This summer I gained valuable hands-on experience through an External Affairs, Policy, and Advocacy Internship at the Prevent Cancer Foundation (PCF). Located just outside of Washington, D.C., this internship was the perfect way to further my understanding of and apply many of the concepts I’ve been learning about in my Health Policy and Management (HPM) and Political Science classes.
Let me first start off by explaining how I got this internship. Providence College has an amazing Office of Career Services where I went several times for guidance. I met with one of the career counselors, Joe McCarthy, and Joe was incredibly helpful. He reviewed my resume and cover letter and also helped me in my search for internships. Once I sent out applications and was invited to interview for a few positions, Joe even helped me practice and improve my interviewing skills.
Fastforward several months later and I started my internship at PCF! Just a bit about PCF: it’s the only nonprofit in the country dedicated to cancer prevention and early detection. My main duties included attending Congressional hearings and briefings on Capitol Hill, analyzing healthcare legislation, putting together grassroots materials, and I even got to do a bit of blogging by contributing to the Foundation’s Advocacy Blog.
Here are a few highlights from the summer:
- One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) Lobby Day – This was a way for cancer survivors, caregivers, lobbyists, and volunteers to get together to learn about the obstacles to improving cancer treatment, such as recent budget cuts in research spending. Guest speakers also provided some tips on effective lobbying. Once the training was finished, participants went to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators and discuss issues and solutions to improving cancer care.
- Advocacy Toolkit – My major project for the summer was helping PCF’s External Affairs Department in putting together an online toolkit for members of the community to use in their advocacy efforts. From contacting members of Congress to writing informational pieces for a local newspaper to getting others involved, this toolkit provides tips and examples for anyone who wishes to promote cancer prevention.
- E-Cigarette Rule – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed greater regulation over the use of e-cigarettes and cigars. After the rule was made public, the FDA offered a comment period for organizations and individuals to provide their opinions. I was tasked with reading and analyzing the proposed rule so PCF could draft a response for the FDA.
Besides gaining all of this invaluable experience, I absolutely loved the people I worked with. They were all so welcoming and eager to include me in what they were doing. I also received wonderful guidance in my preparation for graduate school. As I stated in my previous blog post, my goal is to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Health, and I was able to speak with a few of the people at PCF about applying to grad school as well as what to expect. They gave me great advice and even gave me some pointers about working in the professional world after grad school.
I cannot even begin to explain how lucky I feel to have had this internship. I learned so much and met so many amazing people. I am incredibly grateful for everything PCF has done for me.
I’m also grateful to Career Services for helping me to secure this internship. If you choose PC, you will have access to some of the best career advising around.
And, on one last note, if you’re interested in doing an internship in Washington, D.C. but don’t live in the D.C. area, look at PC’s Washington Semester Program! I didn’t participate in this since I’m from the D.C. area but it’s definitely worth checking out.