This End is Just the Beginning

After 8 weeks, my internship at Running Start came to an end. I learned, I laughed, I was challenged, and I made life long friends and connections.

Staff Retreat

After the High School Program, the interns were invited to one night of the Running Start staff retreat. This was a way to wind down after the hectic, busy week that we had all had, and a way to get to know each other more personally. The retreat was held at the CEO’s river house in Virginia, and it was the most fun that I have had in so long. I got to know the staff and my fellow interns so well. We cooked together, swam together, and even endured a VERY buggy night to make some smores. Those two days made me appreciate even more the people that I was working with, and the fun that we could have together outside of the office.

 

 

 

 

 

Tasks After the HS Program

After the High School Program, the work at Running start slowed down a little bit, but we still had plenty to do. For a few weeks, we stayed in the office and tied up all of the loose ends from the program. I was in charge of combing through the thousands of photographs from the week and choosing the best ones for a Facebook album, thank you emails to sponsors and speakers, etc… However, in these last few weeks we also had some very big tasks to accomplish.

Intern Presentations

Each intern was responsible for a research project and presentation in the remaining weeks of our internships. There were two intern presentations a week. The project was to choose a topic that related to Running Start’s mission in some way, do research, and present their research to the staff and interns. For my project, I chose to research influential women politicians in the history of Connecticut’s legislature. I learned a lot about women politicians who I had not even heard of before, and I worked on my public speaking leading up to and during the presentation.

Furnishing the Fellows’ House

The last week of my internship was rather unconventional. Each Fall and Spring semester, Running Start hosts a fellowship program. The fellows are housed, provided with an internship with a woman congressperson or senator, and are given trainings by Running Start every Friday about how to run for office and be a legislator. Key word for us interns- housed. Monday-Thursday of my last week were spent at the future fellows’ house building Ikea furniture, taking measurements, cleaning, and bonding. Although it sounds like grunt work, this was one of the most rewarding weeks of my internship. Being able to spend those last days with the girls who I had become best friends with is something that I will never forget. They say to have a successful relationship, you need to be able to build Ikea furniture together, and my fellow interns and I can attest to that. By the end of the week, the house was painted, furnished, and almost ready for the fellows to move into!

 

 

 

 

 

Takeaways

The most important thing that I learned this summer is what a comfortable and successful work environment looks like. I could not have asked for a better office atmosphere, better coworkers, or better work that I got at Running Start.

I also learned about the importance of connections, especially in the world of politics. The more people you know, the more successful you’ll be. I now know 8 other young women who are interested in the same field as I am, 8 women who work in that field, and many other professionals who I can reach out to for advice, help, recommendations, or other information. This is priceless and so very useful.

One thing that I cannot mention enough: I love the girls that I got to work with this summer. We work well together professionally, and we had the best time outside of the office. I learned so many essential skills and so much important knowledge in the fields of nonprofit work and politics, but I also learned a lot about what true friends are and who I want to surround myself with in my life.

Thank you to Running Start, Dickinson, my parents, and everyone else who made this summer so wonderful.

I’ll be back soon DC!

High School Program Week!

The Reason I’m Here

In 2015, I was a participant in Running Start’s High School Program. It was the one of the best weeks of my 15 year year old life. I made incredible friends who were interested in the same goals as I was, met so many powerful women mentors, and heard speakers that still inspire me today.

This program was the reason that I wanted so badly to intern at Running Start. I got so much from the organization and I loved the idea of being able to give back to them and learn from them.

Being on the other end of this program was eye-opening, interesting, and so very fun!

Highlights

Meeting the Girls- 

I, along with all of the other interns were so excited to meet all of the girls. Each one applied to the program for their own reason, and they were so friendly, outgoing, and smart. Our icebreakers went well, and the girls immediately made friends, which I remember from when I was a participant. One of the participants attends Westover, my high school, and we bonded over spirit teams and service trips.

Capitol Hill 

Capitol Hill day was the most exhausting  and most exciting day. We started off with a congressional reception where we heard from a few members of congress, including Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s only representative in Congress. After that, each of the staff members and interns got a group of 3-4 groups and took them to the House buildings to meet with their reps. Some groups got to meet AOC (my group SPRINTED to her office only to find out we had just missed her), and my group got to meet all of their congressmen. During our free time, we stopped by other reps offices and explored all of the congressional buildings. Then, we stopped for a quick dinner and headed to the congressional softball game. We enjoyed the game, got free ice cream, and met the members of Congress on the team, plus Nancy Pelosi! I fell asleep as soon as I touched my bed that night, but every moment was worth it.

The Talent Show

During my year, the talent show was my favorite night. I cried, laughed, sang, and danced. This talent show lived up to that one just as I expected. Each of the girls who performed were incredible talented. There were singers, a violinist, poets, and the classic lip syncers. All of the interns started it off with a flash mob, and we had wayy too much fun with it. The most powerful part of the night was a girl who wrote and performed a spoken word poem about gun violence. I loved every second of it, just as I had the first time.

The Wing

On Friday night, I got to experience The Wing. The girls had a networking session and reception, and the staff and interns participates as well.  The Wing is the most amazing place I have EVER been. It is a community and working space for professional women and non-binary people in DC. The decoration and setup of The Wing is the most aesthetically pleasing, colorful, and comfortable space. It includes anything a young professional women could desire, and the women who work and are members there are the people version of the decor. Grateful for my new goal: become a member ASAP!

Goodbye Video 

Sadly, the week came to an end on Saturday. Each intern had a project for the week. Mine was the make a video that captured the energy and fun of the week. Throughout the program, I had staff take short clips of the different sessions and activities and send them to me. I compiled the videos,  put music to it (Run the World (Girls) -Beyonce of course). My proudest moment of the week was showing the video to the participants and their families before the graduation ceremony. Everyone loved it, and I had so much fun working on it.

 

Overall

I have a feeling this will be my favorite part of my internship. I became very close with my fellow interns, created great relationships with the participants and rest of the staff, and networked with great women professionals. Thanks to Running Start for everything, and thanks to Dickinson for giving me an internship grant to make this experience possible.

Weeks 1-2

Wow. What an eventful 2 weeks.

Some highlights not related to work: Fell down the escalator to the metro and broke my heel- will never walk to work in heels again. Got thrown up on by a coworker walking to a conference. Had a beautiful picnic on the mall underneath the Washington Monument. Cut open my finger but still made it to work. Discovered that my roommates love the same show as I do (New Girl marathons!)

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Work!!

My internship has been a dream so far. My hours are 10-4 with a lunch break, the office is modern and organized, and the staff and other interns are friendly, fun, and hardworking.

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The first day consisted of an orientation for the interns starting that day, and a list of tasks to complete to set ourselves up and get ready for working here at Running Start. Once we finished that list, we jumped right in.

Every day at Running Start is interesting because I understand how each task that I complete related to the mission of increasing representation in politics. I’ve done everything from picking up lunch for a board meeting, to corresponding directly with Congresswomen and men’s schedulers to set up Congressional meeting for our High School Program.

Highlights

Becoming colleagues and friend with other staff/interns that have opposing political opinions from me (perks of a nonpartisan org!). Having access to the High School Program email account and being trusted to email and call back and forth with staffers and schedulers from the House of Representatives. Helping with strategies and posts for the Running Start social media platforms (I created an interactive map of all of the High School program participants that the staff seemed to love).

So far, I love my internship and everything that comes with living and working in D.C. I hope that the rest of my times here continues to be as exciting and rewarding.

2 weeks down, 6 to go!

Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Sophie Ackert and this blog will serve to be an account of my summer internship for 2019. Along with being a requirement for my Internship Grant from Dickinson College, the blog is a way for me to keep track of and share my experience and hopefully my successes in my internship. I am interning at Running Start, a non-profit that helps to train young women on how to run for office.

Running Start

I began my journey at Running Start in 2015 when I participated in their High School Program, then called YWPL. This weeklong program took place at Georgetown University. YWPL completely changed my life for the better. It opened my eyes to career paths that I was actually interested in, and it gave me so many opportunities, skills, and knowledge about politics, specifically women in politics.

I am so grateful to be on the other end of the organization. I will get to learn how a non-profit runs, what working in D.C. is truly like, and most excitingly, I will get to help plan and facilitate the High School Program, giving back to 50 high school girls what I got from Running Start.

Here’s to an amazing summer in an incredible city. Send me luck (and maybe some snacks– groceries are expensive!)