Narrowing down your search for an internship can be difficult if you don’t know where you want to go. I, on the other hand, knew exactly where I wanted to be for my master of public health internship: Washington, D.C. After some internet digging and cold emailing, I came in contact with Jenn Folliard, USDA Director of Legislation and Policy at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Washington, D.C. office. We corresponded for some time and after a look over my resume and some phone conversations, I accepted an invitation to be the Academy’s policy and advocacy intern.
I was ready to dive into a sector of dietetics that I had not dabbled in, and I hit the ground running. The second day of my internship I took a solo work trip to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s fiscal year 2018 Budget Briefing at American Public Health Association. Right away I knew this was going to be an amazing experience and expose me to diverse opportunities within nutrition and public health.
As I write this, I am in week five of my eight-week rotation. With Jenn, I have attended meetings discussing national pieces of legislation and congressional hearings and briefings on various subjects including the opioid epidemic, Medicaid and Medicare and the importance of making evidence-based policy decisions, in nutrition and elsewhere. I’ve written numerous nutrition communication pieces that have been distributed to all Academy members and completed research for attorneys that are part of the Political Initiatives and Advocacy team. I’ve attended bipartisan panels, public health movie screenings and much more.
I have gained a tremendous amount of experience within the nutrition-policy sphere and had the pleasure of meeting prominent staff within the Academy. This unique experience would not have been possible without my mentors, Jenn Folliard and Stefanie Rinehart, who have taken me under their wings and allowed me to learn the vitality of nutrition communications, policy and advocacy and inspired a new career path for a future MPH, RD.