Andrew – George Mason University

Public Policy Associate

If you are looking for a job that truly gives you the sense and gratification that the work you’re doing has substantial meaning and effect, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is probably a great match for you. My summer in the AFSP Public Policy Office has never ceased giving me the feeling that what I am doing will, somewhere, help someone who feels they have no one else to turn to. It has also helped me confront my own past experiences with suicide as well as allowing me to grow as a political science student.

The average week will have you attending Congressional briefings on the committees you are responsible for, tracking state legislative bills, or doing your own independent research project among many other things! Having previously interned in the House of Representatives, it was a unique experience to really delve into a particular policy and do concrete work opposed to scratching the surface on a number of things. I produced an Issue Brief on a topic I had never thought about in my life, the implementation of bridge barriers that act as means restriction for those attempting to take their life.

I also loved taking part in the annual AFSP Advocacy Forum, when hundreds of our advocates flood into Washington for a weekend of policy discussions, informational sessions, and a day on Capitol Hill where our advocates met with every member of Congress. I was lucky enough to meet Senators Chuck Schumer, Jon Tester, and Congressman Don Beyer.

It was a very special time to be here at AFSP, I was in the office the mornings the news about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain broke. The national dialogue over the spread of this tragic disease was special to witness, seeing so many people in society taking up the call to end suicide. Spending these months with our terrific staff, as well as our other interns, Gabe, Charlotte, Alisha and Seth has made it all the better. Many people will ask, “Is it kind of depressing in the office working on such a saddening policy?” Not really, it’s a meaningful subject, but there was always laughter and happiness in the office, it’s a great time.

Internships are all about finding something that leaves a lasting impact on you, and I cannot think of many organizations that do this better than AFSP. You’ll love it, and I hope you join the team!

Looking back on my time here, I am proud to say that I have grown as a professional, an advocate, and an individual. I know now that I am capable of making a difference, and I am confident in my abilities to create change in my community. I plan to continue what I have done as a Public Policy Associate by pursuing law after undergraduate. My hope is to return to D.C. someday, but I will hang on to the memories I made and the kindness I was shown until then. Thank you AFSP for making these last three months the best time of my life, and I look forward to seeing what the future intern team accomplishes!