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Internship field report, Jill Rosenfeld @ Violence Policy Center, Washington, D.C.

August 22, 2016

Jill Rosenfeld (BA '18), a University of Michigan sophomore who will join the Ford School as a bachelor's student this fall, is submitting this field report from her summer 2016 internship at the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

This summer I completed my first policy internship at the Violence Policy Center (VPC) in Washington, DC. I had a wonderful experience and I’m even more sure now that Ford is the right program for me! I also fell in love with DC and I can really see myself moving there after graduation.

The VPC is a gun violence prevention organization that conducts research on subjects such as how gun violence disproportionately affects minority groups, marketing trends and tactics of the firearms industry, and technical developments in gun manufacturing. The VPC’s work is important to the gun violence prevention movement because law currently prohibits federal organizations from researching gun violence.

The mass shooting in Orlando happened just after my first workweek, reigniting conversation about renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. I helped to process the many press requests from journalists seeking the VPC’s expertise on the subject. I also compiled almost forty editorials from newspapers across the country supporting an assault weapons ban, seeing a swell of public support for that position. I saw gun violence prevention organizations work together for their common goal and attended a coalition meeting with many members of the movement.

Summer 2016 was both an exciting and frustrating time to be a gun control advocate in DC. The Orlando massacre sparked unrest in both houses of Congress, including Senator Chris Murphy’s surprise filibuster in the Senate and an unprecedented sit-in in the House of Representatives. On June 22nd, I was sent on behalf of the VPC to a press conference held by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol as she announced the sit-in and its goals. Afterwards, I went up to the House gallery and saw it for myself. I was absolutely inspired to witness history and see how fired up all of the Representatives were. Although the results were not what I wanted to see, I was encouraged to see how passionate so many people are about this issue.

I was matched with the VPC through the Machon Kaplan summer internship program at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. I lived with the other participants in the GW dorms and we attended seminars and lectures at the RAC a few days a week. The program also set uP some incredible experiences for us, for example bowling in the White House! Also, we slept outside the Supreme Court and got to sit in the courtroom as the Justices read their opinions on the last day of the term. We weren’t allowed to audibly react, but the atmosphere in the room was incredible, especially when the Court struck down a restrictive Texas abortion bill as unconstitutional. Seeing the Supreme Court in action was a once in a lifetime experience I am so grateful for. In all, I had an amazing summer, both at the VPC and in DC in general. I developed my professional skills and had a great time doing it. Now, back to Ann Arbor!

Jill Rosenfeld (BA '18) is a University of Michigan sophomore who will join the Ford School as a bachelor's of public policy student this fall.