My fall internship working with AFSP as a Public Policy Associate has been a remarkable experience. Being a student with a background in psychology, gerontology and holistic health, I am passionate to pursue an occupation to positively impact the lives of others. I am highly involved with action groups such as Active Minds and Holistic Living clubs on my college campus. Mental health has always been a strong interest of mine. Since working with AFSP, I have developed new professional and academic skills to achieve my career aspirations.
Working in Washington D.C. provided me the understanding of the political process for policy and advocacy. Prior to this experience, I possessed minimal knowledge of politics. During my short 15 weeks, I have learned a generous amount of information regarding federal, state and local policy development. I have a clear understanding of grassroots advocacy and the importance of the amazing efforts of advocates across the country. I have also had the opportunity to attend congressional committee hearings that concern mental health legislation. In turn, I am no longer just a student studying mental health, but an educated member of society on political social change.
At the start of my internship, I had a strong desire to investigate the awareness of alternative health and mental illness. AFSP has given me the responsibility of an independent research topic strongly connected to my interest and skill set. I have created a Public Policy Research Project on the importance of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) within the field of mental health. I have fortunately been researching the effects of alternative therapies with mental health disorders. John has given me full support to present my knowledge to the team. This project has allowed me to demonstrate my strength of strong written and verbal communication skills to an audience.
Being a member of the AFSP team for my last semester of undergraduate school has been monumental to me. John, Nicole and Trevor have been excellent friends, mentors and teachers throughout the semester. Every day I come to work, I witness the amazing experience of helping millions of people. My entire DC experience has opened my mind to new ideas and future career paths. I hope to one day use all of my knowledge of mental and behavioral health to create a fulfilling life for myself and others.