Seth – University of Florida
Public Policy Associate
My time here as a Public Policy Associate has been unforgettable. I was able to live out my dream of living and working in DC, and that is all thanks to AFSP. Working in the office has taught me so much about public policy and advocacy. It allowed me to pursue my passion of advocating for mental health awareness and funding, as well as helped improve my research skills.
My first week at AFSP included their annual Advocacy Forum. Being surrounding by advocates from across the country taught me to be comfortable with my own story and what the power of a small group of dedicated, passionate people, can do. Everyone I met at the forum took the time to talk with me and share their stories, which helped me come to terms with my own story and how I can use it to affect change. The Forum also allowed for bonding between the office staff and associates in a way not possible without it. I could not have asked for a better first week and am looking forward to hopefully attending more in the future.
As part of my responsibilities here I was assigned Congressional Committees to track and attend their hearings. On top of this, the staff made it very clear that we were encouraged to attend other hearings and events that spoke to our interests. While we are here to work and gain experience, they also wanted us to experience DC and everything it has to offer. This allowed me to attend the Senate Judiciary hearing where Terry Crews gave a life-changing testimony about his experiences and attend a forum where Senator Tammy Duckworth spoke about work and experiences with disabilities.
For two and a half months, I was surrounded by people who care not only about the work, but the people who get the work done. Everyone gets along and act like friends hanging out all day, not just coworkers occupying the same space. They were all quick to bring myself and the other interns into that fold, making us feel welcome and cared for. They made us feel equal and important to the office dynamic, and I could not have asked for a better experience. This office is exactly the type of place I want to work in the future and I cannot wait to come to DC after graduation and live out my dream.