Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009
Most students were interested in last year's historic Presidential election, but Alex Cody '10 made the extra effort to learn more about the election process by landing an internship at a non-profit organization MASS Vote, which turned out to be the experience of her lifetime. She is a public policy and Spanish major focusing on foreign policy.
MASS Vote is a non-profit organization that focuses on civic engagement and voting rights, and primarily on anti-racism, in order to prevent partiality in elections.
"I wanted to know how policymakers worked; I wanted to get a feel for the field that I might pursue my career in," says Cody.
She was persistent in her goals, as she took part in numerous projects and worked with her boss in lobbying at the state house for voting rights legislation. "I worked on legislation regarding pre-registrations that allowed 16 and 17 year-old kids to pre-vote so when they turn 18 they can automatically vote."
Cody also took it upon herself to expand the summer internship experience by volunteering in other branches within the organization, and became interested in another issue on which MASS Vote focused, Election Day Registration (EDR). EDR advocates legislation for bilingual ballets and pre-registrations. "Every week we met with different senators and representatives about the different legislation. We advocated the bilingual ballets, EDR and pre-registrations." Not only was she part of this task, but there were times where Cody was the organization's sole representative in meetings, including those with powerful political figures.
She also helped promote MASS Vote events. "The organization held forums at many city councils at-large. Due to the upcoming elections, we held multiple forums," explains Cody. Her job was to prepare questionnaires for the candidates that participated in the forums; one of her questionnaires was published in the local paper.
While it would seem that the internship was enough to keep her busy, Cody also engaged in community outreach. She worked with the youth from the inner city Young Civic Leaders (YCL).
"Overall it was a great summer experience. I had lots of responsibility, but it helped me get a real life experience in the major I am passionate about," says Cody. "And my affiliation with Hispanic studies helped me understand and help the bilingual youth from inner cities." Cody remains on the hiring committee for YCL and plans to continue to work with Mass Vote. In the future, she is looking forward to working in the non-profit sector.