When I first began my internship as the grassroots campaigns intern at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), I was not sure what to expect. Though I had researched ACS CAN and have grassroots organizing experience, it was difficult for me to imagine exactly what kind of work I would be doing. As with the beginning of all internships, I was concerned about securing substantive assignments and making a good impression. Spending the last semester interning in DC really emphasized to me the power of first impressions, so I wanted to make sure that mine was positive.
I came in to ACS CAN with an open mind and a willingness to try new things, and I have not been disappointed! When I imagined the work atmosphere of such a major organization, I did not expect the open and fun environment that I have experienced thus far. Though ACS CAN is doing important, high-stakes work, the employees do not allow that to stop them from enjoying themselves and getting to know one another. On my first day my entire department took me out to lunch so I could get acquainted, and ACS CAN hosts weekly lunches so the interns can learn more about the organization from department heads.
Additionally, I did not expect to interact with other divisions as much as I do. The grassroots team works with the policy, federal relations, and media teams, and I am taken to the majority of said meetings. I really appreciate the opportunity to get acquainted with other divisions, and I feel like I have learned so much already.
ACS CAN has also involved me on issues in which I am experienced. I have started doing work with the Cancer Votes initiative which strives to make cancer a voting issue in elections. Researching stances, recent congressional initiatives, and cancer-related issues for use in ACS CAN work is exactly what I hoped to do during my time with ACS CAN. Additionally, I am beginning work with the social media team and on Lights of Hope, an annual event hosted by ACS CAN.
I believe that my internship will only get better as time goes on and I prove my abilities, so I am very excited to see where this all goes!