Alex – Regent University

Public Policy Associate

As a Public Policy Associate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I received so much more than an extra bullet point for my resume. This experience has given me the opportunity to marry my interest in mental health and my academic pursuits. I was able to advocate for the hopeless. I was able to contribute meaningfully to an organization that is passionate about offering hope and serious about effecting change at the highest level of our government and at the grassroots level. I was able to establish myself professionally and expand my network of contacts.

In sixteen short weeks, AFSP delivered a policy experience that the classroom could never convey. My graduate studies finally blossomed into practice. From the first day, I was fully immersed in the nation’s political heartbeat. I was on The Hill attending congressional hearings and meeting with congressional staffers; I was assisting field advocates and preparing state issue briefs. During my time, I met several Congressmen as well as my personal state delegates at Maryland’s State Capital Day. My colleagues and I attended numerous events including Bipartisan Policy Center briefings, Lily Advocacy Dialogue events, National Health Council meetings, Mental Health Liaison Group conferences, and more. We tracked federal and state legislation. I studied the significance of crisis lines and developed an issue brief to be used on The Hill as AFSP advocates for a 3-digit hotline number.

Of all the valuable aspects of this internship, the greatest was working with the AFSP Public Policy staff. Immediately, the office atmosphere was overwhelmingly welcoming. I was never treated like an intern here; I was always treated as a useful and respected member of the team. The staff entrusted me with critical duties and included every intern in their staff meetings. The Vice President, John Madigan, genuinely cares that his staff – including the interns – find success and encouraged us to accept every advantageous opportunity D.C. presented us. The AFSP Public Policy Associate experience is invaluable in every way. I will always be grateful for my time here as I move along in my career.