This summer, I spent two months in Washington, DC interning at the non-profit, Running Start. Running Start focuses on training high school and college-aged women to run for office. In addition to the internship, I conducted interviews for my Honors in the Major thesis. My summer in DC proved to be both challenging and rewarding; I will use skills learned in DC long after I graduate from Florida State.
Running Start’s major summer event is the Young Women’s Political Leadership program, where seventy high school girls form across the country are brought to DC for a week-long, leadership-intensive training. This week included speakers, a trip to Capitol Hill, and plenty of mentoring opportunities between the college interns and the participants. A major highlight for me – and many of the girls – was running into Representative John Lewis on the steps of the Capitol. Many of the girls had never been out of their hometowns. So, to come face-to-face with such an accomplished Congressman was an exciting way to introduce them to politics. In addition to the high school program, I helped conduct surveys of the 2,000+ women state legislators in the country in order to ascertain what commonalities the most successful women politicians had with each other. I also assisted Running Start in various administrative tasks, such as building a database of academic reports for their website and completing an audit of their financial records.
I spent my free time setting up interviews for my Honors in the Major thesis. My thesis focuses around women candidates in the 2018 Florida House midterm election. I hypothesize that more women will run for the Florida House as a reaction to the 2016 Presidential Election. I wanted to talk with women-candidate training organizations about their experiences post-2016, and what better place than the home for most national political organizations! I was able to conduct interviews with individuals from four groups – Running Start, She Should Run, emergeAmerica, and EMILY’s List – and tour the University of Virginia and Georgetown law schools.
My summer in DC allowed me to see the inner-workings of a women-focused non-profit while giving me the flexibility to work on my thesis. Currently, I am in the process of applying to various law schools. I am plan to earn my J.D. and work for the government in some capacity, either in Florida or in DC.
Kimberlee McMillin is pursuing degrees in political science and sociology with minors in English and statistics.
The featured image is from Running Start.