On June 12th, I was at my sister’s wedding, giving out a speech as the maid of honor. The next day, I was on a plane ride to Washington, D.C. to start my fellowship in Public Interest Communications. Time flew by, but as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. 

To be completely fair, the trainings in Bethesda scared me for what was to come of my internship. Discussing how to create media lists or how to create graphics that were not only visually appealing but accessible intimidated me. But as I started my internship, I knew that those skills would help me not only for my time with Food Recovery Network (FRN) but also for my potential career in Public Interest Communications. Reaching out to heads of different organizations and creating visually satisfying graphics helped define my time at FRN.

As my time with Food Recovery Network neared an end, I realized how much I was able to discover about the world of communications. I was able to see (through all of the fellows’ Ask-Me-Anything’s with their host organizations) how each organization has its own strategy of communications, how its team dynamic works, and how they reach its target audience. Most importantly, I was able to see how I grew in the process.

Creating graphics, helping edit emails for FRN’s partner agencies, helping host a White House Listening Session, and going to the Capitol to advocate for the passing of the Food Donation Improvement Act pushed my creative side and pushed my boundaries. If you had asked me at the beginning of this Fellowship if I thought I would be talking to congressional staffers to help pass a bill this summer, I would’ve said no. But my time at FRN took me to new places and gave me opportunities that I never thought in a million years I would get. I was able to advocate for myself and what I believed in (at the Capitol and with my work at FRN) to help me gain new skills and help me grow in a professional and personal sense. 

The eight weeks in Washington, D.C. helped me with my interpersonal skills not only with my coworkers but with the other Fellows as well. Being able to make dinner with the fellows helped create a closer bond between all of us. Exploring the (free) events D.C. helped us make many fun and lasting memories. 

I’m very glad I took a chance on this Fellowship because not only was I able to explore a new city, but I also made lots of great memories and gained new skills in communications work that will help me personally and in my career. I hope this Fellowship has inspired and continues to inspire more people to take risks, because who knows what it can lead them to? I know that I took this opportunity not knowing where it could lead me, but I’m here now – a First-Generation college student who might want to pursue a career in Public Interest Communications.