Works and Days

Summer Internship Award: Clinton Foundation

Former POTUS, Bill Clinton, and Gabriel Richardson '18

For the length of three months this summer, I was given the incredible opportunity to work at the Clinton Foundation. At the active nonprofit, I had the occasion to work with a set of diverse and motivated individuals impassioned in serving their international community with innovative solutions. My intern colleagues came from a range of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico and Canada. Many had different academic backgrounds with degrees relating to Law, Political Science, Public Policy, Social Work, and Government, which added value in developing creative solutions to any issue.  At the Foundation, I worked through the Scheduling Office alongside many other distinct teams spread throughout three main offices in Little Rock, Arkansas; Midtown, Manhattan; and Harlem, New York. I mainly worked in President Clinton’s personal office located in Harlem and occasionally worked at the Foundation’s headquarters in Midtown.

Having the chance to become part of a pioneering community that focuses on sustainable charitable solutions was an essential reason for which I applied to the organization. The Foundation has pursued its mission of empowering the underserved through partnerships with governments, the private sector, other foundations, and philanthropists, creating networks of cooperation that are focused on results. The goal of the organization is to offer expertise and resources to self-empower individuals across the globe. An example I observed of a sustainable program at the Foundation was the continued development of CHAI (Clinton Health Access Initiative). In this initiative, individuals< with medical and government backgrounds worked together to organize and train thousands of healthcare workers as part of an effort to address critical shortages in poor countries and help others build strong, self-sufficient health systems, and expand access to high-quality, low-cost treatment and diagnostics for many other diseases and conditions. Through such proactive methodology, the Foundation’s efforts have improved millions of lives around the world and has tackled problems relating to AIDS/ HIV, accessible healthcare, sustainable investment, climate change, and small business development.

Although the Scheduling Office does not directly involve program design and groundwork, the duty of the Office is essential to the daily functioning of the organization. As former White House Scheduling Director and the current Executive Director of the Clinton Presidential Library at the Foundation, Stephanie Streett, likes to mention, “it is really where the rubber hits the road.” Schedulers are in charge of placing ideas, communication, and resources into action within any organization. Within the Foundation, without the knowledge of the initiatives, people, and programs involved, one could not carry out an effective job. Prior understanding of the challenges faced and those who are able to confront these obstacles is necessary in a position of making successful connections and effective organization.

As a Scheduling Intern, I personally ensured all incoming invitations and scheduling events for President Clinton were databased and responded to, under the supervision of the Scheduling Correspondence Assistant. I also had the opportunity to assist in the compilation of data and information, and assist in the maintenance of various databases; ongoing lists for Foundation senior staff; scheduling archives; and file systems. Throughout the internship term, I met with Foundation officials to receive career advice and exchanged conversations relating to political work, legal services, and government management with several other team-workers. The internship organizers met with individual students to develop career skills and encourage full involvement as essential staff within the Foundation.

After the term, I observed that my writing and communication skills were better developed and that my attention to detail greatly improved due to the particularities of my position. Speaking with professionals gave me insight on my possible future career paths after Reed. My supervisors encouraged me to research fellowship opportunities and consider graduate studies relating to international and human rights law. Dr. Donna Shalala, the Foundation’s current President, encouraged interns to consider service driven opportunities such as the Peace Corps; she taught in Pre- Revolutionary Iran under this government organization. Many perspectives were instilled on the interns and I came out of the experience with a better global understanding and skill-set for any future endeavors.

This extraordinary opportunity would not have been possible without the generous award received by the Center for Life Beyond Reed and all the assistance offered by the Center’s Staff. In addition, I would like to extend my gratitude for the support and recommendations received by Professor Darius Rejali, Professor Morgan Luker, Professor Diego Alonso, and Jolie Griffin, along with Political Science Department.

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