By Jiesi Zhao
What should someone do with a year off before law school? Traditionally, the answer would be to work at a law firm to gain experience and insight into the legal world, or to travel before law school takes over your life. Both of these options were certainly appealing, but I ultimately chose to do neither. I wanted to do something that I was genuinely passionate about in an area where I knew I could contribute my skills in a way that actually makes a difference (unlike filing papers at a law firm or travelling the world for my own personal benefit). And so, I decided to work for the Conservative Movement and took an internship with Young America’s Foundation.
In the past five months, I have accomplished a variety of tasks and have gotten to work with diverse people on several major projects. While some of the duties I have at the Foundation are routine as with any internship, I have also been provided the opportunity to take initiative and garner real responsibility around the office.
For one, you may have noticed that I have a weekly blog about the rampant liberal bias and the odd occurrences that frequently accompany this quality at our nation’s most elite institutions of higher education (special shout out to my “favorites” – Princeton and Stanford). I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting with and going to lunch with generous and appreciative Foundation supporters. And because of my interest in the law, I’ve also gotten to work on a variety of exciting legal projects (sorry – no details allowed).
Lastly, I play a role in the planning and programming of our campus lectures as well as our conferences and seminars – one of the most important tasks here at Young America’s Foundation, as we reach thousands of students each year and aid them in spreading the Conservative Movement on their campuses. I get to do so much more than just attend Foundation programs. Specifically, I’ve constructed materials on activism for students, introduced speakers like Ann Coulter (who personally approved of my decision to attend law school despite her general aversion to the idea) in front of hundreds, and represented YAF at the CPAC Student Activist Panel. I’ve also lead the pledge of allegiance at the Reagan 100 celebrations featuring Vice President Dick Cheney, met with Congressmen, and worked directly with students all across the country on speaker events and campus activism.
Working at the Foundation has opened up many doors for me, and although I consider the law to be my calling in life, working for the Conservative Movement is certainly one of my passions. I am grateful to Young America’s Foundation for providing me with the skills and opportunities to pursue my goals within the Movement.
Before I continue on with my intellectual pursuits at law school in the next several months, I’m excited for more blog posts, conferences, speaking gigs, and getting to work with the wonderful Foundation staff who I consider friends.
Former interns at Young America’s Foundation include Foundation Vice President Patrick Coyle, Program Officer Ana Lightle, Development Officer Meredith Ramsey, and NJC’s Program Officer for New Media Hannah Jackman. An internship with Young America’s Foundation can kick-start many possibilities and maybe even a career for you too. Applications for a summer internship at Young America’s Foundation are due on April 1st, and can be found here.
Jiesi Zhao is a Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar