Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Taubman Center

2020 Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Interns  

The students below were awarded the Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Internship, which provides up to eight students with $4,000 for an eight-week summer internship. To learn more about applying, click here.


Alenette Ballesteros ‘21 - Northeast-Midwest Institute: Washington, D.C.

This past summer I worked remotely at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C., as a healthcare finance intern. My research was primarily analyzing the impact of tax and fee revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19 on public and private rural healthcare delivery systems in the U.S. I also evaluated the efficacy of bills, such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, in offsetting COVID-related direct and opportunity costs particularly in the Northeast and Midwest region. Throughout, I was also aggregating data on rural hospital closures from the past 15 years to use for an in-depth policy analysis of these closures and their connection to capital markets.

The small size of the organization and being able to work remotely were the most rewarding aspects of my experience. On day one, one of the senior fellows I work with emphasized their philosophy of treating interns not as “interns-who-are-told-what-to-do”, but as fellow collaborators. Since the early stages of research projects, it was already evident that my opinion and ideas were welcomed and valued—in fact, the senior fellows intentionally sought them out. The senior fellows also deeply cared about my well-being and would give gentle reminders to spend quality time with my family and pursue other enjoyments. Overall, it was a supportive environment that cared about the holistic wellbeing of the intern.

Prior to this internship, I had limited knowledge and experience with healthcare finance, so I had much to learn about healthcare delivery systems and federal spending. I also grew to appreciate accurate data and precise analysis reporting not only for use in my research, but also to make policy research and analyses more accessible and comprehensible to legislators. We had an instance where we pointed out mistakes in a report published by a notable health institute, which they later revised and corrected. I witnessed genuine collaboration among policy institutions firsthand. My research also consistently delved in the intersection between public health, policy, and law, which I found both challenging and particularly engaging.

The most challenging aspect of my internship was definitely the six-hour time difference I had for being in Hawaii. However, the natureof my research did require deep reading and analysis for days at a time, so the time difference only became an issue when scheduling pan-organization meetings. In addition, the scheduled calls I would have with the senior fellows were always robust discussions where I also had the chance to receive guidance on research and often times, even life advice. Lastly, I have been given the opportunity to continue my internship into the fall semester, so I am excited to further my research on rural hospital closures, deepen my relationships within the organization, and explore a possibility of a policy capstone project on telehealth expansion and coverage.


Annabelle Liu ‘22 - Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School: New York, NY

This summer, I worked as a research intern  at the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School. Specializing in corporate, business, and transactional law, the mission of the organization is to develop business and policy solutions required to face the wide issues facing corporations and capital markets today. Several law- and economics-related research projects were underway at the center, but my involvement in particular focused on an initiative to “clean” corporate governance. Currently, a common strategy in empirical law and finance scholarship and policy analysis is to build a corporate governance “index” to determine how “well-governed” a company may be; however, despite these indexes’ widespread use, the accuracy of the commercial databases (such as ISS, CapitalIQ) that provide the raw inputs underlying the ubiquitous corporate governance “indexes” remains unclear. By digging up the corporate charters, or certificates of incorporation, of several hundred publicly traded companies on the EDGAR SEC database, our team provided substantive coding on the capitalization, governance, and liability provisions of companies to conclude that many of the commercial databases suffer from significant inaccuracies.

As a prospective future law school applicant, interning provided a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity to work closely with a leader at a world class law school. Even as an undergraduate student, I had access to a rare early introduction to a law school environment and faculty body, which will help in particular when letters of recommendation are needed in the future. Moreover, I was able to work alongside law students as well, gaining valuable opportunities for mentorship.

The Millstein Center’s mission offered a unique and special pertinence to my concentrations at Brown. I study behavioral economics (Behavioral Decision Sciences) and Public Policy, so being able to work with an expert on the intersection of finance, governance, and corporate law was the perfect opportunity to bridge my interests. Columbia is renowned for being especially leading in the field of business and corporate law, and I was able to work under someone who is an economist by training as well as a lawyer.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused new challenges for research funding and on boarding at universities, on top of causing the position to become remote. Luckily, the John Hazen White Award allowed me to source eight weeks of funding despite Columbia’s temporary freeze on research funds for on boarding. My experience was as fluid and comfortable as possible.


Audrey Kim '21 - Freedom of the Press Foundation

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern remotely for the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF). FPF is a nonprofit organization that empowers public-interest journalism in the 21st century through a number of ways: conducting legislative advocacy, running digital security trainings for journalists and news organizations,tracking press freedom violations in the U.S., and building secure communication tools for journalists and whistleblowers. I split my time between the advocacy and development team. My days usually consisted of drafting blog posts about press freedom, putting together material for various foundation grants, conducting fundraising research, and updating the organization’s social media feeds. 

Writing about press freedom issues, both in the U.S. and abroad, was one of the
most rewarding aspects of my internship. I wrote several articles, which were published on the FPF website. My supervisors were really helpful in the editing process, and their suggestions helped me organize my ideas more effectively. Through the process of writing and researching these issues, I was able to explore the press freedom context of my upcoming senior thesis research on state open
records laws.

In addition to developing a deeper knowledge of press freedom issues, I also gained a better understanding of how nonprofit fundraising works through my work with the development team. I enjoyed learning about grant writing and different fundraising models. It was interesting to see how development fits into nonprofit operations, especially in a smaller organization.

The most challenging aspect of my summer with FPF was, in keeping with the many, many obstacles of COVID-19, adjusting to working in a remote environment. I learned how to structure my own time to juggle my responsibilities for the advocacy team and the development team. I was also a bit apprehensive at first about virtual introductions to co-workers but became more proactive about engaging with people as time went on. Overall, my summer with FPF was a wonderful learning experience that allowed me to get a feel for what it’s like to work at a nonprofit and explore public policy issues that I care deeply about.


Becki Marcus '20 - Nonviolence Institute : Providence, RI

The John Hazen White Sr. Internship offered me the opportunity to work as a Policy Analyst at the Nonviolence Institute here in Providence. The Nonviolence Institute’s mission is to teach by word and practice the principles of nonviolence and help communities address potentially violent situations with nonviolent solutions. I had spent the past year embedded in the Institute’s policy department where I researched multi-agency initiatives to reduce youth contact with the justice system and build community-driven solutions through early prevention, intervention and diversion. This summer internship afforded me the opportunity to bring my research into conversation with diverse stakeholders in Rhode Island and begin to pave a path toward implementation of recommendations for collaboration across systems.

The most rewarding aspects of the internship were learning from the perspectives of city and state agency leaders on how my recommendations would come into conversation with agency initiatives underway. While I had begun researching well before the Black Lives Matter protests in the spring, the research suddenly became immediately relevant to the work of the Providence city officials responding to a groundswell of political momentum to reimagine public safety. I found that at the city and state levels, there was significant interest in the recommendations for increased collaboration to facilitate a paradigm shift in our approach to youth from criminal justice-based to public health-driven responses. 

I feel that the more you investigate a problem, in this case the incidences of youth arrests, the more you learn about all that has been done over years to try to address this problem. It was interesting to learn how much progress has been made to expand preventive services for youth in Rhode Island over the years, but also to see that formalized cross agency diversion processes had not been developed to prevent arrests on a uniform scale. It was even more interesting to see which stakeholders were open to beginning the process of initiating new program developments and which were more resistant to collaboration or systems change. 

The greatest challenge of the summer was that the work was largely self-driven. I had to learn to use my own connections and from information I gathered in previous conversations learn where to keep digging and where to reach out to learn more. Thankfully, the work has become much more structured now. After the summer internship I became hired as the Program Manager of the Three-Cities Nonviolence Program to support youth who may be impacted by gang violence in Providence Pawtucket and Central Falls. This project continues directly from my research and the connections I was making over the summer, and thankfully I now I have a robust framework to facilitate this multi-faceted collaborative project. 


Benjamin Myers '20.5 - South Kingstown GIS Planning Department

This summer, thanks to the kind support of the John Hazen White scholarship, I was fortunate enough to intern for the Planning Department of the Town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, under the guidance of the planning department’s GIS administrator, Carol Baker.  GIS, or Geographic Information Systems/Software, is a powerful suite of analytical software that allows municipal departments to easily collect and convey information to the relevant stakeholders in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In my position as GIS Assistant, I created an online portal for the Parks and Recreation Department that helps the department solidify their online footprint and make it easier to convey important information about closures, park availability, and amenity information to the general public. This helps them achieve their mission to convey information in a timely manner, and enrich the park visitor experience through ease of access. I also looked into advanced applications of GIS software in the support of municipal operations (such as storm water or emergency management) and wrote documentation to allow for project replicability across different town departments. 

During this internship, I had a target to create a web portal using GIS that would share information with visitors. However, the actual implementation and workflow were up to me, which was at first a great challenge. GIS is an extremely multifaceted system, so it’s not easy to create a workflow from scratch. It was very rewarding to start comparing examples of other municipal GIS portals in order to get a sense of how they were constructed and what purposes they served. This helped me structure my own approach and get a better sense of what the workflow was like. Using a comparative approach, I was able to see which aspects would be most appropriate for South Kingstown’s goals and develop those workflows accordingly. The most meaningful feedback I received from the Parks and Rec Department was that “this will serve the public immensely.”

This internship was a learning experience in both the capacities of GIS, and some of the limitations of municipal departments. The GIS department consisted of Carol Baker and myself, so at times there were bottlenecks in communication about the next steps or feedback on previous iterations. This helped me learn about the importance of pre-emptive project planning, so that I could present a number of edits to the Parks and Recreation Department at once, rather than waiting for feedback on one edit at a time. Gaining a sense of some of the real limitations of municipal operations caused by their size can help me in my career goals to enter municipal or state government in an environmental or policy making capacity. Furthermore, in comparing different examples of GIS uses for this project, I learned how GIS can vastly magnify the impact of municipal operations by facilitating cross-departmental collaboration and task sharing.  

The most challenging aspect of this internship was learning how to accomplish project goals with much less feedback and direction than I am typically used to in a class environment. My comparative research early on in my internship was instrumental in helping me establish a baseline, after which I was able to piece together a workflow and documentation from my own experience and available sources. It reinforced my appreciation for technical training in what GIS is capable of, as well as the importance of thinking outside the box to make the most out of limited resources. By taking a more active approach in developing the guidelines of the project, I was able to navigate around some bottlenecks and speed up production of the end project. 

GIS empowers stakeholders and creates common ground for meaningful conversations in policy, governance, and science, and is a great tool, and I encourage anyone interested in environmental policy, municipal governance, engineering, or any field where you’re interacting with stakeholders, to investigate how GIS can assist them through information and task sharing. 


Erza Ajeti '22 - Office of the President of Kosovo

Through the John Hazen White Internship I was able to spend the summer working for one of my greatest idols, the Fourth President of the Republic of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga. Working at the Office of the President, I was able to assist in arranging the daily schedule of the President, initiating project ideas, preparing talking points and briefing the President on the latest worldwide developments related to women and youth and social inclusion. Additionally, I handled phone calls, meeting requests, taking photographs during meetings, and maintaining the official social media of the President of the Republic of Kosovo.

The most rewarding part of my internship was the opportunity to be a part of a powerful team of women, who were guided by progressive principles and tirelessly worked to better the lives of the most marginalized communities in Kosovo. President Jahjaga is a formidable force and witnessing the impact she has on the lives of survivors of sexual assault during the Kosovo War was inspiring. This experience transcended everything I could have learned in a classroom setting, and gave me a glimpse into the way diplomacy can be utilized to bring positive change.

Through this internship, I was able to grasp how to craft efforts and policies in ways which will amplify your desired effects, and positively impact the lives of people. I learned first-hand the importance of avoiding top-down solutions, and how to cooperate with local actors to broaden the scope of your political engagement work.

The most challenging part of my internship was figuring out how to navigate through these unprecedented times with COVID-19, and rethinking how I could best contribute considering the political and economic situation was in constant flux. I was able to overcome this challenge by coming up with creative solutions and cooperating with a network of hardworking people in Kosovo to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in the planned projects, events and meetings.


Kimberly Collins '22 - Center for Court Innovation

This summer I had the honor of working as a summer intern with the Center for Court Innovation in the Fair and Just Prosecution division. The Center for Court Innovation is a criminal justice think tank that works to produce a fair, effective, and humane justice system through research, programming, and expert assistance to reformers around the world. Fair and Just Prosecution supports newly elected local prosecutors who have a central mission to promote a more fair justice system by providing research materials, in-person convenings, technical assistance, and ongoing information sharing. As a summer intern for Fair and Just Prosecution, I was able to research various topics that pertain to criminal justice law such as juvenile justice, the decriminalization of mental illness, bail reform, and restorative justice. Also, I was tasked to track public commitments to reform in the wake of recent protests over police brutality in the United States. Lastly, one of my final tasks was to conduct research and write a white paper on the unjust criminalization of women and girls, with a special focus on women and girls of color. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship experience was the ability to conduct research and write a paper on an area of focus that Fair and Just Prosecution had not yet extensively analyzed. Figuring out the major issues/trends that lead to the criminalization of women and girls and their continued suppression was pivotal to my research and pushing forward an understanding of how women and girls can be better supported by prosecutors and other actors in the criminal justice system. Discussing my findings with my supervisor furthered my understanding of my research and contextualized the information I was provided. It was a humbling experience that allowed me to lift up the voices and stories of justice-involved women and girls who are often overlooked. 

This experience furthered my understanding of how the U.S. criminal justice system needs to be re-imagined. Through learning the work of progressive prosecutors and completing deep dives into issues that have captured public attention, like bail reform and qualified immunity, it was clear to me that our current system has major systemic flaws. Further, I was able to learn how actors within the system are fighting for change, on both a micro and macro level. 

While the events of this summer were overwhelming, this internship experience gave me an outlet to better understand many of the issues surrounding police brutality and the criminalization of communities of color at large. Working for an organization that has anti-racist principles and practices demonstrated to me all the work that is being done on a community level to foster positive change. I’m grateful that I had a productive outlet that allowed me to take my frustration of the current events and passion for reimagining a better society and transform it into research and materials that furthered the aim of the organization.


Luqmaan Bokhary '21 - Borderlands for Equity

This summer, I worked as an Advocacy and Legal Fellow at Borderlands for Equity, a pro-bono civil rights organization focused on advocacy and legal representation for those discriminated based on gender, religion, and race in the greater San Diego County region. As one of the inaugural fellows of the organization, I partook in co-defining the vision, roles, and responsibilities of the fellowship program. I co-facilitated a check-in for youth activists of color, co-organized programs and call-to-actions against the migrant detention centers and the ICE directive on international students, and advocated for immigrant rights and protections, affirmative action, and anti-surveillance measures at the local and state government. On the back end, I also created social media content to help with advertising for events, assisted website development, and drafted steps for future fundraising, which I will be continuing as a member of the Student Advisory Council.

The most rewarding aspect of my internship definitely had to be advocating on behalf of the Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (MEMSA) communities that I grew up in. While Borderlands for Equity broadly serves communities of color, it is one of the few MEMSA-led organizations in San Diego. Because of this, we were able to conduct teach-ins and know-your-rights trainings in ways that were relevant and accessible to our communities and I was able to focus on issues such as surveillance that disproportionately affect MEMSA and Black communities in San Diego. Through this experience, I was able to apply my education and prior experience in policy work for the betterment of my communities, which was incredibly fulfilling.

During the course of the summer, I learned a ton about community organizing and what it takes to bring people together for or against some type of legislation. While Zoom was able to facilitate our teach-ins, there were times we needed to hold press conferences, join a mass demonstration, or host a car contingent. It suffices to say I learned many things from how to write a press release to defensive driving for a car contingent, but through it all, I learned how to work in coalition with other folks and how to apply collective pressure, even during a pandemic that made coming together physically challenging. By the end of the summer, I felt I was a much better organizer, educator, and better aware of the different policy campaigns and actions affecting MEMSA communities in San Diego. I look forward to continuing this work in an advisory capacity and am grateful for the Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Internship Award for supporting me in this endeavor!


Nidhi Bhaskar '21 - Children's Hospital of Los Angeles

This summer, I interned with the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles in the Divisions of Endocrinology and Urology for 11 weeks. My initial project was intended to be lobbying against Senate Bill 201, which opposes and aims to unilaterally prevent surgical operation of patients under the age of 18. The Senate Bill specifically included restrictions on operations relating to disorders of sexual differentiation (DSD) and gender affirmation surgeries, on the grounds that these kinds of surgeries are unnecessary and may cause the patient to incur regrets later in life once gender identity is stable. For the first part of the summer, I conducted research that supported modifications to this bill, including provisions for rigorous informed consent procedures prior to surgical interventions in pediatric patients, information relating to parental education and de-stigmatization of DSD conditions, and outlining specific exceptions to the bill, such as in cases where immediate intervention was necessary for functional results, and in cases where delayed surgical intervention would result in an increase risk of malignancy (in the form of greater risk of the development of cancer) for the patient.

Due to the progression of COVID-19, CHLA's political lobbying efforts were progressing at a slower pace, so I concurrently worked with my mentors to plan and execute the creation of a DSD Center for Excellence for CHLA. We examined and synthesized pertinent systematic reviews, perused opinion pieces by multiple stakeholders and organizations advocating on issues related to individuals with DSD, and created founding documents for the creation of our own clinic and program. 

The latter half of my internship focused on re-evaluating opioid prescription policies among pediatric patients. As pain was previously considered to be a vital sign through the late 1990s and early 2000s, physicians were endorsed to liberally prescribe opioid medications to most patients. Due to the ongoing opioid epidemic, care systems and providers have been urged to re-evaluate their current opioid use policies and to more closely monitor and reduce the amount of opioid prescriptions given to postoperative patients. I worked to create an evidence-based policy proposal that advocated for age limitations, a patient and parent consent process, and an opt-in model to accepting opioid prescriptions in post-operative pediatric patients. 

Each of the three projects I engaged with over the course of the summer taught me about a specific aspect regarding the creation and maintenance of evidence-based policies within a hospital setting. In addition to improving upon skills I had learned in my public policy coursework (ie:  drafting policy briefs, conduct literature searches), I learned to appreciate viewpoints other than those I assumed, and to listen and reconcile the concerns of all stakeholders surrounding the care of a serious medical condition that was shrouded in ethical considerations. I additionally learned to design my own research study and to communicate the implications of research upon policy clearly and effectively

Drafting materials to revisit protocols and presenting my findings on each of these projects in smaller cohort meetings and in hospital division-wide meetings was incredibly rewarding to me, as I truly was able to engage with the process of instigating change with regard to medical policies and protocols on the local and community level. Furthermore, I enjoyed being involved in the creation of patient-facing materials, as I was able to specifically tailor the information and evidence I had researched to be approachable and compelling to each of the demographic groups of people I was working with. At times, I was challenged by rapid deadlines and the fast pace associated with balancing multiple distinct projects, and I learned to better allocate my daily schedule and plan out tasks for the week to meet these challenges. I found my work this summer to be an incredible glimpse into the translational nature of research and an opportunity to catalyze evidence-based change in institution-wide health policies and practices.


Victoria Caruso '21 - The Bellmore Herald Life

This summer, I worked as a reporting intern at The Bellmore Herald Life, my hometown’s weekly local paper. The newspaper is part of a larger chain, The Long Island Herald, which I occasionally wrote for as well. My reporting was centered around the impact of COVID-19 on Bellmore-Merrick’s residents and businesses. I wrote stories about the pandemic’s effect on schools, restaurants, and non-profit organizations. I also contributed to several of the Herald’s community guides — annual publications that serve as an introduction to towns across Long Island. 

The most rewarding aspect of my internship was being able to look closely at how different policies affect my hometown. Before this internship, I spent the majority of my journalism career reporting on Rhode Island, so it was exciting to be able to shift my attention to issues surrounding my local community. With each story, I built relationships with organizations in Bellmore that I never had the opportunity to engage with before and gained a deeper understanding of how they have been affected by the pandemic. 

Under the guidance of an editor, I improved my ability to write succinctly and produce content under strict deadlines. The internship challenged me to find local angles to national stories, and it was satisfying to see the impact I was having by writing on a community level.

Interning at The Bellmore Herald Life has demonstrated the importance of hyperlocal reporting and the need for the resurgence and preservation of these newsrooms across the U.S. This experience has affirmed my desire to work as a journalist post-graduation, and I plan on continuing to keep people informed and engaged through my work. 


2020 Noah Krieger ’93 Intern

The student below was awarded the Noah Krieger '93 internship, which provides a $4,500 stipend for an outstanding public policy concentrator who is particularly interested in public service to pursue an eight-week unpaid summer internship. 


Hannah Ponce ‘22 - Law Office of Attorney Arturo Burga 

This summer, the Noah Krieger ’93 Internship Award provided me with the opportunity to work as a legal intern in the law offices of Attorney Arturo Burga in Rancho Cucamonga, California. As a legal clerk specializing in immigration cases, my duties at Burga Law Firm PC often included the assistance of clients and staff in the preparation of various USCIS forms and applications – i.e. Applications for Employment Authorization (I- 765), Adjustment of Status (I-485), and Petitions for Immigrant Relatives (I-130). I also supported the firm’s lead paralegal by aiding in the translation and preparation of their written declarations, reading and summarizing relevant court decisions, and conducting sociological and legal research for the preparation of humanitarian parole requests, motions to reopen, and legal briefs. 

Growing up in a low-income Mexican-American household, I bore witness to the ramifications of unfair social and economic policies within my own life and the lives of my family members daily. These experiences directly influenced my desire to pursue a career based in public service and social justice. My time at Brown thus far has reflected this desire, as I have centered my academic focus upon minority representation in government and the civil and human rights violations waged against minority and immigrant populations in the United States. 

Undoubtedly, having the opportunity to engage with the aforementioned issues while providing whatever support I could to the strong immigrant communities in and around my hometown was the most rewarding aspect of my time interning at Burga Law Firm PC. I truly believe that the most valuable lessons I learned from this internship arose from my engagement with the lived experiences and histories of the attorney’s clients. 

Though it was initially challenging to navigate some of the legal jargon and writing styles associated with the work I was undertaking, my supervisor – the attorney’s lead paralegal—guided me step by step through each task I was given, providing me with helpful feedback and opportunities for growth along the way. With her guidance, I was able to learn and perform legal research and writing that I would otherwise not be able to engage with in my undergraduate career. Overall, this allowed me to gain a sense of confidence in myself and my future endeavors in academia and the legal field—these endeavors in which, I hope to become an actor in creating immigration reform on the national level, relieving the undue burden faced by immigrants in this country. 


2019 Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Interns  

(From left to right: Hannah Rosenstein, Michael Mills, Alec Goldstone, Alyssa Sanders, John Hazen White Jr., Matthew Bailey, Travis Williams, Rose Lang-Maso, Elizabeth Tran)

These students were awarded the Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Internship, which provides up to eight students with $4,000 for an eight-week summer internship. To learn more about applying, click here.


Matthew Bailey '21 - National Political Advocacy Department at ACLU: Washington, D.C.

My internship was in the National Political Advocacy Department at the ACLU’s office in Washington, D.C. A large part of my internship was spent working with the Political Organizing team, which was focused on a campaign called “Rights for All” this summer. Rights for All is a campaign that is attempting to get the Democratic presidential candidates on the record about civil liberties issues, from abortion to immigration to voting rights. Part of my job was organizing people in the states where the candidates were most often – usually Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina – to go to these candidates events and get them on the record making commitments regarding these issue areas. Alongside this work on the presidential campaigns, I also performed strategic elections research about state-level elections for the ACLU to get involved in, as well as lobbying efforts for sitting Representatives and Senators. Overall, my work primarily consisted of organizing and campaign research.

The ACLU did a great job of making this a really involved, engaging internship experience that allowed me to see all sides of what the organization is doing. The job changed every single day, and I wasn’t just sitting in a desk all summer; I was actually watching things get done. My mentors were extremely helpful throughout the entire summer, and were really interested in seeing me develop as a person and get to know the organization. The combination of office atmosphere, variety of work, and proximity to organizational goings-on made the internship an extremely rewarding experience.

While the internship was extremely rewarding from an experiential perspective, it also taught me things that I couldn’t have learned in the classroom. Interacting directly with presidential candidates and attempting to organize around their campaigns gave me deep insight into the race and showed me how much candidates resist making commitments. Additionally, getting these candidates on the record on important issues required deep organizing in communities that were extremely different, which showed me how difficult it can be to really create widespread political movements in disconnected communities. These lessons were only learned through experience, and would’ve been impossible to really glean in a classroom on College Hill. The Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Internship at the ACLU really allowed me to delve into the real world and apply what I had learned about Public Policy at Brown to the field.

While the internship at the ACLU was a great experience, it didn’t come without its challenges. I had to be proactive about my assignments, and handle instructions from multiple supervisors who often weren’t in communication. Balancing orders from several different departments required me to be extremely organized and efficient in my workflow. Additionally, I had to learn to speak up this summer; I would often attend board or department meetings in which I was the youngest attendee. However, after getting comfortable with my surroundings and learning how to offer my opinions respectfully and productively, I was able to participate to conversations effectively and get more out of the meetings I attended. Overall, gaining a sense of confidence in a new field and environment was huge for me this summer, and I’ll be able to apply that confidence to my work going forward, no matter where I end up.


Alec Goldstone ‘20 - Office of Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Congressman John P. Sarbanes: Washington, D.C.

The Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Internship offered me the opportunity to intern in the Capitol Hill offices of Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) and Congressman John P. Sarbanes (MD-03). My days consisted of corresponding with constituents, attending congressional briefings conducting research for legislative staffers, and writing memos.

One rewarding aspect of my internships was the freedom that my supervisors gave me to make the most out of my time on Capitol Hill. With this opportunity, I was able to attend congressional briefings and other events that were of interest to me. Additionally, I found it incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to sit down with the congressmen whom I worked for and discuss the policymaking process and the role of Congress.

I believe that the most valuable thing that I learned from these internships came from listening to the perspectives of voters (constituents and non-constituents) who called in and wrote letters to the offices. This was especially the case in Leader Hoyer’s office where the majority of correspondence was received from non-constituent voters around the entire country. This allowed me to broaden my understanding of many political opinions and concerns that are different than my own.

The greatest challenge that I faced during my internships was the fast-paced work environment, especially on days when Congress was in session. Taking phone calls while managing other work required multitasking and deep concentration. While this was challenging at first, I was able to overcome this difficulty by seeking advice from my supervisors and learning effective multitasking strategies.


Rose Lang-Maso ’20 - EMILY’s List: Washington, D.C.

This summer, I worked as a Research Intern at EMILY’s List, a PAC dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women up and down the ballot. I worked in the Research Department along with the State and Local Campaigns team on vetting candidates for potential endorsement and drafting opposition memoranda. I also created state-specific reports with relevant press clips, issue briefs, and FEC filings. Lastly, my intern team was responsible for updating research files and archives in preparation for elections in 2019 and 2020. 

The most rewarding aspect of my internship was the opportunity to work at a values-based organization on a primarily female team. I have had incredibly dynamic experiences organizing for campaigns and rushing between hearing rooms on the Hill -  but this was the first time I worked not in service of a singular candidate or legislator, but in the service of a set of values and beliefs. There was space for me to learn at EMILY’s List about political research, complexities of the endorsement process, and how large-scale advocacy and PAC operations work. 

I also loved living, working, and learning in Washington, D.C, where I will return this upcoming summer, thanks to the generosity of the Truman Foundation. It is at EMILY’s List that I confirmed that I do in fact want to work in the progressive space. I also gained new hard skills in this internship, like analyzing large sets of data and researching using tools like Nexis Lexis and Follow the Money. 

The most challenging aspect of this internship was completing opposition research, not because the process itself was difficult, but because I had to professionally confront the views of our opponents in order to help our teams create cohesive strategies to ensure pathways to successful for EMILY’s List candidates. Additionally, the 9-6, a schedule much different than the one I keep at Brown, was an adjustment. Likewise, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of independence I was afforded, in the workplace, even as an intern. I would recommend that anyone interested in gaining more experience in the progressive space with a passion for reproductive rights apply for an internship at EMILY’s List!


Michael Mills '20 - Office of Alderman Samantha Nugent in Chicago’s 39th Ward: Chicago, IL

I spent my summer interning in the office of Alderman Samantha Nugent in Chicago’s 39th Ward. Alderman Nugent had been sworn in the week prior to my first day on the job, and I was immediately thrown into the action. As a result of replacing an Alderman who held a number of committee chairmanships, our office was faced with a significant reduction in budget. Along with managing constituent services, I was also responsible for analyzing legislation before City Council, drafting memos to stakeholders, and outlining best practices for the office’s community zoning master plan. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship was the ability to work across departments and cut through bureaucratic red tape to provide better service for the residents of the 39th Ward. Whether that meant getting a garbage truck to fulfill a missed pickup or expediting the results of a lead test, constituents were always appreciative of our office’s effort. Week after week, we met neighbors who relied on us to make sure they received the city services that they expected.

I quickly learned how important it is for the city and its various departments to work together. We constantly heard horror stories about the water department tearing up and repaving a street one month, only for the Department of Transportation to go back a month later and tear it up again. Toward the end of my internship, a particularly difficult sewer-lining project in the 39th Ward pushed residents to the limits of their patience. I was able to schedule a community meeting at a cafe near the affected street, and we brought in the commissioner of the water department, Department of Water Management engineers, and the Alderman to quell any outstanding concerns. Our office walked away with an appreciation for direct communication, and for bringing all of the facts out into the light. 

At the end of the summer, I improved my ability to analyze legislation and gained a deep understanding of Chicago’s zoning code, politics, and bureaucratic structure. While I often felt challenged in the fast-paced environment of the office, I felt that I had made a meaningful impact on the office’s policy goals.


Hannah Rosenstein ‘20 - Just Grace: Cape Town, South Africa

This summer, I worked as a community development intern for the nonprofit, Just Grace, in Cape Town, South Africa through SIT’s study abroad Social Justice and Activism program. Just Grace is a community-based organization working to capitalize on the strengths of the residents of the Langa township with the ultimate goal of alleviating poverty and uplifting the community. Through holistic supports for children and adults, Just Grace offers a wide variety of services including counseling, employment search assistance, domestic violence and substance abuse assistance, further education and training, entrepreneurship, computer training, financial literacy, legal referrals, high school academic programs, and more. As an intern, I conducted research to create and implement engaging workshops for adults and high school students about personal growth and community development topics, such as career exploration, sexual abuse, and HIV prevention. I also created content for educational and community outreach initiatives torecruit new clients and volunteers.

The most rewarding part of my internship was having the opportunity to immerse myself in a new country and culture while also building professional skills in a nonprofit setting. Living, learning, and working in Cape Town allowed me to challenge my assumptions about the most effective and ethical ways to engage in community development initiatives. I formed close relationships with the students and families in Langa, which made my internship work enjoyable and meaningful.

While it was sometimes challenging to navigate the ethical concerns associated with working with members of a community of which I was not a part, I learned how to communicate with colleagues and clients of different backgrounds. Gaining experience at a nonprofit organization in an international setting allowed me to expand my knowledge of the complexities facing NGOs with limited resources. My internship at Just Grace provided valuable experiences that will inform my future community engagement work.


Alyssa Sanders '20 - Children’s Defense Fund-New York: New York City, New York

This past summer I worked for Children’s Defense Fund-New York (CDF-NY). I researched issues pertaining to food policy in both New York City and New York State. I primarily focused on how cuts to Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would affect New Yorkers. I used my research to write papers that informed residents and called for advocacy efforts. I also did some community building to facilitate our initiative on spreading information about lead poisoning prevention.

I really enjoyed the responsibility entrusted in me and the ability to affect policy efforts. I essentially became the organization’s policy expert on SNAP and BIC. I also appreciated the fact that the work I was doing would directly inform and therefore enable residents to engage with policy. It is really important to me that communities that are directly affected by policy have the knowledge base to advocate for their needs, and I was proud to be able to contribute to that.

I was challenged by understanding and succinctly communicating policy and figuring out how to make it appealing and readable to community members. Through working with my supervisor, I was able to simplify a lot of the concepts presented by legal documents. She also directed me towards more accessible websites, both for my own comprehension, and for modeling the papers I crafted. She also encouraged me to collaborate with our media interns to create more appealing and catchy graphics for the reader. Through this experience, I learned how to read through dense legal documents, particularly various legislation, and how tomake my advocacy papers more effective.


Elizabeth Tran '20 - U.S. Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch: Washington, D.C 

I worked at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Consumer Protection Branch in Washington, D.C. The Consumer Protection Branch of the DOJ enforces the majority of federal statutes that protect American consumers from deceptive, unfair, or fraudulent practices. The Branch also defends the government’s consumer protection agencies in legal challenges to federal policies. As an intern, I assisted attorneys and paralegals on active cases involving opioid abuse, tobacco litigation, and various forms of fraud (mail, wire, technology, elder care, health care). I had experience working on both civil and criminal litigation.

The most rewarding part of my internship was joining an incredible family of legal experts and civil servants. From day one, my supervisor emphasized that, as an intern, I would be regarded as an equal member of each litigation team. There was always appreciation and affirmation in the office that my work was important and that my input was valued. One highlight was having the opportunity to work directly on the largest criminal case ever involving identity theft of veterans and military affiliated personnel. It was a privilege to play a role in such an impactful case and to help bring justice to the more than 3,000 victims involved in the international scheme.

There were so many lessons that I took away from this experience. From handling a diverse caseload, I gained experience with synthesizing large volumes of complex information on a deadline. From projects, trainings, and agency visits, I witnessed firsthand the collaborative relationships between the DOJ and other federal agencies. From one-on-one conversations with the attorneys, I received valuable insight and advice on the legal profession at large.

A challenging aspect of my internship was constantly balancing multiple cases at any given time. I often had upcoming deadlines for different projects, each for a different attorney. To manage the caseload, I strove to maintain consistent communication with my supervising attorneys, to collaborate with other interns, and to continuously practice time management.

I am so thankful to have had a front-row seat in observing how the Justice Department advocates on behalf of the American consumer every day. With the Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. award, I had the opportunity to explore this exciting area of law while continuing to pursue my interest in government and public affairs.


Travis Williams ’20 - Office of the Mayor: Providence, Rhode Island

The Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Internship allowed me to stay right here in Providence this summer, where I was able to continue my policy education in our very own City Hall. My position was under the Office of the Mayor where I conducted policy research for a variety of projects. I spent the majority of my time working to create summary reports of various issues and solutions that encapsulated general findings as well as Providence context. I attended internal and external meetings, communicated with constituents and other state governments, and spent many hours reviewing literature.

This was my first time seeing the government side of policy making firsthand and I found it to be pretty inspiring. Local government is where research and people meet, and City Hall has to put out something real. From childcare to protecting the planet, our government has tough challenges to face and many flaws in the current system to overcome. However, from the mayor to the treasurer to team managers, everyone I met cared deeply about making things better. These are the people who think our government can do better and are putting in the hours of work necessary for change.

The hardest part about the internship was trying to keep everything in perspective. Working on everything from education to tree placement emphasizes the ways in which issues are connected but can also make big change seem impossible. When you talk to people directly affected by these issues, a memo can feel like it could never make a dent without addressing funding and other systematic issues. This is why I think the process of policymaking turns every good civil servant in to an advocate. I hope to carry this culture of compassion and drive forward with me.


2018 Happy and John Hazen White, Sr. Interns

(From left to right: Emily Rehmet, Leslie Benevidas, John Hazen White Jr., Laura Henny, Hannah Guevara)


Hannah Guevara ‘20 - Children Now; Los Angeles, CA


I worked as an early childhood policy intern at Children Now in Los Angeles. I compiled research and wrote case studies focused on effective early childhood investments throughout school districts in California. Specifically, I focused on the need for increased investments in pregnant/parenting teen programs, resources for dual language learners, and family resource centers.

The most rewarding aspect of this internship is the fact that my case studies will soon be posted on Children Now’s website and sent to elected officials to show them of the importance of investing in teen parenting programs, dual language learning programs, and family resource centers.

This ground level policy experience really gave me critical insight into the chain of public policy and Children Now showed me how advocacy organizations navigate between the worlds of lobbying, foundations, elected officials, non-profits, and the government. Because of this, I learned how much collaboration within policy spaces is critical to ensure you are providing the most sensible and correctly framed information.

One of the most challenging parts of the internship was understanding the incredibly high ROI of early childhood programs but seeing very low investment. Even though investing in early childhood programs has proven to be one of the most effective ways to decrease crime, increase educational attainment as well as long-term employment and health, many school districts spend much more focus and investment on the K-12 system.


Asher Lehrer-Small ‘20 - Christine Hallquist's campaign for Governor of Vermont Burlington, Vermont

I joined a small team and thus contributed to many different parts of the Christine Hallquist's campaign for Governor of Vermont. The projects that I worked on included building a system for grassroots engagement through Vermont's Front Porch Forum network, formulating the "Government Accountability, Accessibility, and Inclusion" portion of Christine's platform, envisioning and executing the field organizing efforts before the primary election, and regularly updating and building new pages of the campaign website. Now I am continuing my work on the campaign and am managing a team of Policy Specialist Interns.

The most rewarding aspect of the internship was being able to join a team that highly valued my ideas and feedback. From my first day, Christine told me that we need the input of youth on the campaign, because the campaign wanted to be sure to engage the younger generation. That led to my creating with Christine a series of candid videos featuring short interview clips of Christine, as well as helping her develop a portion of her platform devoted to Government Accessibility and Inclusion.

Christine comes from a background as the Chief Executive of Vermont's largest electric utility, and she brought the company forward by sitting down one-on-one with every single employee, every year to hear their feedback. After learning about this ethos from Christine, and after seeing it first-hand on the campaign team, I suggested that she incorporate a version into her platform as Governor, and offered to take a stab at writing that policy. She agreed and liked what I created! In this way, I also learned that working on a team, if I listen well and put my ideas out there, I can have a meaningful impact.


Emily Rehmet ‘20 - Center for Science and Law in Houston, TX and Diamond Research Consultants in Hartford, CT


I worked at Diamond Research Consulting in Hartford, CT and remotely for the Center for Science and Law in Houston, TX. The Center for Science and Law is a policy think tank that harnesses neuroscience, data science, and legal research to advance the criminal justice system.  During my time working for this think tank, I co-wrote a National Institute of Justice grant on combating violence against women. Diamond Research Consulting provides insightful and actionable data for social sector organizations and leaders to achieve and demonstrate meaningful social impact. As a public policy summer intern, I wrote a policy brief "The Effects of Trauma on the Brain and the Body’s Autonomic Nervous System and Its Policy Implications for Criminal Rehabilitation" that made the case for reforming the criminal justice system from a neuroscience-based perspective.

While there were many rewarding aspects of my internship experiences, one aspect I thought was particularly fulfilling was seeing my writing be published to a larger audience. At Brown, our writing usually goes without publication, so it was rewarding to see my work make effect in the real world. Furthermore, I really enjoyed collaborating with experts in the policy realm. Talking to them about their path to their current career was helpful in guiding my own career aspirations.

When I was originally looking for a summer internship, I wanted to explore the intersection of my two concentrations (public policy and cognitive neuroscience) in the real world. With the John Hazen White Internship Award, I was able to combine these two interests at top choice organizations. At the Center for Science and Law, I was able to see how neuroscience can be applied to improve the criminal justice system, and at Diamond Research Consulting I explored the effects of adolescent trauma on individuals in the criminal justice system. Overall, this work enabled me to examine how intersecting disciplines combine to guide the formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies and social problems. As an aspiring lawyer, these internships gave me a strong foundation for the realities of our criminal justice system.


Laura Henny ‘19 - International Criminal Court

I was given the opportunity to work with many different departments within the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). For the Trust Fund’s legal department, I undertook research projects and wrote legal memos and desk reviews containing my findings. In the realm of communications, I drafted press releases and calls for donations directed at the nations party to the Rome Statute, which is the founding document of the ICC. For the finance department, I assisted with drafting and editing the TFV’s 2018-2019 budget narrative for presentation to the ICC Committee on Budget and Finance as well as editing the executive summary for presentation to the Assembly of States Parties. Miscellaneous duties included briefing staff on relevant issues, helping with logistics and planning for high-level meetings, and compiling data.

This internship has been one of the most formative experiences of my life up to this point. Academically, I have had the chance to apply knowledge I had previously only been exposed to in the classroom. Professionally, being in the ICC environment provided me with extensive exposure to the highest level of international criminal law. The varied nature of my work meant that I was able to interact with many different departments and subject matter, which has in turn allowed me to more clearly identity upcoming goals for my career, both immediately post-Brown and farther into the future. Only through hands-on experience can such realizations be achieved, and I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity.

On a personal level, I was able to interact with colleagues from all over the globe; as an example, the 12 professionals working in the headquarters of the TFV during my time there represented 11 different nationalities. This resulted in a potential for dialogue and cultural exchange that is usually  impossible to achieve, and these conversations and dialogues were easily some of the highlights of the internship experience for me.


Leslie Benavides ‘20 - Stop US Arms to Mexico Project

This summer, I researched homicides per 15 days in Mexico and the firearm used in those homicides. Many homicides are done using AR-15s or AK-47s, and many of these firearms are traded into Mexico from the United States-- both legally and illegally.

My summer experience has taught me that policy needs feedback. It is important that people are often researching the effects of policy-- applied policy research can do this by examining the social and economic effects on people, institutions, and countries. In order for policy to be restorative and helpful, it needs feedback from the very people it is affecting.

I have deepened my understanding surrounding the effect of policy implementation. Policies between the United States and other countries, in this case Mexico, can be the cause of even more policy issues. A policy between the U.S. and Mexico can affect, and hurt, many many more countries. After events like Parkland, the U.S. has began conversing about gun-violence. However, we often leave out the ways in which U.S. policies affect and perpetuate gun violence internationally.


Virginia Schilder ‘20 - The Washington, D.C. office of Congressman James Langevin (D-RI)


I conducted research in a variety of policy areas on existing legislation, funding levels for various federal programs, and how policies are being implemented or how appropriations are being used by executive agencies. I drafted speeches and remarks for the Congressman, as well as oversight letters for various executive agencies. I worked on a variety of research projects, including research on child welfare and relational permanence efforts, the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in FEMA disaster preparedness plans, and multiple environmental issues, such as living shorelines as a coastal management technique and the proposed ANWR drilling.

The most rewarding aspect of this internship was the freedom afforded to me by my office to attend multiple congressional briefings on policy issues that interested me. I was then able to follow up those briefings up with research on the legislative issue, and then compile my notes and research into memos that were submitted to Legislative Assistants in the office. I was able to dive into several policy areas that interest me, and I felt like the research I did was a meaningful contribution to the office's work in policy areas that I care about.

This internship allowed me to gain a robust, nuanced understanding of the legislative process. I was able to participate in and directly witness the conversations surrounding policy issues, how members of Congress are informed about issues, how legislation is created, and how relationships are critical to the policymaking process. The most valuable take-away from this internship was that I was able to understand the importance of collaborative partnerships between advocacy organizations, the private sector, legislative staff, and Congressional members in effective policymaking.


Sabrina Whitfill ‘19 - National Council of Asian Pacific Americans

My main project was working on a social media toolkit showcasing AAPI support for affirmative action.

I think the most important aspect of this internship was the opportunity to meet so many amazing activists and leaders working to promote the interests of AAPI communities across the country. I had the chance to sit in on meetings where we would discuss courses of action as events were happening. Instead of just reading the news, it almost felt like we were living it. We were out on the steps of the Supreme Court when the news about the Muslim Ban broke and in Lafayette Park for the Families Belong Together Rally. I think that being at NCAPA really highlighted for me that the work doesn’t end just because you’ve clocked out for the day. Advocacy is a constant necessity, and the work that the coalition members do is really changing the world for our communities and the ones we stand in solidarity with.

This summer made me even more invested in working in Asian American political spaces.  Seeing everyone coming together for such a wide array of issues was really inspiring for me. I finally saw myself represented in positions of power whether that was among the executive directors of these advocacy organizations or in actual Congressional seats. This summer truly helped to bridge the academic world at Brown to the real world discussions and changes happening today. I think I will always be figuring out what it is exactly that I want to do, but after this summer I know a little more about myself and how I can work to make the world a better place.