure his safety, but also to ensure they look professional in the photos- so no smiling or giggling, especially if they do not want to be mocked by their fellow Marines. 

Later he talked about how each President is different in their respective manner towards the Marines. He said most Presidents are sure to shake the hand of each Marine on their exit of the vehicle. Former President George H. W. Bush made sure to greet, shake hands, and chat with each Marine prior to the flight. These stories oozed from each Marine with a mixture of joy, modesty, and mostly pride.

We did not get to see the President’s helicopter (It is a highly classified and restricted area, obviously), but we did get to see and photograph an MV-22B Osprey. This aircraft has two, not one but two, Rolls-Royce engines and is manufactured by Boeing. These helicopters were AMAZING!image



Following the tour of the HMX-1 hangar, we proceeded to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. This museum was one of the most brilliantly designed museums as well as most informative. Even if you are not interested in the Marine Corps, the museum had great history to read about, and the design work made it a pleasure to experience. I highly encourage everyone to visit if they can! Here is the link to the museum:

This trip was amazing, and I learned so much. Thank you to everyone who served or is serving in the Marine Corps, and a huge thank you to everyone in the U.S. armed forces!

Quantico Marine Base Field Visit

On July 23, 2014, the WHS group that oversees interns organized an amazing trip for current DoD interns to visit and participate in demonstrations at the Marine Corps base at Quantico.

This experience taught us the core values of the Marine Corps, he different leadership tracks for creating US Marines, and the necessary skills needed during deployments and enemy engagements. 

While at Quantico, all of the interns got to participate in an M-16 virtual training exercise. We held actual M-16s (with air compressed magazines, not live ammunition) and practiced target shooting in real combat scenarios. During my trial, I heard the Marine say, “Beware not to shoot civilians,” but sure enough I was that person that committed the crime against humanity who shot a very disruptive civilian who pulled a black flag from behind his back (not a gun). It was definitely embarrassing, but it was amazing hearing the reactions from the Marines. They take their practices very seriously and understand that people make mistakes, however Marines do not. The Marines have very specific demonstrations to train each Marine to handle those situations and prevent committing Crimes Against Humanity. While this is definitely common knowledge, it was amazing hearing about their structured lesson plans to train these men and women, and I got goosebumps talking to current enlisted Marines describe their experiences. 

Secondly, we participated in a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), commonly known as the Humvee, virtual exercise. Our group split into four Humvee teams and attempted to patrol one of the Iraqi desert hazard areas. The desert and Humvees were located in these large white containers that resembled small metal warehouses. Within each container was a small tractor trailed with the virtual machines inside. Inside there were 8 screens and 8 projectors to project a 360 degree view for the simulation. This was some of the best technology I have ever seen required to make, basically, a real-life video game. Each team had a driver, team leader (radio coordinator), top gunner on the 50-cal located at the top of the Humvee, and a shooter in the back with a smaller machine gun. Each individual in the Humvee also possessed their own M-16. Again, these weapons were actual weapons but the ammo was fake and with sensors not live ammunition. THANK GOODNESS!

The exercise took about 30 minutes and included being approached by foreign aggressive and non-aggressive vehicles, shot at by civilians, within range of IEDs, and etc. It was CRAZY. After the exercise, we talked with a few Marines and the operators of the simulators. They said that the heat from the computers and outside temperatures tend to cause computer malfunctions, and the computers themselves can have problems any time; while describing the malfunctions of the hardware, they indicated that this doesn’t bother them because it is another necessary aspect to training. When computers break-down or the simulation gets glitchy it somewhat simulates a situation where while in the field if your equipment malfunctions or your map is ripped or you cannot contact others via radio. While in the simulation people aren’t actually shooting at you, it is necessary to constantly be ready for surprises and learn how to engage with different team members in order to successfully complete a mission. Hearing the stories from the enlisted Marines about their time in action whether in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere was enough to move me to the point of tears… It is amazing what these people do in times of crisis and violence in order to protect their country, their comrades, and their mission. 

Why are the Arts and Humanities Important?

Computers are exceptional beings. In fact, they act as our best friends, professors, and in some cases, our doctors (never underestimate the power of Web MD). 

I’ll let you in on a secret though. 

I lied. Computers aren’t beings (at least, not according to my Google search of the word “being”). Ahem, according to Merriam-Webster, it means “a living thing.” Now, I’m not trying to rant about the horrors of the technological age, if that’s what you’re thinking. All I’m saying is that technology doesn’t feel; it doesn’t imagine; it doesn’t have human experiences that make us living, breathing creatures. The greatest trait of the human mind is its inescapable ability to draw upon cultural experiences. It seems though, that the world is trying to move away from the arts and humanities that inspire creativity.

Now, why you ask are the arts and humanities important too?

According to Steve Jobs biographer, Walter Isaacson, they’re the “wellsprings of our creativity.” In this technological age, we seem to hold computers superior to the human race. However, Isaacson also points out that computers can “never supersede what creative minds and computers can accomplish jointly.” He then goes to talk about the greatest thinkers we know of, such as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. He says that these thinkers were not only brilliant, but were extraordinary because of their ability to incorporate knowledge from the arts and humanities to their work. 

In his Jefferson Lecture on The Humanities, Isaacson also discusses the importance of combining arts and humanities with technology. He says that the people who master that will be the ones to rise in the next digital revolution. Isaacson believes we must continue to “nurture the humanities” because it’s what we bring to the man-machine interface.

I don’t know about you, but it seems like Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College encompasses all of these elements. The college’s motto even is, “At the intersection of the arts, humanities, and technology.” As a student, I can say the college combines all the elements Isaacson deems important to the next digital revolution.

Let’s stop devaluing the humanities and make them important in our education.

Here’s the article:

Chile: iacchilenismos:

Chascona: adj. disorderly or disheveled

Deep within Santiago’s Bellavista neighborhood lies a house that, were it not for the small sign just outside, would be completely indistinguishable as a place of national importance for Chile. Whereas most of Bellavista is now very much representative of…

Cheers from Georgia Tech Oxford Study Abroad!

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

-Robert F. Kennedy, South Africa, 1966

Last week I became an official Ga notary! This is a photo of my first time notarizing a document at my internship! -Lauren Renaud

Garden of Èze

Check out this photo taken by a student currently studying in the South of France. This beautiful garden was once a military stronghold, but was eventually transformed after World War II. To learn more about this study abroad opportunity, visit

So…what does the Fed ACTUALLY do?

Ever since I’ve been working at the Federal Reserve, people have consistently asked me what the Fed actually does. Hopefully in this post I can explain at a high level how the Federal Reserve system is structured, what the Fed does, and what my office (Community and Economic Development) does.

The Fed was established by Congress in December 1913 with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act. The Fed was built to help stabilize the U.S. financial system and prevent the financial crises. The Fed was tasked by Congress with a Dual Mandate: maintain stable prices and ensure maximum employment. While these two objectives are interrelated, they can also be at odds—a constant struggle for the Fed.

So how does the Fed achieve these goals? The Fed has a series of tools it can use to influence the economy. At a basic level, these tools are divided into four areas:

  1. Supervision and regulation of financial institutions
  2. Monetary policy (Federal Funds rate, being a lender of last resort, etc.)
  3. Managing the national payments system (check cashing, direct deposit, etc.)
  4. Research

I won’t go into much detail on any of these functions but they are all vital to maintaining a stable financial system which the modern economy needs to run.

The Fed is divided into 12 Districts across the country. Each district is maintained by a Reserve Bank which implements Fed policies locally. The Fed System is then coordinated by the Board of Governors located in Washington D.C. I work in the Atlanta Reserve Bank helping oversee the Sixth District. As such, all of the banks in the South are overseen by us, all of the cash which circulates through the 6th district is processed by our Bank (more on that later!), and all of the economic research pertaining to the South is published by the Atlanta Fed.


Lastly, a little about Community and Economic Development (CED). CED operates inside of the research function of the Fed. We seek to fulfill the Fed’s second mandate of promoting full employment in the U.S. Primarily, my office is focused on 4 topics: small business development, community development financing, housing, and workforce development. We help to share research, best practices, and increase collaboration among local communities. More on what I do will come later!

I hope you learned a little bit more about the Fed and what we do. The Fed is an exciting place to be and an amazing opportunity to learn. And now, the obligatory work selfie:


I love my internship with the Department of Defense. Working in the Pentagon has been an amazing experience I will forever cherish. 

Also, it is a REALLY COOL building.

OSCE and the DoD


One of the many things my department handles within OSD-policy for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia is conventional arms control. Within conventional arms control (CAC), my team and I formulate policy, revise current arms control treaties and agreements, maintaining security relationships, and regulating the development and usage of new weapons technologies. 

My department, especially in regard to the Ukraine Crisis, works closely with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which is headquartered in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. 


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One of the best things about DC: The people.

Almost Everyone that resides in Washington DC is a federal employee, so instead of constantly running to networking events, one of the best ways to network and meet people is to try and meet people while out grabbing dinner or visiting a pub in DuPont…

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