UCDC Alumni – Gilli Weinstein

People standing together

Internship: Hope Foundation Reentry Network and Office of Congressman Scott Peters

Term of Participation: Spring 2022

What was your role during the internship?

Hope Foundation– worked on a workbook to be distributed in jails/prisons and a presentation of the workbook, contributed to a twice weekly group discussion of resources for formerly incarcerated people– most rewarding was meeting the people we were providing these services to and hearing their stories and how the Hope Foundation has changed their lives

Office of Rep. Scott Peters– daily news clips, voting summaries, memos on policy issues, attend briefings and hearings, helped write a one-pager for a new bill to be introduced and working on the bill introduction/reaching out to possible co-sponsors, recommend cosponsoring certain bills after conducting bill research– most rewarding has been to learn about all these different issues in briefings and coming to debrief them with the staff so they can contribute to legislative solutions

How did your internship influence your career goals?

I now know I do not want to work in Congress haha, but I am grateful for the experience because it taught me a lot and allowed me to understand the true inter-workings of politics, which has now shifted my career goals towards more legal realms, or perhaps local politics, or just non-profit advocacy groups.  

What is an exciting memory from your time in D.C.?

One of the meetings for the Hope Foundation hosted Halim Flowers as a speaker. His story of being sentenced to life at the age of 16 in DC was told through the documentary “Thug Life in DC.” Hearing him share his story and how he took the initiative to change his life was very inspiring, and the comments the other formerly incarcerated participants made reflected how powerful his story is for people who were in his situation. 

Did your internship lead to any opportunities? 

I will be staying on remotely with the Hope Foundation during the summer.

Share a story about something special you did in Washington – an event you attended, a place you went, an exciting talk, etc.

I went to the 25th anniversary of the FDR memorial statue which clearly depicts his wheelchair, and former Senator Tom Harkin spoke about his connection to FDR, alongside disability rights organizations and it was a great experience. 

How has living in the nation’s capital for a quarter changed you?

This time in DC has allowed me to reflect on my goals in life and reconsider what I want to accomplish in life. I feel like I have gained a lot of independence from this experience as well, taking time to explore the city by myself.

What advice do you have for future students?

When you are looking for internships, you might be able to start out being selective but at a certain point you might just need to take what is offered. If this is the case, do not get discouraged because any internship you get will provide you with a learning experience– either an experience that teaches you what you don’t want to do in life or something that you might want to do. Also take advantage of your free time and do everything you can in the city, and if your friends have other plans that you don’t really want to do, you can always go do things by yourself! Make sure you have a list of things YOU want to do with your time and do them.

Last modified: Jun 14, 2024