Rachel – Stockton University

Public Policy Associate

When I first received the position at AFSP, I did not realize how amazing it would be. I was able to have the full D.C. experience as a public policy associate by going to Senate and House meetings on the Hill, a variety of forums on mental health, opioids, and suicide, doing research on my individual projects, learning a large amount of new information, and being able to become certified in Mental Health First Aid. Going to different events such as Hill Day and the local D.C. Out of the Darkness Community Walk was a remarkable experience that I will never forget. It was also the perfect balance of work and play, by going to events that I was personally interested in and having lunch on the rooftop.

Coming into this internship, I had a minimum amount of knowledge on advocacy and politics, but as the months went on, I can say that I have gained proficient knowledge of both. By following states in the central region and different Congressional committees, I now have a better understanding of how Congress works and individual state laws.

By working on my own research on assisted suicide and suicide rates in juvenile detention centers, I was able to gain a different understanding of these important issues. This internship helped me focus in on my career path, and even though I am not going to continue in policy and advocacy, I have gained skills such as networking and writing skills that you could not receive in a classroom. The semester went by very quickly and there was a never a moment of boredom. This internship was a once in a lifetime experience and I will always be grateful for being able to have this opportunity.