Meet Our Interns
The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) seeks part-time and full-time interns for work at the National office in downtown Washington, DC!
NWPC has a relaxed but lively work environment. Our staff is small so we rely heavily on our interns for the day-to-day operations of our organization. Our interns are progressive thinkers who are passionate about women in politics. We welcome interns from schools all over the country who have varied interests and diverse backgrounds. The only unconditional requirement is an unwavering commitment to women’s rights!
Name: Jenna Presta
University: The George Washington University
Major: Political Communication with a Minor in Arabic Studies
Hometown and congressional district: Haymarket, VA. (VA-10)
Favorite political female role model: Hillary Clinton is an incredible woman and role model. She has been a political pioneer for decades, cracking the glass ceiling further and further until she shattered it at the DNC this year. Her tenacity and perseverance in the face of sexism and other adversity is absolutely inspiring. I truly believe that there has never been a person more qualified to be the President of the United States than Hillary Clinton. Her grace and dignity after her defeat only confirmed my beliefs. Hillary will continue to be a role model for me and hopefully for all other women and young girls.
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? I was drawn to NWPC because women’s equality and pro-choice activism are my passions. Too many people believe that women and men are equally valued in our society, though that is clearly not the case. The NWPC works to elect progressive, pro-choice women and I was drawn to that because I believe that nobody knows better what women need than other women. When Hillary Clinton entered the presidential race, something clicked for me and I realized that joining this movement was what I had to do.
Why are you pro-choice? I am pro-choice because a woman should be the only person making decisions about her body. Legislators’ attempts to strip these rights are absurd, especially because the majority are male. I am pro-choice because the freedom to choose is essential for the independence and equality of women in our society. Our society needs to learn to trust women, because we are intelligent, dynamic, thoughtful, independent human beings who know what is best for us. Being pro-choice is about improving access to healthcare and abortions for women of all geographic, racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. It is about advocating for reproductive rights, condemning abortion shaming, and demanding the right to our own bodies and independence.
What issues are you most passionate about? I am extremely passionate about reproductive rights and abortion access. I’m on the executive board for GW’s Voices for Choices, which is a great organization that promotes reproductive justice and awareness. Other than that, women’s education is an issue close to my heart. My education has given me such incredible opportunities and a wealth of knowledge, but it’s important to remember that not all women around the world have access to that. It’s not an issue as close to home as reproductive rights for many people in the United States, but it’s just as important.
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? In my mind, my internship experience has essentially been divided into two parts: pre-election and post-election. I would say my favorite part of the internship program pre-election was definitely researching other female politicians and learning about all the fantastic work being done to ensure equality and progress. The best part about working at NWPC post-election was having someplace to go and talk about the issues ahead with women who understand what we’re up against and are as invested as I am. Working at NWPC after Hillary lost was a blessing because it ensured that I kept working and kept fighting.
Do you have any past internship experiences? I participated in a brief Young Journalist Development Program with the Washington Post and also wrote for Haymarket Lifestyle magazine, however working with NWPC was my first long-term internship.
Do you ever plan on running for office? I personally don’t plan on running for office right now because I feel like my personality and strengths can make a bigger difference behind the scenes, but who knows what the future holds.
Name: Mukta Ghorpadey
University: The George Washington University
Major: International Affairs, Women’s Studies
Hometown and congressional district: Wellesley, MA (MA – 4)
Favorite political female role model: Shirley Chisholm
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? I was applying to internships in the months leading up to the 2016 elections. It was during those months that it had become apparent that Donald Trump would be the Republican Party’s candidate for president. I suddenly realized that I needed to be involved in an organization that placed women’s issues at the forefront of politics. I could foresee how damaging the rhetoric of the election would be for the dialogue surrounding women’s issues. NWPC represented an organization that would drive this conversation towards productive and concrete solutions through government to the many problems women face in this country – problems that are in danger of expanding in the coming months.
Why are you pro-choice? As a woman, the protection of my reproductive rights is necessary to fulfilling my ambitions. This includes my ability to make medical health decisions that affect my body and future. It is my constitutional right and nobody should be able to infringe on it – especially men in government that would not be physically impacted by the passage of restrictions. With that said, family planning does affect everybody and is a huge benefit to society. I will always be pro-choice and I will definitely fight to protect women’s reproductive rights.
What issues are you most passionate about? I am particularly passionate about issues of reproductive rights, sexual and domestic violence, and education. Specifically, I am interested in how they affect women of color in America.
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? This has been the first internship I’ve had in which I have been able to engage directly in American politics. I have gotten to know the platforms and personas of the many women hoping to make a difference through the American government. I feel so much more engaged in politics at non-national levels than I have ever before been!
Do you have any past internship experiences? I have worked at a number of non-profits over the course of the past three years. Each has had a unique mission goal but my work with them always had a common thread: I focused on how women were being uniquely affected. I worked with organizations that address the Syrian Crisis, trauma in immigrant communities, sexual assault rehabilitation, and global education for all.
Do you ever plan on running for office? Yes!
Name: Marie Wilken
University: Smith College
Major: Government and English Language & Literature
Hometown and congressional district: Salida, Colorado. Colorado’s 5th.
Favorite political female role model: Eleanor Roosevelt was an incredible advocate for so many disadvantaged groups, including women. I think she’s an example of the leaders the country failed to take advantage of by excluding women from elected office. She was raised to believe women did not belong in politics and essentially gained access to the political sphere through marriage, but once she was involved, she became a skilled champion of women’s, workers’, and human rights.
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? I believe that the best way to achieve equality in the country is by fighting for equality in our government representatives, and the NWPC plays an important role in this. Focusing on pro-choice candidates ensures that we’re working with women who help want to help women. When I read about their history that started with women like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan and has continued to fight for strong women, I wanted to be a small part of it.
Why are you pro-choice? Laws limiting access to abortion limit women’s safety and autonomy. Regardless of politicians’ personal views on abortion, they need to recognize that women deserve the right to decide what happens to their own bodies—a decision that affects not only their personal lives, but also their financial and professional lives.
What issues are you most passionate about? In addition to women’s rights and representation, I’m passionate about improving access to family leave and childcare because they have such significant effects on women’s careers, parents, and children. I’m also passionate about education reform.
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? I only recently started, but I love that through researching candidates, I get to learn about women politicians all over the country, which is inspiring.
Do you have any past internship experiences? I decided I wanted to pursue a career in politics when I worked as a Summer Organizer for President Obama’s re-election campaign. I’ve also interned for a newspaper and an attorney, and I’ll be interning for a senator while at the NWPC.
Do you ever plan on running for office? Maybe! I’ve always imagined myself working behind the scenes, but I think that women too often shrink from the spotlight—so I recognize that my outlook is part of the problem and am trying to change that.
Name: Martha Strautman
University: Georgetown University
Major: American Studies
Minor: Women’s and Gender Studies
Hometown and congressional district: New York City, District 12
Favorite political female role model: Nita Lowey, the Congresswoman for New York’s 17th district, who I interned for this past spring. I was inspired by her dedication to both national and local issues, and commitment to helping both her constituents and larger government interest groups. As the ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations, I also admired her ability to negotiate with others while also holding them appropriately accountable for their decisions. She was always well-informed and firm during the committee hearings that I attended, which was an effective means of accomplishing committee business while still ensuring that fair decisions were made.
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? I believe that in order to create a society in which women and men are truly equal, there must be equal representation in the political institutions that govern that society. Although there has been much progress made with respect to gender equality in recent years, gender bias is still pervasive. The elimination of this discrimination goes hand in hand with more equal political representation; I think that forward progress of each will help the other.
Why are you pro-choice? I believe that the right to make reproductive decisions is a fundamental right. Women should be able to decide for themselves when to get pregnant, carry a pregnancy to term, and terminate a pregnancy. Reproductive decisions are extremely personal and drastically impact the life of the individual making them; these decisions should therefore not be made by anyone else except for that person. Legislation restricting abortions also disproportionately affects poor women and girls. Abortions will continue to happen regardless of legal restrictions—it will just make them more difficult and dangerous for women, especially those with limited means.
What issues are you most passionate about? In addition to eliminating gender discrimination within U.S. culture and society, I am also passionate about international women’s rights. The human rights abuses targeted specifically at women and girls in other countries are horrifying and unacceptable. Female genital cutting, for example, continues to be inflicted upon millions of young girls, despite the fact that there are absolutely no health benefits, only harms. There are 125 million girls and women alive today who have been cut, many of whom have also faced the painful health repercussions caused by the procedure. I believe that through education and activism, women’s rights abuses—such as FGC—can be lessened, and ultimately eliminated.
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? I have really enjoyed researching women political candidates from across the country. Some of the information I have found has surprised me, some has impressed me, and some has disappointed me. I wish that there were more women running for public offices in the U.S., because the gender ratio is still uneven, but researching the women candidates that are running gives me hope for our future.
Do you ever plan on running for office? I used to think that I would not, mostly because I did not see myself as a career politician. After coming to a greater understanding of both the importance of equal representation, and seeing the positive impact that effective and competent leaders can have in our government, I would probably consider running for office sometime in the future.
Name: Madeline Black
University: American University
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies (CLEG: Communications, Law, Economics, and Government)
Hometown and congressional district: Montclair, New Jersey (NJ’s 10th District)
Favorite political female role model: Gloria Steinem is actually one of my personal heroes. When I was in high school, I had a class project where I had to essentially take on the persona of a social reformer and learn everything about them. I was assigned Gloria Steinem, and I spent the better part of a month learning everything I could about her life. I was inspired by her unwavering dedication to women’s rights, and she made me realize that I was actually a feminist.
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? I’ve always been interested in women’s policy issues, but never really had the opportunity to work to further them. I’d learned about the underrepresentation of women in Congress in a variety of college courses but didn’t have anything concrete I could do to fix the problem. I found out about NWPC through American University’s job website and was incredibly excited for the opportunity to join the team.
Why are you pro-choice? I’m pro-choice because a woman shouldn’t have to provide an explanation for getting an abortion. I’m pro-choice because life is unpredictable and sometimes messy. I’m pro-choice because at the end of the day, women have always gotten abortions and will always get abortions, and are entitled to the right to a safe medical procedure without shame or stigma.
What issues are you most passionate about? Along with issues surrounding women and reproductive rights, I am passionate about global climate change and environmental issues. The fact that so little has been done to prevent the ever-present threat of global warming is absolutely baffling to me. It’s clichéd to say, but we only have one planet: we need to protect it before it’s too late.
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? I’ve really enjoyed researching female candidates and finding out more about the women who serve in Congress. Its easy to get stuck inside one’s own personal bubble and only know what goes on with their own representative, but when you look at the larger picture and see all of the work that women are doing across the country, it’s actually quite inspiring.
Do you have any past internship experiences? I interned with Public Citizen’s communications team this past fall. I also worked on the election campaign of Simon Hughes, a Member of Parliament in London in the spring of 2015. I also work at Georgetown Cupcake!
Do you ever plan on running for office? I haven’t ever really felt the pull towards running for office, but I won’t say that I never will- you never know what the future will bring.
Name: Rijaab Mansoor
University: University of Florida
Major: Political Science (Minors in European Union Studies and French)
Hometown and congressional district: Gainesville, FL (FL-03)
Favorite political female role model: Hillary Clinton
How did you find out about your NWPC internship? I found out about the NWPC internship on an internet database of organizations with openings for interns.
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? Although I had not previously heard of NWPC, I decided to look into it as a possible opportunity. When I started learning about the history and impact that NWPC has had for women in politics, I was instantly drawn. NWPC fights for the values that I hold very close, such as political parity for women, and electing pro-choice women into public office.
What issues are you most passionate about? Along with feminism and reproductive rights, I am passionate about fighting the rampant bigotry in our society, especially towards Muslims. As an American-Muslim growing up in a post-9/11 American, I have experienced hate and prejudice, both towards me individually and towards my community as a whole. America has always been seen as a “melting pot” of cultures and people, and I want to keep it that way, by increasing tolerance for groups that some may (wrongfully) see as “backwards” and “dangerous.”
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? My favorite part of my internship has been learning about the issues that women face on a daily basis. Although I was a feminist prior to starting this internship, I didn’t understand the breadth or depth at which sexism and misogyny are imbedded within our culture. I learn more and more every day, which further convinces me that women need to be more politically involved, and soon!
Do you ever plan on running for office? Absolutely! As a woman of color who represents several different minorities, I would love to be a voice for a community that is not currently represented. I believe that the only way to impact true change is to get involved in the process and system.
Name: Shannon MacLeod
University: The George Washington University
Major: Political Science and History
Hometown and congressional district: Merrimac, Massachusetts (MA-6)
Favorite political female role model: Elizabeth Warren
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? I am incredibly drawn to the work that the National Women’s Political Caucus does. I think that the lack proportional female representation in Congress is at the root of most of the problems facing modern women, including reproductive rights and equal pay. The more women we have involved in the conversation, the louder our voice will be.
Why are you pro-choice? I honestly think that it is an equality issue at heart. If a woman is forced to have a child that she is not ready for and doesn’t want, she is being limited in her ability to more forward professionally and financially. If you limit access to abortion for America’s less fortunate, you are essentially trapping them in a lower socio-economic status, and this is a trap that men simply cannot fall into. I want men and women to have equal opportunity, but this won’t happen until all women have access to safe and affordable abortion.
What issues are you most passionate about? I am obviously very passionate about reproductive rights and equal representation, but I am also a huge proponent of education and prison reform and, universal healthcare. I think these are all issues that affect basic human rights and are largely ignored. Politics has been focusing on frivolous, party mudslinging, and we need to shift the discussion back to making America better for everyone
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? My favorite part of my internship so far was meeting with female leaders from Afghanistan to discuss the state of women in politics in the US. It was incredibly inspiring to speak with women who have overcome so much in order to gain representation. In only 13 years, their government has gone from 0% women to 22%. This statistic rivals the United States, and it was largely due to the efforts of the women that I was lucky enough to meet. They were all kind, excited, and ready to ask and answer questions. It is easy to be so focused on gaining rights for American women that you forget that there are women all over the world who are standing alongside you, fighting the same exact fight.
Do you have any past internship experiences? I was an education and events intern with the American Independence Museum, an intern in the office of Congresswoman Carol-Shea Porter, and an intern with Running Start, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching young women the skills that they will need to run for office.
Do you ever plan on running for office? Absolutely. When I was young, I desperately wanted to be president. I drew pictures of what I wanted my campaign bus to look like, picked my Vice President, and would practice giving speeches to my stuffed animals. I see the political arena as the best way to make real and concrete change in the world, and I still have big dreams. I would love to someday represent my community in Washington.
Name: Alexis McCruter
University: Clark Atlanta University
Major: Political Science and History
Hometown and congressional district: Atlanta, Georgia (GA-13)
Favorite political female role model: My favorite female political role model would have to be Shirley Chisholm. She was a pioneer and the first of her kind to sit at the table of politics. Being an African-American woman, I look to greats such as her to use as a light to my path. I was always taught that you don’t have to necessarily reinvent the wheel, just make it a little better for the next person coming after you. She fearlessly demanded the respect of her peers by proving she was just as equipped if not better equipped. I am always on the search for opportunities that challenge me.
What drew you to apply to intern with NWPC? I am very well versed on the things Shirley Chisholm engulfed herself with. When I found out she had a hand in creating the NWPC, I knew I had to figure out if they had an available internship. Women in America have advanced in so many ways and so many more ways, haven’t. As a woman, anytime you get to create a shift or make a change in the structure of the placement for women in politics, you should. It still surprises me that even in 2014; we have so many rules and regulations that govern the physical body of a woman. Any organization working to put women in place to change that is one I thought I should be a part of.
Why are you pro-choice? I am pro-choice because a woman’s body is her temple and no one else’s. It is not to be used as a political pawn piece. It is not to be discussed as territory. Women do not need permission to control the happenings of their bodies. A woman’s choice should be between her and her care provider. There are circumstances that take place that lead women and couples to consider the option of abortion. I just don’t think it’s the place of the government officials to whether or not this can actually take place.
What issues are you most passionate about? I am most passionate about Education Reform. The School systems in my opinion, are failing our children on all facets. I have a problem that most Politian’s use “Education Reform” in their platforms while running to get the votes, but nothing changes in their districts or on the Hill for that matter. I believe strongly that all children deserve a quality education whether in public or private schools. I am interested in seeing more schools be held accountable for not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP.
What has been your favorite part of your internship experience with NWPC? My favorite part of my internship thus far has been the exposure. As an intern here, you are trusted as much as the staff. I’ve been given so many opportunities here to place myself in situations that have always rendered great results. I’ve gotten the contact of former Federal Prosecutors, PAC managers and a multitude of other contacts.
Do you have any past internship experiences? Yes. I’ve interned for Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur on Capitol Hill and Alisha Thomas Morgan in the Georgia House of Representatives. All of these experiences have helped me tremendously in the day to day task I’ve been faced with NWPC. Collectively, all of my internships have put me in a better position to encounter the workplace with a great deal confidence.
What have you learned most from your internship? I’ve learned that everything has a solution. When you work hard, you’re able to see the fruits of your labor and that’s always a really good feeling.