Stefanie – Stockton University

Public Policy Associate

I knew that I was going to work for AFSP the moment I saw their name (as a psychology major and aspiring counseling psychologist, the phrase “suicide prevention” is pretty important). And as far as I’m concerned, my time at AFSP is exactly what an internship should be.

I started my work as a Public Policy Associate in late January of 2015, and after about three weeks in, I was meeting Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States! During my time at AFSP, I helped organize a Congressional Spouses USA event, assisted with several State Capitol Advocacy Days, tracked legislation and events in 25 states, compiled a report on Death with Dignity/Assisted Suicide bills, and attended various events, forums, and Congressional hearings. In addition to learning almost everything there is to know about government and the legislative process (things that were not often discussed in my psychology and criminal justice classes), I learned skills I’d never even thought I would – Excel, Publisher, design, phone etiquette, technical writing, news writing…the list goes on. There was hardly ever a dull day in the Public Policy Office!

At the conclusion of my semester, I was offered an amazing opportunity to stay with AFSP as a senior Public Policy Associate for the rest of the summer. I am forever grateful to John, Trevor, and Nicole for giving me the chance to stay on board with AFSP a little longer. I worked with the newest team of Public Policy Associates to organize another Congressional Spouses USA event with Judy Collins, and only two weeks after that, the annual Advocacy Forum! Working with AFSP has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life; I’ve met amazing people, gone places I thought I’d never would, and gained the courage to speak about my own experiences with mental illness.

Perhaps what’s most important about this job, however, is that you feel good doing it. The most rewarding part of working here is telling people about it; sure, 9 out of 10 times, someone asks me “So, you work the crisis lines or something, right?”, but it’s worth it to hear that 1 other person say “Thank you for doing what you do.”