My last day interning at the Center for American Progress was Friday, Aug. 1. Now back at home for the first time in 10 weeks, I feel nothing but thankful for what has been a great summer.
Brown bags — when staff members speak to interns during lunch hours — stand as a highlight of CAP’s internship program. Throughout this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from CAP President Neera Tanden, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, CAP Executive Vice President for Policy Carmel Martin and Duke graduate Raj Goyle, a Senior Fellow at CAP, among others. I heard about accomplished policymakers’ life stories and asked several questions to them. I heard Carmel Martin talk about everything from her decision to live on the U.S./Mexico border after graduating from college to her views on Michelle Rhee’s stint as Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools.
This last month of my internship also featured MakeProgress, a large event Generation Progress — a national organization based at CAP that focuses on Millennial issues — hosted. MakeProgress invited hundreds of young people to Washington, D.C. to hear people like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Additionally, MakeProgress included breakout sessions on various issue areas. Although I had to start working at 6:30 a.m. that day, it was a great event that featured compelling speeches and informative sessions.
But I guess what I was most thankful for weren’t the two trips to the White House or MakeProgress. It was the fact that CAP brought together a diverse set of intelligent, passionate college students to learn from and work with each other. When a brown bag wasn’t scheduled, the interns on my floor — representing departments like immigration, health, race policy and faith — went out to eat lunch.
We spoke about the complex issues that the MakeProgress breakout sessions focused on. One session I attended there was titled, “More Than Marriage,” and it centered about LGBTQ issues beyond marriage equality. On my row at CAP, we spoke about those issues frequently. We talked about how although the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black should be commended for including diversity — in terms of racial and sexual identities and body types — in its show, it wouldn’t exist if it didn’t have a white, young female as its protagonist. All the interns I had the chance to speak with were friendly. They challenged me and they each made a mark on me. For that, I’ll be forever thankful.