This summer, I have the privilege of interning with Emerge MA, an organization dedicated to recruiting and training Democratic women to run for public office. Over the past couple of weeks, I have learned a great deal about sacrifice, dedication, and the realities of public service. Since its establishment in 2002, Emerge has trained over 4,000 women, and more than 700 of its alumni have been elected to public office – including 418 in 2018 alone. Emerge MA runs several intensive training programs targeting potential candidates and campaign managers. The signature program is a 70-hour training over six months that gives women critical knowledge of field operations, endorsements, fundraising, and communications. Through its programming, Emerge has created a network of successful and inspiring women, with which I have the pleasure of working.
My internship responsibilities include researching Emerge MA Alum, designing graphics, corresponding with Emerge MA members, engaging with the Emerge MA alum Facebook group, and drafting emails. One project I am working on right now is a graphic congratulating all of the Emerge MA alum who ran or are running for office in 2021. As I progress in the internship, I hope to gain more face time with some of the other women in Emerge MA’s network.
Though my internship is virtual, Emerge MA has ensured that I still feel part of the community. For instance, the Executive Director has set up a virtual office space over Zoom so she and I can work together. Though Zoom fatigue is real, I have immensely enjoyed having a space that fosters communication and collaboration. As the only summer intern, I have had the privilege of building a strong bond with the Executive Director, my direct supervisor. During our Zoom sessions, the Executive Director, an elected official herself, has given great insight into being both young and a woman in local politics.
I can tell that my summer internship at Emerge MA will be professionally and personally impactful. After reflecting on my past summer internships, I realized that I have only worked for male candidates. As a young woman passionate about civic engagement, I am desperate to see more women serving in elected office. As an Emerge MA intern, I feel like I am helping to create space for women to achieve in the realm of politics and government. Numerous studies have indicated that women are less likely to think they are qualified to hold political office, even if they are. I am thrilled to be part of an organization that empowers women to jump-start their campaigns by giving them the resources and training necessary.
My internship has also bolstered my own political ambitions. Since high school, I have toyed with running for office one day in order to create positive change in my community. However, serving in elected office can sometimes feel impossible – a coveted position reserved only for a select privileged few. Interning at Emerge MA has demystified elected office – showing me – through the success of its diverse alums – that anyone can run, including myself. I am excited for the rest of my summer and hope to continue to learn pertinent skills that will enhance my professional political career.