One On One: Questions and Answers with CWLA Staff

Rodolfo Gonzalez

CWLA intern fall 2010 and spring 2011

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Why did you apply for an internship at CWLA?

My reason for applying for an internship with CWLA's government affairs division was two-fold. The first reason was because my social policy professor, who I think very highly of, recommended a placement with CWLA. The second reason was my first-year internship supervisor did his MSW concentration year placement at CWLA and spoke very highly of the experience. It seemed like a no-brainer to me!

What was your favorite aspect of interning at CWLA?

Besides the great camaraderie amongst everyone that works there, the opportunity to engage in whatever I found interesting was the best part. My immediate supervisor, Suzanne Ayer, allowed me to explore any interests that I may have had in regards to child welfare. No topic was off-limits. My other supervisor, Tim Briceland-Betts, connected me with individuals who work in areas that I was interested in. Everything about my experience at CWLA was amazing!

How do you think this internship will help you later in your career?

I knew prior to accepting an internship with CWLA's government affairs division that what I wanted most was to work in the field of child welfare in a macro role. I wanted to actively participate in advocacy at the national level. The exposure I received went beyond all my expectations. I have no doubt that I can perform any task in a policy-oriented job; and if finding a job as a social worker is all about networking, then I feel confident in having had the opportunity to do just that while at CWLA.

Anne Lasinsky

CWLA intern summer 2011

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What is your background?

I arrived at an internship with government affairs in what might be considered a nontraditional way. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in rehabilitation science and from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a master's degree in physiology. I began a doctorate at UConn, focusing on program evaluation for school-based health programs targeting the physical activity and nutrition environment. My graduate studies and research were focused on the health landscape among children living in low-income, underserved urban places. In 2010 I stepped away from my doctoral studies to complete a second master's degree in social policy at the Univ-ersity of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, I began to explore children's health issues from the policy side--an opportunity to combat childhood illness from the front-end. My graduate research in social policy allowed me to explore legislative paths toward improving children's health, especially for those in our most vulnerable populations.

I hope to eventually be in a position to effect meaningful change for children and families. After I complete my internship with CWLA, I will be looking for job opportunities within the Department of Health and Human Services, where I can use my background in research and policy to have a positive influence.

Why did you apply for an internship with CWLA's government affairs division?

A professor recommended the internship to me. She assured me that I would be working with leaders in the field and get the opportunity to expand my knowledge of how policy shapes children's lives.

My professional interests have always been related to children in vulnerable populations, although I did not have experience with those in the child welfare system. A number of the children with whom I work will have some experience with out-of-home care, and I felt that it was my responsibility to understand that piece of childhood well-being.

What are you most looking forward to during your internship?

Working at CWLA means that each day I will be surrounded by some of the most well-respected and accomplished individuals in the field of child welfare. I am excited about learning as much as I can from those with whom I work.

I've already been given the chance to attend meetings on Capitol Hill and sit in on briefings with partners of the organization. Washington, DC, is an exciting place to be and CWLA is opening doors all around the district for me.

I am hopeful that interning with CWLA will be the beginning of a long career in policy directed toward achieving social justice. I hope to expand my network of contacts in the children's policy world and get the chance to meet influential individuals in person.

I also hope to refine my professional skill set while I'm here and develop an understanding of how to pursue positive change. The staff has made themselves available to me and the other interns to answer questions and provide guidance along the way.

To apply for an internship with CWLA's government affairs division, contact Suzanne Ayer at sayer@cwla.org. To learn about internship opportunities in other CWLA departments, visit www.cwla.org/whowhat/intern.htm.

To comment on this article, e-mail voice@cwla.org.

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