When I first set out on my search for an internship I knew I wanted something unique. I have an interest in politics, but I knew an internship on Capitol Hill was not going to fulfill the interest I also have for paying it forward. I knew working on public policy with a nonprofit was exactly the combination that I needed. AFSP provided me with an experience combining the two that I never expected.
“Our motto is: Inspiring Citizenship, Developing Leadership. Nothing can be much more important than that. That’s what we are all about.” - Senator John Glenn
Senator Glenn spoke of this motto in relation to the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at OSU, which hosts the Washington Academic Internship Program that enabled me to become a Public Policy Associate at AFSP. Interning at AFSP allowed me to show that I have the citizenship and leadership that Senator Glenn spoke of.
At OSU I am involved with student organizations that help combat the sigma and harsh realities of suicide. However, until I started interning with AFSP I never realized the dedication, hard work, and knowledge that go into the public policy side of suicide prevention. Because of this I was never left to do menial tasks. I never felt that the work I was doing wasn't in some way vitally important to the cause, including researching physician assisted death and assisting with the Congressional Spouses for Suicide Prevention and Education kickoff event.
My experience, however, would not have been this powerful without the people I met while in DC. John, Trevor, and Nicole are three of the most supportive, hospitable, and intelligent people I’ve met. Since my first day I’ve always felt like part of the team and knew that they were always there to assist me. I have also become fast friends with Emily, the other Public Policy Associate. Her experience, helpfulness, and humor definitely made her someone I plan to stay in contact with.
While I met other prominent figures dedicated to suicide prevention, one individual sticks out. On my first day of interning I was waiting at the bus stop when a lady asked me where I was interning. When I told her AFSP she proceeded to tell me how her brother completed suicide just a few years prior. She thanked me for the work I was about to do and commented on how grateful she was. Just like many of my experiences at AFSP, it was truly an astonishing and inspiring moment.