Regarding an article listing “the worst internships in D.C.” (“The Seventh Circle of Hell,” 6/20): Number three on that list was the National Organization for Women (NOW). I think that is grossly inaccurate and unfair. I came to D.C. in the spring semester of 1997 with a group of 250 students. We were placed all over D.C.: nonprofits, the Hill, White House, etc. While I was envied and thought to have the best internship, my friends worked on the Hill or in the White House, basically glorified clerical work.
All the interns at NOW are assigned a supervisor based on mutual interest. My projects were at the core of field organizing, which made me feel like I was really helping the movement. I was always included in team, staff, and special project meetings (Patricia Ireland, NOW’s president, would ask for my input at these meetings). I was part of the field organizing team and I learned a great deal.
NOW’s internship program is also set up to continue some sort of academic experience. Once a week we attended workshops/discussion groups on issues that affected the movement: lesbian rights, race relations, ERA, PAC issues, safer sex, etc. These were led by staff members and all the four officers gave one. I always looked forward to them and learned a great deal (and met more staff on a more intimate level).
I can honestly say NOW interns did not sit around all day and make long distance calls; we were too busy! NOW offered me a chance to figure out my future and give me real experience to take into the work force. There was nothing I didn’t like about NOW, and I am angry others will get such a poor impression from your article.
Hanover Park, Ill.