The summer before my senior year of college, I lived in DC and interned for the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. It was an amazing experience working in the Capitol building every day and watching democracy in action. I knew, after that summer, that DC was the city I wanted to call my home. DC immerses you in a rich history that is almost palpable. When I went back to college, I found myself passionately involved in suicide prevention. I participated in an AFSP community walk and afterwards checked out their website. I noticed AFSP had public policy internships. On a whim, I sent them my resume and hoped that they would want me. I loved that the internship captivated both my love for politics and my passion for suicide prevention. I was elated when I was accepted into the program and was looking forward to heading back to DC.
I was incredibly nervous my first day; I was in a city I loved, but I was completely out of my comfort zone. When I first met John, Trevor, and Nicole I felt so welcomed that my nerves disappeared. They allowed me the opportunity to express my opinions and play a significant role in their work. I immediately began meeting with legislative assistants on the Hill, attending hearings where members of our organization testified, interviewing potential field advocates, and attending conferences and caucus launches. There was so much to learn at first and sometimes I was a little overwhelmed, but the more I was there the more knowledge I gained.
Our major event this summer was launching a Congressional Spouses for Suicide Prevention and Education group. We worked tirelessly to gather all of the information for the spouses to take home, so that their knowledge on suicide prevention could grow even after their first meeting.
John, Trevor, and Nicole were always encouraging me and my fellow intern, Jennifer to step out of our comfort zones and try something new, whether that was Indian food or editing a movie. I never felt uncomfortable and they welcomed my many questions. John was very understanding while I searched for a permanent job in DC. He provided me with resume advice, job listings, and allowed me to leave the office for interviews. I’m happy to say that our combined hard work this summer was successful. Due to the experience I gained through my internship and the support of the public policy staff I landed my dream job here in DC and I could not be happier.