Each spring, the B.A. Rudolph Foundation accepts applications for scholarships to help offset expenses while furthering academic and career goals through a summer internship. In addition to the stipend, we provide each scholar with 1-2 mentors in her field of interest, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities.

Housing and Transportation in the D.C. area

Where should I live?

How do I get to D.C.?

Scholars are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from Washington, D.C. There are three major airports, an Amtrak train station, and a bus station that service the city:

Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) is the closest and most convenient airport to D.C., located three miles to the south in Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac River. To get to D.C. from the airport you can take the Metro’s Blue and Yellow Lines; The trip to downtown takes approximately fifteen minutes and costs approximately $2. You can also take a taxi which costs about $15 to downtown.

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located 26 miles west of D.C. in Dulles, Virginia. To get to D.C. from the airport you can take the 5A Metrobus that operates between the airport and L’Enfant Plaza (Green, Yellow, Blue, and Orange Metro Lines), located a few blocks south of the National Mall. The bus makes stops in Herndon, Tysons Corner, and Rosslyn (Blue and Orange Metro Lines). It generally departs from the airport every 40 minutes on weekdays and hourly (though not on the hour) on weekends, taking 40-50 minutes to the Rosslyn Metro Station and 50-60 minutes to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station. The fare is $6 one-way (no change given). The bus stops near Curb 2E outside of the terminal. You can also take the Washington Flyer Coach, which operates coach service every half hour (on :15 and :45) to and from the West Falls Church Metro Station (Orange Line). It takes 25 minutes and costs $10 one-way, $18 round trip. From there, the Metro to downtown takes another 20–25 minutes. Washington Flyer Taxi is the exclusive provider of taxis from the airport. A taxi trip downtown costs around $60-80 and takes about 40-60 minutes. Maggie’s preference is to take the SuperShuttle, which operates a door-to-door shared ride service to anywhere in the D.C. area. The fare to downtown D.C. is $29 for the first passenger in your party, $10 for each additional passenger. At location 1E-1D, tickets at 1G entrance. Credit cards accepted. Shuttles leave when full or 20 minutes after the first passenger bought a ticket.

Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) (35.3 miles) is 30 miles northeast of D.C. and 10 miles south of downtown Baltimore, near Glen Burnie, Maryland. To get to D.C. from the airport you can take the B30 Metrobus, which operates between the airport and the Greenbelt Metro Station (Green Line). The fare is $6 one-way (no change given) and takes about 40 minutes. From there, the Metro to downtown takes another 25 minutes. The bus stops on the lower level outside terminals A (Southwest Airlines) and E (the international terminal). Or you can take the ICC Bus 201, which operates hourly service between the airport and Gaithersburg, with a stop at the Shady Grove Metro Station (Red Line). The fare is $5 one-way (no change given) and takes about 70 minutes. From there, the Metro to downtown takes another 35 minutes. The bus stops on the lower level outside terminals A (Southwest Airlines) and E (the international terminal). You can also take the MARC commuter-rail train and Amtrak operate between BWI Rail Station and Union Station, also stopping at the New Carrolton Metro Station (Orange Line). A free “Amtrak/MARC” shuttle bus runs from the airport terminal to the BWI Rail Station every 12 minutes. The journey takes 10 minutes. If you are in a rush, you can take a taxi for $8-9. MARC service to BWI is available on the “Penn” line and costs $6 one-way, but only operates on weekdays. Amtrak service starts at $13, but runs closer to $22 on weekends (when it does not have to compete with MARC). Again, the SuperShuttle is an option that operates a door-to-door shared ride service to anywhere in the D.C. area. The fare to downtown is $37 for the first passenger in your party, $12 for each additional passenger. Shuttles leave when full. Finally, Taxi service to downtown takes 60-90 minutes and costs roughly $100.

Amtrak trains and the Greyhound Bus Lines both arrive at Union Station, which also has a Metro stop for the red line.

How will I get around D.C.?

The Washington area is served by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, one of the most efficient, clean and safe transportation systems in the world (see www.wmata.com for more information). Scholars can take the metro or a bus to locations throughout the city of Washington, DC, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

I would strongly recommend buying a SmarTrip card ($10 cost with $5 transportation credit), which works on the Metro as well as on Metrobus, the D.C. Circulator, and many other suburban bus systems (saving you the headache of correct change and providing a discount on transfers). In addition, riders using SmarTrip get a 25¢ discount on all fares. The cards use radio-frequency technology and are used by simply touching the SmarTrip to a target on the fare gate. SmarTrip cards can be bought online, at Metro stations with parking, and at all D.C.-area CVS stores.

One flaw, though, is irregularity of service caused primarily by near-constant weekend track maintenance and periodic breakdowns following a major collision in June 2009. Delays can reach up to 30 minutes without a clear indication of the next train arrival. The Metro also attracts very large crowds during major public events; expect jam-packed stations and trains on July 4 and during any major gathering on the Mall.

Another is that fares fluctuate wildly depending on the day (weekday or weekend), the time of day, and the distance of the trip. Scholars should budget approximately $20-$30 per week, though costs will vary depending on their commute. All internship sites are accessible via public transportation.

Metro Tips:

  • The farecards are needed to both enter and exit the system.
  • Remember that absolutely no food or drink is allowed on trains or in stations. If you are carrying food/beverages, keep them closed and in a bag.
  • Rider etiquette: Try not to obstruct train doors when passengers are leaving the train; Keep belongings off of the seats; When using escalators in stations, stand on the right, and leave the left side free for those who want to pass.
  • Metro train doors do not auto-retract like elevator doors, they will close on you if you try to enter after the warning bell. It’s normally a better idea to wait for the next train than to attempt boarding at the last second. Do not try to block the doors or force them open; this often breaks the doors and forces the operator to take the entire car out of service.

Besides Metro, there is also an extensive bus system in DC. Metrobus has hundreds of routes throughout the greater capital region. It’s geared towards commuters and is not visitor-friendly as there is no central terminal, most stops do not show the route map, and routes take convoluted trips through residential neighborhoods. Nevertheless, Metrobus will take you places hard to reach via Metro or the Circulator, and can be a really convenient, comfortable way to travel if you know which bus to take. WMATA’s website publishes maps and timetables for all individual routes, as well as system maps for its routes in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Most routes cost a flat fare of $1.70 ($1.50 with SmarTrip card). There is also the tourist-friendly D.C. Circulator buses are akin to shuttles since they operate on a predictable fixed route and schedule, and run principally between main attractions and the city’s most popular neighborhoods for visitors. All D.C. Circulator routes run every ten minutes and cost $1. There are currently five, separate routes.

Finally, there is the relatively new Capital Bikeshare network, which has over 1,100 bicycles available at more than 100 stations across the entire city. Visitors may use the service for $7/day or $15 for 3 days, payable by using a credit card at the automated kiosks attached to every Capital Bikeshare station. The daily pass allows for an unlimited number of one-way trips—there’s no need to return a bike to the same station where you got it! However, the service has heavy usage fees after the first half-hour, which escalate from $2-8 per half hour. This is intentional to encourage people to use the system for short place-to-place trips. If you plan on using a bike for an extended period, it is best to simply rent a bike from a local shop.

Should I bring my car?

Scholars are discouraged from bringing their cars. Parking is not available on most university campuses and parking on the street is limited to two hours for non-residents of the city. Summer and short-term students are not eligible for resident parking stickers.

Living in D.C.

What’s it like to live in D.C.?

Washington is a fun city that is world-famous for its history, architecture and world-class cultural attractions. Besides numerous monuments and landmarks, Washington is home to more than 90 museums and public galleries, including the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex. The Smithsonian comprises 19 museums including and the National Zoo, and are all free to the public. With its vibrant theater and music scene, Washington is second only to New York in number of public performances of the arts. For more information it’s highly recommended that scholars peruse the Washington Post’s resource for students in the city. There are tons of things to do for free, if you can’t find something to do on any given day you aren’t trying hard enough.

What’s the weather like in D.C.?

Washington summers are hot, muggy, and humid, and afternoon thunderstorms are very common. The average high temperature is 84 degrees (29 Celsius) in June, 89 degrees (31 Celsius) in July and 87 degrees (31 Celsius) in August. Maggie has found that the most accurate weather forecast is the Capital Weather Gang, a daily blog on the Washington Post’s website.

Washington City Layout

The city is split into four quadrants of unequal size, which radiate out from the Capitol Building: Northwest (NW), Northeast (NE), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW). The NW quadrant is by far the largest and SW the smallest. Addresses in the city always include the quadrant abbreviation, e.g., 1000 H Street NE. Take note of the quadrant, otherwise you may find yourself on the exact opposite side of town from your destination!

City streets are generally laid out in a grid, with east-west streets primarily named with letters (A–W) and north-south streets named with numbers. Complicating the grid are the numerous diagonal avenues, many named after states, that serve as the city’s principal arteries. The street numbers and letters increase with distance from the Capitol.

Curious to note, visitors to Washington will quickly discover that there is no “J” St.

Internship Questions

What should I expect to do at my internship?

Intern responsibilities vary, but all include substantive work, such as conducting research, coordinating events, managing databases, covering congressional hearings, fundraising, participating in direct service, and writing for newsletters or other publications. Scholars should expect clerical duties as well, such as filing, answering phones, database management or photocopying.

How should I dress?

Washington is a conservative city when it comes to attire, so scholars should expect to dress professionally. While dress codes vary from office to office, typically men wear coats and ties, while women wear pantsuits, dresses, skirts, or dressy slacks. It is encouraged that they contact their internship supervisors for information on the office-specific dress code.