WELCOME TO WISE !
Your society sponsors are anxious to meet you and get the WISE Program underway. We are all looking forward to a stimulating nine weeks that many WISE Alumni have used to forward their education and careers. You will also make new and lasting friends, establish professional contacts, and perhaps most importantly, you will have fun while learning. We will do our best to support your efforts and make the weather bearable (DC was not actually a swamp but it sure feels like one.)
Each intern receives (3) three stipend payments totaling $2,100 during the 9-week program. WISE issues your first check during orientation, your second check midway through the program, and your last check after you have turned in your final paper. Additionally, the WISE program pays for all of your housing (excluding food) costs at George Washington University - the equivalent of approximately an additional $3,800 per intern.
During the program, you will visit government and other professional offices, thus you are expected to have suitable business attire. However, you should also bring plenty of casual, cool clothing as Washington summers can be very hot and humid. Please check with your sponsoring society to be sure of what you should be wearing on a daily basis. Office dress codes vary by office. However, note that flip flops - even "dressy" flip flops - and shorts are are never permitted, anywhere during the work day. Note that if you bring shoes that you normally do not wear during the school year, you may want to ensure that they are comofortable. You will be walking, ... a lot! Ladies, if you like heels, you may want to adopt the habit of carrying a second pair of comfortable shoes with you. This is the norm for commuters in DC and you will see women changing their shoes before heading into meetings and office buildings.
Washingon summers are famous for brief but severe thunderstorms in the afternoons. Having a small, sturdy folding umbrella is very useful.
TRAVEL & PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION
Travel to and from Washington, D.C. to participate in the program is not included in your stipend and you will need to make your own travel arrangements.
AIRPORTS: Supershuttle travels to and from both BWI and Dulles, and is a lower cost option than a cab.
1 - Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (very close to downtown DC and accessible via Metro, or about a $20 cab ride to the dorms.)
2 - Washington Dulles International Airport (no Metro trains travel to Dulles; shuttle buses travel between the airport and Metro, about $70 for a cab ride from the airport to DC)
3 - Baltimore Washington International Airport is accessible via both Amtrak & MARC trains on the weekdays, and only Amtrak on the weekends; the trip is 45 miles one-way; cabs are expensive.)
1 - MARC train site
2 - Amtrak site - Amtrak comes into Washington at Union Station on Capitol Hill.
3 - Washington, D.C. Metro Transit System (WMATA)
Metrorail, or "Metro” – is clean, modern, safe and easy to use. WISE will provide each of you with $100.00 in Metro use to help supplement your local subway travel within the Washington, D.C. area. These cards are to be used for travel to and from your meetings, but they will not cover all of your personal and recreational Metro costs. You will be responsible for the remainder.
Your dorms are located within walking distance of your daily office spaces and you will not need to use Metro to get back and forth every day.
Rates vary depending on the destination point and time of day. Metro rates, routes, and schedule information can be found online or by calling 202.637.7000. (Metro Map)
WISE will issue each WISE intern one (1) pre-loaded SmartTrip card. You are responsible for the card once it is placed in your care. These cards are the same as cash and if lost, can not be replaced. Ensure against loss by registering your SmartTrip card online. If you do so, WMATA will replace the card for a $2 fee and reimburse the amount of the lost card.
Using a SmartTrip card gets you a discounted fare on both buses and Metrol rail.
BUSES: You may use cash on the buses but you will pay a higher fare, and riders must have the exact fare for each bus trip as drivers do not make change. Rates vary depending on the destination point and the time of day. Schedules, rates and other information are available online.
Physically handicapped persons can ride Metrobus and Metrorail for half price with ID. For further information, contact Metro Handicapped Office, call 202.962.1245.
TAXIS: DC's taxis now use meters, so ignore any horror stories that you might have heard about the taxi zone systems.
UBER & LFYT: Both of these services are available in DC and are less expensive than DC's taxis
BIKES: Several bike rental operations have recently opened in DC.
1- Bike and Roll -
Bicycle rentals include Trek comfort bikes, performance bikes, road bikes, and tandem bikes. All bike rentals include a helmet, U-lock, bike rack, flat kit and city map.
2 - Capital Bikeshare - Worth the investment of a month or two's worth of membership.
For information on the difference between the two, go here.
THE DORMS: GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOUSING
The WISE interns live in the dormitories at the George Washington University (GWU), located in the Foggy Bottom area of downtown Washington. Interns are assigned to 3 or 4 person dormitory rooms/ suites. Single rooms are not an option. WISE directly pays your housing costsfor the 9 weeks of your internship. All campus buildings and residence halls are within walking distance of the two Metro stations serving the university. Both are on the orange and blue lines:
1) Foggy Bottom-GWU (23rd and I Streets, N.W.)
2) Farragut West (18th and I Streets, N.W.)
IMPORTANT: GWU will send an e-mail directly to all WISE interns regarding your housing arrangements. Please review that e-mail for updated check-in times. Your WISE sponsors do not receive this information. If you anticipate check-in after 8:00 p.m., you will need to make prior arrangements with GWU to ensure that staff will be available. Please call the GW office at 202 994-CLLC to make these arrangements.
Check-out must be completed before 11:00 a.m. on the last day. Check-out also takes place in New Hall where you will return your access cards. Any change in this must be prearranged through the office to avoid additional charges. If you don't return your keys, you are responsible for them and will be charged for any loss.
Summer Housing Staff: Summer staff members live and work in the residence halls throughout the summer months. Staff members assist groups with check-in and check-out, provide information regarding campus and the Washington, DC area, and act as support staff in all residence hall offices. One staff member is on duty each night, and can be reached for emergency situations after regular business hours. GW Summer staff members will be the first to welcome you to campus and are there to provide assistance and support throughout your stay.
Summer Access to Residence Halls: Hall access cards are distributed to each summer resident upon check-in. The electronic access device provides access to the front entrance, elevators, and stairwells of the residence hall in which the resident is housed. Residents must carry university-issued access cards and proof of identity at all times, and present them when requested. Additionally, visitors must also show proof of identity and be escorted by residents while in the building.
Parking: Students contemplating bringing a car for the summer should be aware that parking on campus – or anywhere in DC - is very limited and in many cases, nonexistent. D.C. parking regulations severely limit opportunities for non-metered street parking and vehicles without DC plates. Some neighborhood street parking is available for two-hour time periods, but new regulations in effect prohibit parking for any length of time if you do not have DC plates and a DC parking permit. You will not need a car for your WISE-related activities. Neither will you need one for day-to-day getting around. Most DC residents do not own cars. You are encouraged to rely on public transportation. You will not be reimbursed for parking-related expenses. If you do want to bring a car, monthly leases are available in privately run garages all over the city. The average monthly lease costs about $200.
Mail: Mail is delivered to each residence hall daily. Mailbox keys or combinations will be distributed to each resident upon check-in. AA damage fee will be assessed if lost. Also, feel free to use the "IEEE-USA, Suite 700, 2001 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036" address for your mail and packages. Be sure that all mail and packages being sent to IEEE are clearly marked with your name and "WISE."
Also, if you wish to mail anything to DC prior to your arrival, feel free to use the same IEEE-USA address to ship boxes, bikes, etc... .
What to Bring: While GW's Summer and Conference Housing is dedicated to making your stay on campus as comfortable as possible, certain items are not available in the residence halls. These items are as follows:
- Alarm clock
- Blow dryer
- Ironing board and iron
- Kitchen utensils/dishes/pots/pans
- Sheets, towels, blankets and pillows
Trader Joe's is located very close to your dorms. 1101 25th Street, NW (9am - 9pm)
Costco - accessible by Pentagon City metro (1 blocks from Pentagon City), you'll need a membership card for this one.
SHOPPING IN GENERAL
Shopping malls accessible by Metro include Columbia Heights, Union Station, the Fashion Center at Pentagon City, Mazza Gallery/Chevy Chase Pavillion, White Flint, and Ballston Mall.
HAVE FUN & EXPLORE : A SHORT LIST of PLACES TO EAT & THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE DC
Restaurant Judy on 14th Street (U Street Metro, Green Line) - Mexican beers for a couple of bucks during happy hour. Also has yummy food, and music on some nights.
Best Place to Pay Respect: Arlington National Cemetery
Best Place to Learn Everything: The epicenter of nearly everything known to man, the Library of Congress - The Library does not allow the public to borrow books. The institutional mandate is to serve Congress. However, WISE will receive a special day of orientation at which time, you will obtain reader cards that allow you to access materials while you are using a reading room.
Best Place to Imagine the Possibilities: National Air and Space Museum
Best Place to be Overwhelmed: The depths of hatred are on display at the United States Holocaust Museum
Best Real Estate Tour: Stop at the world's most famous address at the White House
Best Place to Test Your Wit: Once a month, D.C. Improv hosts a no-cover-charge "Happy Hour Trivia Night," during which patrons can create value with their worthless knowledge: Tab discounts and free chips and salsa go to the top three teams.
Best Place to Feel History: Ford's Theatre
Best Place to Live JFK's Vision: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Best Place to Embrace the Present: Carter Barron Amphitheatre The outdoor venue's annual lineup includes free shows that provide a great respite from the city.
Best Place to Cozy up to A Scientist: Sit on Einstein's lap and have your picture taken.
And other must-do items......
Bike or run along the C&O Canal, starting in Georgetown.
Rent a boat and kayak on the Potomac. Thompson Boat Center
Atlas District/ H Street, NE (and more)
Congressional Cemetery (and more)
Visit the Legendary 930 Club
Just up the road – The Baltimore Orioles
DC United - (…and their crazy fans - http://www.barra-brava.com/ & http://screaming-eagles.com/: both fan clubs have great pre-game tailgate parties and they welcome all new comers)
Go hear some music. Music venues drawing national acts include the Birchmere, WolfTrap, Merriweather Post Pavilion and the place formerly-known-as the Nissan Pavilion (Jiffy Lube Live).
Go to NEW YORK CITY - If you have the energy, you can get to NYC and back in one day. The cheapest option is the "Chinatown buses" – so called because they run from Chinatown, DC to Chinatown, NY. There are many options, including: Bolt Bus; and http://www.staticleap.com/chinatownbus/.
Amtrak is very comfortable, quick (3 hours), fun, and the trains run all day, everyday. Roundtrip price about $98 -190 depending upon day and time of travel.
Or PHILADELPHIA, about halfway between DC and NYC and is also a day-trip option.
Or THE BEACHES -
For those of you who want to rent cars to get around DC, into Virginia, or out to the beaches, all of the usual car rental company options are available. However, if you need a car for only a few hours or less than a day, the better option is Zipcar.
Visit the DC Visitor Information Center for more information by category. Explore local dining, entertainment, and leisure opportunities through the Washingtonian Online or investigate the Washington, DC area through the Washington Post's City Guide or WETA's ExploreDC websites.
Washington is a large urban area with both the pluses and minuses associated with big cities. The GWU dorms are in a generally safe area, but until you get a feel for the geography of Washington, do not go for walks alone at night in areas you do not know. The city streets comprising the campus are patroled by campus police with the added benefit of the occasional U.S. Secret Service patrol due to proximity to the White House. The campus also uses Blue Light Phones to stay connected to students.
Questions concerning your research topic, papers and presentations, WISE visits, office arrangements, etc. should be directed to the WISE Faculty-Member-in-Residence and/or your sponsoring society mentor as appropriate.
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