Lei – Ohio State University

Public Policy Associate

This summer, I got the chance to intern with the Public Policy Office of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as their Public Policy Associate. The experience was truly transformational!

My daily tasks at AFSP included tracking AFSP relevant legislation and attending AFSP relevant hearings. Through conducting these tasks, I learned to use tools like Congress Plus and Fiscal Note, as well as how to write professional hearing and policy briefs. Interns would also get the chance to work on a research project in the policy areas that AFSP is working on. And I got the chance to do some policy research on the effects made to protect and improve mental health condition of first responders in order to put together a policy brief in regard to this issue that helps to spark more advocacy effects. Last but not least, I also got the chance to help out and participate in the AFSP Annual Advocacy Forum, for which we would bring our advocates all across the nation to DC to advocate for suicide prevention on Capitol Hill. Such experience was truly something unique for summer interns and I got to meet with many passionate advocates and follow them to congressional office to advocate for subjects that would save life.

Even though it was the first time that I spent the entire summer in DC, I still felt like home there because the AFSP Public Policy Office was so caring and inspiring. I had learned a lot from John, Nicole, Chelsey, Natalie, Taylor and Connor, and my four fellow interns: Zoe, Peyton, Gabby H. and Gabrielle W. The entire office was so committed to the works of suicide prevention. Not only did I gain working skills but I also learned to be a dedicated team worker and someone who could take better care of herself both physically and emotionally. What I have valued the most about this internship, was how empowering it was. I got to talk about things that I am really passionate about, suicide prevention in diverse populations, and was empowered by the entire office to do works relative to it! The office never failed to give me more professional development opportunities by letting me to participate in various events and encourage me to think more about myself. My works also got valued by the team, which made me feel that I was not only learning from this experience but also was giving back and contributing to the team!

Thanks for this summer with AFSP, I became more prepare for my future jobs. In addition, I am more certain about turning advocacy from my passion in my career because I saw how many changes it can bring from working with AFSP! And I became a better advocate as well because of this internship. Thus, I will highly recommend everyone who is passionate about making changes and policy works to apply for this internship. It will definitely give you more than what you originally expected!