Laura Chilaka

Participated in: Spring 2012

Major: Political Science & Psychology

Internship Title: California News Service/Reporter

Current Position: Regulatory Council at Food and Drug Adminstration


(You may need to be logged in to LinkedIn to view some profiles)

How has your experience with the Washington Program affected your career trajectory?

My experience with the Washington Program ultimately made me to move to Washington, DC for law school. Being in the nation's capital where I got to see a lot of movers and shakers motivated me to take my aspirations into my own hands and follow my passion. Specifically, the Washington Program allowed me to get a taste of the real world as well as life on the East Coast, which is want I always wanted to experience. 

How have your career goals evolved since your participation in the Washington Program?

I was somewhat unsure of what I wanted to do when I participated in the Washington Program. I knew I wanted to go to law school; however, I also knew that I had a creative side that I did want to ignore. Thus, I decided to intern as a reporter/journalist. It was probably the best decision I could have made at the time because it allowed me to enjoy my experience in the Washington Program. I wasn't worried about impressing anyone; I explored the city, interviewed amazing people, and wrote great articles that were published in respectable newspapers. Since the Washington Program, I have continued to incorporate my creativity into my career. I not only attend law school, I also have a blog ( and I plan on writing an advice book.

Describe what you are currently doing, and how your experiences in DC relate to your current position.

Currently, I am in my last semester of law school at Georgetown Law Center. I specifically remember touring Georgetown's Law Campus when I came to DC for the Washington Program and telling myself, if I ever do decide to leave California, I would move DC. Being able to intern during the Washington Program allowed me to develop connections that mad the transition to DC easier. 

Do you have any advice for future Washington Program participants?

Enjoy the process! As someone who participated in the program almost five years ago, I realize I was making a big deal out of small things. You don't have to have your life together before or after you participate in the program, just do it and enjoy the journey. Also, never discredit the power of networking and building connection. Most of the opportunities I got in DC were from putting myself out there and expressing my interest and goals.