I am currently a rising senior at Furman University in Greenville, SC. With a double major in Philosophy and Political Science, I have taken a number of courses in which I learned about politics from an academic perspective, but I was never given the opportunity to apply those theories in my regular life. Interning with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was an enlightening experience in that it provided insight into the roles of advocacy organizations as they operate within American government and gave me an opportunity to experience what I have been only learning about in theory while in the classroom.
The responsibilities given to the public policy associates at AFSP were both engaging and interesting. We were responsible for tasks such as attending congressional committee hearings, going to press conferences and providing summaries of events to be put on the website.
I, along with the three other public policy associates, also had the privilege of preparing for and executing the AFSP Annual Advocacy Forum. AFSP’s Annual Advocacy Forum is a three-day event in which over 100 advocates from around the country came to Washington, DC in order to learn more about effective advocacy work and to lobby their state-specific representatives on Capitol Hill. This was a great experience because it allowed me to be fully immersed in advocacy work, engaging with field advocates and representing AFSP in front members of the U.S. House and Senate.
I would recommend this internship to anyone who wants to gain a better understanding on what it is like to work for an advocacy organization. It was an enlightening experience and the lessons that I learned while at AFSP will resonate with me as I continue to develop as a professional.