Charlotte – University of Iowa

Public Policy Associate

My experience as a Public Policy Associate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has been one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences I’ve had. Working with this office has been a fantastic opportunity to meet people who are passionate about what they are doing, who are affecting change, and who are always finding fun in what they do. As a Social Justice and Political Science major, I have always known that I wanted to go into advocacy in some capacity, and the work I have done here with the public policy office has shown me how I can combine my interests.

My internship began with the Annual Advocacy Forum, which was a whirlwind of activity, but was one of my favorite experiences of the summer. It gave the other interns and myself a platform to start our networking and allowed us to truly see how we can help make changes in policy. One of our big asks to representatives this year was to vote for HR 2345 to pass, and I have been lucky enough to be able to follow that bill and watch it pass from the House Energy and Commerce Committee on to the House, and then pass there as well. During the forum I was also able to make connections to advocates from my home state – people that I plan to continue to be in touch with when I return to Iowa for school.

My other responsibilities included tracking legislation in states I was assigned, monitoring hearings and markups for certain committees, and creating an issue brief. Creating my issue brief was fascinating. I began my issue brief about crisis lines’ funding very unsure about where it would go, but, by the end, was super excited about my topic and really determined to get as far as I could in my research because I understood how much of an effect it could make. I am now one of those people who could talk about their project for the next hour if you gave me the time.

My internship with AFSP has been an enlightening experience. I know now that what I want to do with policy and advocacy is possible and my experience with AFSP is what has allowed me have that confidence. I got to see how advocates can make a difference in policy during my time here which was exactly what I was hoping for coming to D.C. This internship has shown me how I can make an impact and how I can utilize my skills to affect change.