Last Friday concluded my final week as an intern with For Our Future Ohio, and this post will therefore be primarily concerned with evaluating and reflecting upon my experience, my professional development, and my future.
As I’ve stated previously, this internship has provided a breadth and depth of experience I hadn’t anticipated before I began. I worked to varying degrees with each of our organization’s departments: field, operations, training, and communications. My obligations included both office and field work. I became acquainted with prominent figures of communities across Ohio and gained critical insight into campaign strategy, data analysis, and the structure and operations of a political organization. I consider myself incredibly privileged to have learned and benefited from such an influential organization doing such meaningful, groundbreaking work in the realms of grassroots organizing and advocacy.
Among the most encouraging aspects of interning with For Our Future Ohio was witnessing their sincere commitment to progressive values. It’s well-understood that politics within both parties have historically been dominated by white, male, cisgender, heterosexual men. Within the Democratic politics, however, this is beginning to change, and nowhere is this change more visible than within For Our Future. Indeed, our state’s chapter is headed by a woman, as are two of its four departments. The organization also strives to hire and empower people of color, and each of our organization’s regional field offices, as well as the HQ, were characterized by significant diversity in race, as well as religion and sexual orientation. This commitment tp progressive values extended far beyond hiring, however. Each hourly employee was paid $15/hour, and healthcare and family leave was afforded to each employee. And, whereas many political organizations tend to adopt a transient, transactional approach to organizing, For Our Future dedicated significant resources to assisting and empowering smaller community organizations, so that they may continue their work regardless of whether or not For Our Future exists in the future.
Both personally and professionally, I feel I’ve gained a great deal from this internship. Among the most rewarding and memorable experiences was working with the Nepalese immigrant community in Akron, helping them to understand their rights as U.S. citizens to vote and engage the political process. Working to elect Danny O’Connor in Ohio’s 12th congressional district – interacting with voters and learning about the district from statistical and historical perspectives – was also quite exhilarating. Moving forward, I will work to attain an internship in which I can explore my interests even further – particularly my interests in policy and political strategy. I will work to improve my proficiency in data analysis and its relevant coding languages.
For those University of Michigan students who may be looking to explore all facets of campaign politics – strategy, data, field, operations, and communications – I would highly recommend applying to intern or work for any of For Our Future’s state affiliates (Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, and Nevada). I’m thankful I did, and thankful to the LSA internship scholarship’s donors, who enabled me to do so.