My internship as a Public Policy Associate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Public Policy Office has been a truly amazing experience. As a student of the Political Communication: Leadership, Politics, and Social Advocacy Program at Emerson College, I came into this internship with a passion for influencing change and understanding the political process. Before choosing AFSP, I knew that I wanted a challenging experience that would give me new insights into the worlds of policy and advocacy. This internship has done just that, and has far exceeded my expectations. During my time here, I have been given the autonomy to take ownership of a research project on firearms safety and lethal means restriction. Not only has this project taught me the importance of thorough and meaningful research, but it has been an invaluable lesson in work ethic and self-discipline. While the research process can be tedious and daunting, it’s an extremely rewarding feeling to know that your work is contributing to the organization’s larger purpose. The project allowed me to develop skills, such as the ability to track and analyze policy, which I know will be beneficial to my professional and academic career.
Another responsibility I had as an intern was facilitating phone calls with AFSP Field Advocates. This was one of my favorite components of the internship because it gave me firsthand experience in grassroots advocacy and was an opportunity to have one-on-one communication with passionate leaders across the country. I was also given daily tasks such as writing reports for the AFSP website and organizing brochures and informational materials for AFSP’s Congressional Spouse Group, all of which were practical and meaningful responsibilities. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to attend important meetings and events, such as National Health Council and Mental Health Liaison Group meetings and a local Out of the Darkness Walk, which further introduced me to the mental health and advocacy community in D.C.
Most importantly, John, Trevor, and Nicole are professional, extremely knowledgeable, and welcoming. They go above and beyond in making the interns feel comfortable and in introducing you to all that D.C. has to offer. As an intern, I was always treated with respect and felt like an important and valued member of the public policy team. Overall, this has been an experience that I will always appreciate and never forget. If you are looking for a challenging professional experience with awesome supervisors, I highly recommend a Public Policy internship with AFSP.