Throughout this summer, we will be spotlighting the summer experiences of our IOP students working in politics and public service through their internships across the country and globe.
The Director’s Internship program has been a signature of the Institute of Politics for nearly 25 years and each summer the IOP works with more than 150 government offices, non-profits, and news organizations to provide internships for students who are looking to pursue careers in politics and public service. The IOP also offers summer stipends for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors accepting non- or low-paying summer internships in local, state, or federal government, public interest groups, non-governmental organizations, political organizations, and political campaigns.
This summer, as in years past, many of those students will be spending their summer working in press & media - gaining experience in newsrooms and media organizations across the country.
Jerrica Li '21 is spending her summer interning with Crooked Media in Los Angeles, California.
What inspired you to choose this public service internship?
Before college, I used to be intimated by politics and never felt the need to get involved. I only recently started getting involved with politics - with the Women in Leadership Initiative at the IOP! Something sparked in me - I slowly started reading the news and becoming aware of political issues and politicians. And I did this all through Crooked Media! So in a way, I was the perfect Crooked Media consumer: a progressive, young Democrat who wants to understand the what’s happening in the world from people who are both insightful and unapologetically ready to fight for what’s right. I loved their political podcasts; I was subscribed to their daily newsletter; and I followed them on Instagram. I loved the firm values they stood for and how accessible they made politics.
What issues have you been focusing on in your internship?
I was their first political intern for the political activist branch of the company. We have a campaign called Vote Save America (PLEASE check it out! https://votesaveamerica.com/) that provides information of how and when to vote, highlights special elections, and directs voters to funding and volunteering efforts for the 2020 election. My capstone project I identified this summer was making recommendations for how VSA to better strategize it's reach, targeting demographics of voters with low turn-out rates in battleground states. We want to be smart with our influence and messaging and activate as many key voters as possible to vote and be educated!
What are you most excited about working in public service and government?
I am most excited by the engagement we have from our listeners. Crooked Media is such a young start-up that sometimes the company is still surprised by how much reach it has. Our fans are avid and they genuinely care about the topics we talk about and how we talk them. They love our content because it doesn't just report news, it gives them options for how to actually get involved. I saw how our company inspired its listeners just like it did for me. Crooked deals with heavy subjects with humor and levity so that we finish reading the news with a sense of hope, not despair.
What have you learned from/gotten out of your internship experience this summer?
As I said before, I was never really involved in politics, so I am really getting the hang of being on 24 hours to the news cycle. I thought by the end of the summer I would be fatigued and jaded by being so heavily in the political grind, but I am actually more excited than ever. It was exhilarating being in the "war room" with the political team for the first Democratic debates. I felt appalled and inspired being in the recording room, listening to Tommy Vietor talk to a lawyer about her visit to the detention center at the border. I helped write blurbs for the daily newsletter and was so proud when I saw something I wrote being published at the end of the day.
In the end, I presented my project to the whole company including its three founders and I have never felt more proud. I know I contributed to this amazing campaign that will educate and improve the lives of so many, hopefully for the better of this country.