Recent Tufts graduate Simone shared the following about being a Federal Policy Intern with Consumer Reports …
What did you do as an intern at this organization?
As a policy intern, I conducted research for staff attorneys and lobbyists to aid their work on federal legislation. This included background research on product and food safety (i.e. recalls) and financial services (fraudulent banking and student loans). I also attended meetings and hearings on the Hill, either with the lobbyists to see the process in action or by myself to take notes and report back to the staff.
How did you find this internship?
I interned at a different office within the same organization during high school. I enjoyed the experience and wanted to live in Washington for a summer, so I decided to apply to the organization’s capital office.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
As a political junkie, I really enjoyed going to the Hill to meet with Legislative Directors and other staffers. It was fun to hear the inside scoop about acts currently in the review process. I learned a lot about products that are unsafe for consumers and how best to educate consumers about what they buy. Furthermore, learned a ton about the regulatory process in general (i.e., how to pass regulations), which is extremely complicated.
What did you find challenging?
In DC, everyone used what we called “alphabet soup” language. Each sentence contained an acronym or two, minimum. If you have never worked on the Hill (which I hadn’t), it’s difficult at first to keep track of the subcommittees, nonprofits, and agencies to which everyone is constantly referring. Working for three weeks made me more fluent in alphabet soup , but it was still difficult to follow staffers’ instructions and stories from time to time.
What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
If it seems like you don’t have much work to do, always ask a staffer (even the ones you don’t know well) to see if they need a hand with something. More often than not, they’re too busy to even remember that they could be delegating some of their work to interns. They always appreciate it when interns are proactive and not sitting around wasting time.
About the Organization
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit member organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. Consumer Reports was founded in 1936 at a time when consumers had very few options to gauge the value, quality, or authenticity of goods and services. It was an era of unfettered advertising claims, rapid technological progress, and patchwork regulations—so CR was created to equip people with the credible, trustworthy information they needed to make informed choices. Over time, CR’s findings shaped purchasing decisions, and regulators and manufacturers began to heed our voice and the needs and interests of consumers. CR remains a trusted source because our rigorous, independent testing and research still creates a marketplace built on credible information, greater transparency, and fairness. Our investigative journalism, advocacy, and digital testing empower consumers, inform people’s purchasing decisions, influence businesses to improve the products and services they deliver, and strengthen norms, laws, and regulations through science, evidence, and data.