Fighting for a Cause and Following Dreams up Capitol Hill

Jeffrey Peterson
November 06, 2017

By Jeffrey Peterson, PCM '20


I have always been someone who enjoys giving back, contributing to causes that are greater than myself. My summer at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) gave me the opportunity to practice social media, event planning and government affairs, all things I wish to do in the future, for a cause I identify with.

As a government relations and advocacy intern, my day-to-day varied quite a bit, but the work served as a natural extension of my values, aspirations and goals. 

JDRF interns

At the center of my internship was JDRF Children’s Congress, a biennial D.C. event to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and advocate research to find a cure. It was a transformative experience meeting kids from around the world and learning about their experiences with Type 1.

The three-day advocacy event was the highlight of my internship. I helped out with everything from staffing check-in to working as a video production assistant for the company hired to film the event. My video production courses really paid off.

Another part of my job was to follow the twisting road that is health care reform, and analyze how policies would affect those with pre-existing conditions such as Type 1 diabetes. Going to healthcare briefings and hearings on the Hill was my first introduction to the inner workings of Congress and led me to pursue my current internship at the Senate.

JDRF interns

I was terrified on the first day of my summer internship. I had just finished my sophomore year and all of my new college friends had left for home.

Staying in D.C. was intimidating, but I made some amazing friends. Spending a summer in D.C. is a rite of passage that I would definitely encourage others to try.

I gained a valuable skill set that makes me more marketable to employers and the rigor of SMPA courses ensured I was prepared to indulge and successfully approach any type of job at JDRF and beyond.