Jesica Ray ’14
Major(s): Law & Policy
Internship Site: The National Coalition for the Homeless - Washington, DC
I knew I wanted to work in DC this summer and I was also sure that I wanted to work at a non-profit organization to get a feel for how they operate and what kind of work they do in relation to policy. I found a LONG list of well-known non-profits in DC and researched about 20. Then, I shortened the list to the ones I was most interested in and applied. A month or so later, a call came from my first choice NGO- the National Coalition for the Homeless. I accepted their internship position offer and applied immediately for the Career Center’s Summer Internship Grant.
The interns at NCH had Priority A, B, and C projects throughout the summer. Priority A was a short-term assignment and Priority C was our summer long assignment. My short term projects consisted of revising the Youth Fact Sheet, editing reports, organizing intern blogs for the NCH webpage, researching for a Women's Day article that was requested, handling media for Membership Matters Campaign, presenting to youth groups about youth homelessness, attending youth homelessness briefings on the Hill/ visiting foster homes, and working with voting rights information for the homeless. My priority C was to write a report on Youth Homelessness. This was my favorite assignment because I spent the most time working on it and was able to actually delve into the issue.
The first thing I noticed when I started my internship was how useful Dickinson professors have been and how I can use the knowledge and skills they taught me and apply them to the internship. The classes that helped most were Hoefler’s Foundations in Policy Studies and Hawks’ Economic Analysis of Policy. Both classes taught me how to format policy research papers, which was essential to my completion of the Youth Homelessness Report.
The internship helped me understand how difficult it is to run a non-profit. My career goals were reinforced through this internship. I realized more thoroughly the amount of work and dedication it will take to succeed in a human rights oriented career path. The internship taught me a bit about the policy writing side of social justice issues and gave me the opportunity to experience it first hand by attending meetings and briefings to see policy work firsthand.
Tips from Jesica:
Apply ONLY to places you are passionate about and whose missions you support. Students should always try to get the most out of their internship experience, and the best way to do that is to enjoy being where you are. Sharing the same objectives as your coworkers and employers is also a great way to network because conversations about shared issues can spark connections.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.