George Washington University, Government Affairs Intern
I have previously spent time volunteering in a Head Start center in Oklahoma and ever since I have been interested in how things operated outside of the classroom. As a government affairs intern, I was given a diverse set of tasks this summer. I was able to research the new nutrition guidelines and prepare a brief. This was later used as a reference guide for the effective practice team and I was also able to use it when I attended an Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) meeting on early childhood nutrition. I also wrote a blog post, drafted tweets for NHSA's Twitter thread with MomsRising, helped collect and organize questions from the last virtual Town Hall meeting, and listened in on meetings with our external affairs team on the Hill. I have thoroughly loved working in an environment where everyone is passionate about NHSA's mission. My time here has reignited my passion for early childhood education and health and reconfirmed that I should continue in the fight for equitable solutions for low-income families.
Miami University, Effective Practice Intern
Interning at NHSA has been an amazing experience full of encouraging support from the whole staff. Everyone has been extremely organized and willing to share tasks that sparked my interest. In addition to general tasks, I was able to develop an independent project based on a main need within the Head Start community. This allowed me to expand my writing abilities and communication skills as I reached out to programs throughout the country. I have felt welcomed and creatively stimulated as I took part in meetings from other organizations, and departments within NHSA, giving me a larger sense of all that is going on and possibly include them into my own work. Collaboration, encouragement, and innovation are only some of the words I would use to describe the environment at NHSA. Thank you for a great summer!
University of North Carolina, Government Affairs Intern
Interning at NHSA has been an incredible, eye-opening opportunity. From the moment I began working at NHSA, it was abundantly clear that the people in this office are passionate, warm and devoted co-workers. As the Government Affairs intern, I have had many opportunities to learn about the integral role non-profit agencies have in ensuring critical programs like Head Start are funded and supported by our government. Throughout my internship I have been able to attend hearings on the Hill, to talk with our organization’s lobbyist, sit in on meetings where we strategize ways to engage with members of Congress, help launch the Families Unite advocacy campaign, and work on many other engaging projects. At NHSA each day brings a new experience and I am so appreciative to have been a part of a team that is so devoted to supporting our nation’s most at-risk children, families, and communities.
University of Pennsylvania, Data Intern
I first learned about Head Start three years ago when I was researching exemplary early childhood programs for vulnerable populations for a national think tank affiliated with the State Council of China. Life sometimes takes you to where you are supposed to be if you keep searching and be prepared. In graduate school, I took a course in education policy where students participated in congressional debates about Head Start policies, and my academic advisor happens to be a Head Start mentor who has researched Head Start for more than 40 years. The internship opportunity as a Data Intern at the National Head Start Association fit well into what I have always cared about as well as what my academic and professional experiences have enabled me to do.
My primary responsibility is to conduct comprehensive research on Head Start and Early Head Start’s impact and write synthesized, double-sided, one-pagers, including eight topics upon which the governmental affairs team and the data team agreed. The one-pagers mainly serve as dissemination resources for NHSA’s outreach effort to people on the hill as well as for local Head Start centers to collaborate with local service agencies. Being in the office day in and day out, I am deeply grateful to have experienced and witnessed what it takes to build, nurture, and care for a Head Start family – where each member is respected, valued, and expected. Carrying this experience forward, I hope I can stay awake, keep learning, think deeper, put words into action, and serve better.
University of California, Los Angeles, Advocacy Intern
NHSA was my first choice for an internship but when I met my classmates in my program here in Washington and we started sharing where our internships were, they all had internships on Capitol Hill. A few weeks in, while I was working on meaningful projects and being asked to contribute in significant ways (including interfacing with Congressional offices), my colleagues with their Hill internships were answering phone calls from angry constituents and logging the mail. My internship was nurturing and supportive and made full use of my skills. It’s a great place with awesome people. If you are thinking about interning with Head Start, DO IT.
New York University, Advocacy Intern
My summer 2015 internship provided me with valuable experience in government affairs and nonprofit administration. I was able to learn much more about public policy than I’ve been able to in a classroom setting because of the hands-on role that I was able to take on the External Affairs team. Outside of my interest in policy formation and implementation, I gained exposure to advocacy at a grassroots and national level, honed my research and writing skills, and had many networking opportunities to meet with individuals who are passionate about finding policy solutions for low-income families. Working at NHSA is a challenging and stimulating experience, but the organization is led by caring individuals who are happy to give you the necessary support to excel in a variety of areas. Some highlights of the internship included attending congressional briefings and visiting a Head Start center. NHSA is truly guided by the commitment to ensuring opportunities for our country’s most at-risk families, and being a part of that vision made each day at NHSA both humbling and exciting.
Amherst College, Policy and Research Intern
As the Policy and Research Intern at NHSA, I’ve learned a remarkable amount about analyzing data and applying it to the structuring of legislation. I got to learn how an advocate organization acts as a liaison between its members (in this case, Head Start programs) and the federal government. I came to understand that education is not merely K-12. A child’s education starts from birth and even in the womb. If we’re to combat the cycle of poverty, earlier interventions are necessary. The most important thing I’ve learned, however, is that the business of social justice is comprised of many intricate parts. In order for good to move forward, organizations need to work together and efficiently, like cogs in a machine. NHSA does an excellent job of this. The lessons I’ve learned and the people I met will remain with me long after this summer!
Amherst College, Advocacy Intern
My internship experience at NHSA in the summer of 2016 was a particularly formative experience. I worked alongside the Center on Advocacy, occasionally helping out other parts of the External Affairs team like Marketing & Comms and Government Affairs. My main duties consisted of strategizing how to grow the alumni network (from the grassroots up! The metaphor works!) and making the materials to actually do so – from videos, to invitations, to graphics, to social media posts, to field messages. The highlight of the internship was also my main responsibility - interviewing Head Start alumni and distilling their memorable stories into videos that would then be used for alumni network recruitment. I've learned exactly how much writing and visuals impact advocacy efforts and how important a concrete message is – it makes a far-off goal so much more attainable. Lastly, I’d always remember how all the work of the driven, capable, and caring individuals of the NHSA leads to education of nourishment of children and families that really need it. Being part of that -- its hmbling, to say the least.
Join the team!
To apply for an internship at the National Head Start Association, please review our open internships below and email a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.