At my internship, I work directly with our Grassroots staff. One of our main goals is to mobilize gun-friendly voters and encourage them to get involved. Some of the tasks I was responsible for included coordinating volunteer efforts for local gun shows and interacting with people at various political conferences, like CPAC and LibertyCon. Additionally, I was also responsible for conducting my own research and presenting to Grassroots Coordinators on many issues within the current gun control debate so I was properly familiarized with the subject when I did have the opportunity to interact with people outside the office.
My favorite part of my internship was attending CPAC with my colleagues. I am very interested in pursuing opportunities within either campaigning or grassroots efforts by a political organization, so it was a great opportunity to experience these interactions at a booth representing the NRA-ILA. When I wasn’t working, I had the opportunity to attend the various seminars and listen to different political speakers at the conference. I watched so many speakers live at the event, including President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA Spokeswoman Dana Loesch, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, TPUSA Founder Charlie Kirk, and many more. I also had the privilege to actually meet and take photos with TPUSA Communications Director Candace Owens, Sheriff David Clarke, and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire Ben Shapiro.
On Tuesdays, I had to take two courses at the Washington Internship Institute. In the morning, I had Internship Seminar, where I learned a lot of helpful professional skills such as interviewing and elevator pitches. I never thought the elevator pitch would actually be helpful, until I was in the elevator at my internship and literally ran into NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox. In the afternoon, I chose the elective Inside Washington: Policy and Politics, where I had the opportunity to read about a topic each week and then debate with my fellow classmates. The coolest part about this course was that every week, we would also go see a speaker on the topic that is an expert in that field. We heard from professionals at the National Right to Life Committee, The Heritage Foundation, and an attorney that actually has prosecuted in cases where the death penalty was on the table. I also had the distinct privilege to invite one of my own supervisors to speak on behalf of the NRA when we were discussing gun control.
In my free time, I would explore Washington, DC with my fellow classmates. I visited so many amazing places, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Capitol Building, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Overall, my favorite attraction had to be the Newseum, which focuses on reporters and how they exercised their First Amendment rights during hardships and tragedies around the world. I also am a huge sports fanatic, so I was sure to attend a Washington Capitals hockey game and a couple Washington Nationals baseball games.
All in all, I truly had the time of my life interning in the Washington, DC area, and I owe this to the Washington Internship Institute. This city has so much offer that cannot be rivaled anywhere else in the world. Not only will this experience be pivotal in my professional career, but I have also developed friendships that will last throughout the rest of my personal lifetime. The people both in my program and at my workplace were some of the kindest and most passionate people I have ever met and they made my transition to life in Washington so much easier for me. My biggest piece of advice to future interns is to step out of your comfort zone. I am typically very timid, but I really allowed myself to keep an open-mind and experience everything I possibly could, even if I was sometimes uncomfortable at first. I honestly made the absolute most of my time in this city, and I hope that you will fall just as much in love with it as I did.