I come to Washington D.C. from a small college in a very small state. Although, I have always known that my interests lay in the international spectrum, I have also always had a strong passion for student activism and community organizing. As I sat in my dorm room at Providence College last fall, I was running over all of the possible study abroad options in my mind, trying to think of which one would both benefit my education and expand upon my own personal interests. Ultimately, I chose the Washington Semester Program at American University, focusing on international law and organizations, so that I could learn more about the field of international organizations, as spend time at an internship with a nonprofit that would serve more of my passion for advocacy. I am also enjoying living in such an exciting city that has so much to offer student activists!
Introduction from the Spring ’11 Global Health Intern
I was initially drawn to AIDemocracy through their goals of education, cultivation, and mobilization. Through my studies of Public and Community Service Studies and experience with student organizing, I have come to strongly believe in the importance of education and reflection, which I find to be similar to the idea of cultivation, in the building of any strong movement. In order for mobilization to be truly successful, then, it is important that those organizing and collaborating for change have a strong, knowledgeable background in what they are advocating for. I am very excited to bring in some of my own personal experience in organizing, while also learning from the style of AIDemocracy and the students and staff members that I will be collaborating with. Coinciding with AIDemocracy’s call for “cultivation,” I think that it is important not only for students to become knowledgeable of the subject matter which they are interested in, but also to recognize the power they hold as an individual, or as a group of students, to work towards creating change.
Coming in as the Global Health intern at AIDemocracy, I realize that I have a lot to learn in the field! Although I have done a wide variety of campus organizing around global health issues such as HIV/AIDS, World Water Week, and various women’s health groups, I am looking forward to being able to become more knowledgeable in the fields of sex and justice, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. I initially became interested in global health through my work as a student organizer with TOMS shoes, where I learned about the diseases, infections, and deformities that result from inaccessibility to proper clothing such as a good pair of shoes. In particular, I look forward to doing research on family planning and its relationship to both domestic and foreign policy. The time has come for America to play a larger role in the arena of global health when it comes to foreign policy and aid, and I believe that students have the power to campaign for this to occur.
In collaboration with my time working with AIDemocracy, I will also be working on an independent research project through the Washington Semester Program focusing in on a specific global health area and I am considering focusing in on poverty in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of Malaria and how U.S. foreign policy can work to better the conditions. I feel that I will be exposed to some great sources of information through my internship, especially in the planning of World Malaria Day campaigns, as well as to be able to provide some new insight to the field of research. Combining my experience with research on public and foreign policy with my new direct involvement in the area of global health, I am very interested to see where this research project takes me!
Overall, I am extremely excited to get the opportunity to intern with AIDemocracy this semester and I can’t wait to get started with my position!!