Aliyah Conley interned at CDF-Texas in Spring 2018 and came away with some unexpected benefits.
I sought out the Health Policy Internship position with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Texas because I wanted to improve my understanding of the challenges that Texas children and families face when navigating health care systems. I am passionate about medicine and firmly believe that providers can play a unique role in policy by advocating for their patients and overhauling health systems.
With CDF, I had the opportunity to research the intersection of health policy, immigration, social work, and education. I contributed to projects related to everything from Medicaid in schools to preventing child fatalities and addressing parental substance abuse. I improved my ability to sift through, and thread together, seemingly disparate pieces of information.
Although CDF introduced me to invaluable policy experience, it was the relationships I developed in the office that made it difficult to leave. The CDF team and my fellow intern supported, empowered, and inspired me. Even now, a year later, I look to them as mentors and friends.
Policy is messy and visceral. Even so, my CDF family’s resilience and determination were contagious—they reminded me that I could improve my community through public service, meaningful relationships, and a whole lot of grit.
Spring 2018 Intern, CDF-Texas Austin office