Interview with Nicole Ianella

Jamaica Plan, Massachusetts

High School
Southfield School

Why did you choose to attend the AU Gap program?
I chose the AU Gap Program in Washington, D.C., because I still wanted to learn and get some sort of college experience during my year off. I had always been interested in politics, so that's what initially drew me to this program. I was intrigued by the unique gap-year internship, considering that not many 18- year-olds have the opportunity to intern three days a week in the middle of such a major city. I loved feeling as though I was a typical college student, yet still having plenty of time to do so many cool things through AU, my internship, and even throughout DC. There was always plenty of things going on!

Where was your Gap Internship?
Running Start. My internship was unique in that every Friday the interns had the opportunity to join seven young women from Running Start's Star Fellows program. Every week, there was a guest speaker or a Running Start staff member, giving advice or tips to help us professionally. Afterwards, we visited somewhere in DC, ranging from the Newseum to the Capitol. My favorite was a guest speaker who shared tips on dressing professionally. Following this, we all attended some of the opening festivities for the National Museum of African American History.

What is your favorite class experience?
The day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, my class was able to listen to three panelists speak about their own experiences from that tragic day. There were a variety of perspectives, for our visitors were all in different, significant locations on September 11, 2001, those being New York City, Washington DC, and the Dulles airport. The classroom definitely had a more somber tone that day, but it was very interesting and eye opening to be able to hear these guests speak about such personal, heartbreaking experiences.

Favorite experience while in the AU Gap Program?
It would probably be the scavenger hunt we did around DC during our first weekend. I had never ridden on the Metro nor explored much of the area, so it was a crazy experience trying to figure out how to get to all of these places most of us had never been. My team did end up coming in last place, but we were able to see more of DC than I imagined possible in one day. It was definitely an unforgettable experience.