One of my main goals was to establish excellent connections with the Senate and House offices of Missouri, so that I can cultivate those relationships over the coming years, with the hope of helping to inform them on science issues. Perhaps the best connection I made was with Ms. Noelle Lindsey, the Legislative Assistant for Rep. Clay (MO), who immediately guessed I was researching kudzu when I told her I was studying an invasive plant species. She laughed as I gave her my business card, on which a photo I took of kudzu in Missouri dominates my contact information on the front of the card, recalling her father who year after year fights against eliminating kudzu from his property. This allowed me to converse easily with her about my project and how federal funding has helped me along. As I left Rep. Clay's office, Noelle said she was immediately going to text her father about meeting someone who is studying that ruthless plant he can't seem to eliminate from his life. Hopefully those little kudzu business cards and stories of my science research I left behind will likewise establish, grow, and create a stronghold in the minds of my representatives and their staff members.
For other pictures of my time in DC (which also includes many images of the cherry blossoms that were at peak bloom during my visit), see my Flickr folder: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjXb7AUG