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Cal in the Capital Blog 2020

Cal in the Capital Interns in Washington, D.C.

Meet the student interns:

Amelia Jackson

UC Berkeley Class of 2022
Social Welfare and Education Major
Council for a Strong America

Amelia JacksonMy name is Amelia Jackson and I am in my final semester here at Cal, studying Social Welfare and Education. Over the summer, I interned at the Council for a Strong America (CSA) as a State Operations Intern, where I served as the only intern for this national organization. As a State Operations intern, I was responsible for upkeeping membership records via Salesforce, drafting membership recruitment letters, mapping target areas for membership recruitment, researching existing early childhood education and after-school program initiatives, as well as a host of other projects offered from various departments. I had the pleasure to connect and collaborate with many different state employees, meanwhile understanding more about the work of the individual and the organization at large. While working on the various projects, I learned a lot about early childhood education policy writing and existing initiatives that confront the issue areas of the organization. My work further contributed to my interest in education policy reform, as I was taught the beginning stages of reform; that is, building a collective movement of supporters through CSA’s unique membership recruitment and outreach strategies. Overall, my experience with the Council for a Strong America was very impactful as it introduced me to the manifestations of early childhood education policy, all while leveraging the influence of traditional social influencers, i.e. law enforcement officers and attorneys.

Anna Torres

UC Berkeley Class of 2021
Political Science Major; Human Rights Minor
Vital Voices Global Partnership

Ana TorresThis summer I interned at Vital Voices Global Partnership on the Human Rights Team. Vital Voices (VV) focuses on empowering women, but the Human Rights Team specifically works on projects to solve gender-based violence. When I started this internship, I knew I was interested in human rights violations during conflicts, however, this is a broad topic. Through my internship, I learned that I am interested in conflict-related areas with a gender focus. Moreover, by assisting the human rights team on research, budget narratives, grant proposals, and sub-awards, I had the opportunity to learn about the impactful work that numerous women around the world are doing in order to address gender-based violence. As someone whose career goal is to work on an international scale, my internship at VV reaffirmed this. Through my internship, I have gained knowledge about the importance of working with community leaders in order to enact change. Since community leaders know better the needs of their communities, we need to take into consideration community assessments, instead of taking a more general approach to every community. Nevertheless, having the opportunity to reaffirm my career interest would not have been possible without my participation in Cal in the Capital. CITC was not only valuable for professional development and understanding the DC environment, but also taught me to believe in myself and my capabilities.

Elizabeth Lewis

UC Berkeley Class of 2021
History Major; Philosophy Minor
The Borgen Project

Elizabeth LewisHaving a virtual internship, especially during this time, can be a little lonely. Through my particular experience as an intern for the Borgen Project, all of the tasks that interns are given can be completed with one person. However, I’ve found it much easier to navigate through certain tasks with people that I’ve connected with. In the Borgen Project’s Political Affairs Team Facebook group, I was able to connect with interns that also reside in the Bay Area in order to accomplish some of our assignments together. This included making a YouTube video promoting our organization and meeting with a staffer in one of our congressional senator’s offices to promote global poverty reducing legislation. Together we were able to convince them to co-sponsor the bill, which is a massive victory for our organization and people living in extreme poverty around the world. These connections that are helping me navigate the summer also stem outside my internship. I was able to connect with my alumni mentor through the Cal Alumni network in DC who has given me so much advice and has supported me throughout my internship. I am very grateful to have connected with her. While running a fundraiser for my internship, she spread the word amongst the alumni network allowing me to reach a larger clientele. Overall, I am extremely blessed to have met her this summer and I know that the knowledge she gives will stick with me during my remaining time at Cal.

Israel Garcia Ceballos

UC Berkeley Class of 2021
Political Science Major
Student PIRGs with CALPIRG Chapter

Isreal GarciaI initially expected my virtual internship to involve mostly independent work. However, since the first week, I realized that campaigning can create a positive virtual zoom community. Specifically, we were able to debrief while phone banking, making social media posts, and research to ensure that our campaign succeeded. One important lesson I was not anticipating to learn about was the importance of work boundaries since this was a virtual internship. However, this experience taught me that ensuring you have a designated workspace at home and that good ergonomics is the key to having a productive internship. In regards to Student PIRGs, the organization and colleagues were really politically passionate people that went above and beyond for social justice. My favorite speaker they introduced us interns to was the Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who was part of our organization during the 70s. Hearing her journey made me realize that our political process goes beyond politicians and that campaigns bring major change. Therefore, my virtual participation for this summer versus not doing anything at all was key to keeping our political process working because our democracy will not stop for COVID-19 and neither should campaigning. If anyone wants to pursue a virtual campaign internship, my best advice is to join an organization that commits to having group work because as a group everyone can build off each other and gain virtual campaign hacks that helps one bring a coalition together.

Justina Robinson

UC Berkeley Class of 2022
Political Science and Anthropology Major
D.C.’s Children’s Law Center

Justina RobinsonHello my name is Justina Robinson. I am a third year Political Science and Anthropology double major and this summer I interned at D.C.’s Children’s Law Center. My initial expectation of this internship was that it was going to be different. I was nervous that my internship would be too difficult to navigate given time differences and global circumstances that are constantly evolving. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by the capacity I am able to work and learn virtually in and I have received more hands-on experience than I would typically receive in an in-person internship. I have learned so much during my time at the CLC (Children’s Law Center). As the communications intern, I have been able to work on a variety of projects from memo analysis to website design. It has been an integral position that has given me the opportunity to branch out and understand the communications side of a law organization that specializes in child welfare with topics such as education assistance, housing accommodations, and guardianship. My transition into a virtual internship was aided by my mentors and colleagues. We crafted a plan together to make the most out of my summer and I feel a part of the team and its goals. It has meant a lot to me to be able to continue my knowledge virtually, although I was not able to physically go to D.C. I feel I have become an active member of the community by the knowledge I have gained and the work I have contributed.

Marcus Tan

UC Berkeley Class of 2021
Political Science and Economics Major
The American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD)

Marcus TanMy internship has refined my interest in public service and confirmed my interest in the non-profit sector, particular focused around international affairs. Throughout the course of the summer, I expanded my skills in developmental fundraising, website management and creation, and professional correspondence. These skills are crucial regardless of the particular job description so developing this overtime will certainly be useful. I also leveraged my existing skills and observed first-hand the impact my existing skills can have on a small, non-profit organization. These skills centered around understanding Google Suite applications, note-taking, and administrative support. In terms of an affect on my academic or career trajectory, it gave me clarity on wanting to work in something related to international relations. In terms of perspective, my experience was transformative in showing me that an actual professional setting was different from a classroom. During my internship, I realized just how important real experience is over pure academic performance. I am bringing this expanded mindset into my senior year to focus more on professional development and applicable skills. CITC has given me the guidance and impetus necessary to gaining my first internship. It was certainly a difficult process but CITC really helps you develop from a professional standpoint. That is why I highly recommend CITC to be continued for future students because it facilitates a bridge between academic learning and professional performance.

Morgan Livingston

UC Berkeley Class of 2021
Technology Policy, Interdisciplinary Studies Major; Data Science Minor
Wilson Center, Science and Technology Innovation Program

Morgan LivingstonAs a Research Assistant at the Wilson Center, a non-partisan think tank, I was surrounded by an open, thoughtful, and engaged community. My colleagues showed me how to integrate not only my technical and policy studies, but how to align my passion for research with my commitment to public service. While at the Wilson Center I wrote about quantum computing, the geopolitics of 5G, disinformation, and even interviewed an expert on automated vehicles. However, my most valued experiences were seeing the careful work of my bosses and coworkers to bring international policymakers, industry leaders, and experts together in conversation. They meticulously cultivated a space for dialogue, choosing the voices to include and the questions to ask. The skills I learned in my internship supported my volunteer work with the CDC, where I collaborated to create ethics training for AI, and with the UN, where I will be youth delegate to an expert group meeting on digital technologies and social development. I am grateful to the Wilson Center for instilling in me the value of multi stakeholder conversation, and to Cal in the Capitol for making possible a summer filled with diverse experiences and sincere connections. Coming back to Berkeley, I bring a renewed investment to research for the public interest, and a commitment to building spaces for open and informed dialogue.