Hear from Previous Interns


Evan Avila, undergraduate studying Economics and Political Science at the University of Maryland-Baltimore

Placement: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)

Program: Merton C. Bernstein Internship on Social Insurance

 “The chance to work on Capitol Hill is a dream itself, but to work on such a wonderful team for a great Senator and an amazing boss made for a truly one-of-a kind experience. Doing [this Senate internship as part of] the Academy program allowed me to connect what goes on in my workplace to real policy issues in social insurance…I’ve also learned that the least understood and most valuable characteristic of a good public servant is bravery.” (Dani) Benedict, graduate student in Social Work at the University of Washington

Placement: ADvancing States (formerly the National Association of States United for Aging and Disability)

Program: Eileen Sweeney Graduate Internship in Disability Policy

 “This experience was nothing short of remarkable. Coming from Seattle, the opportunity to both live and work in the policy spheres in Washington, D.C. has been a dream I never knew I had until this summer. I had often said that a few years ago I never saw myself doing policy work, yet after this internship experience, I cannot see myself working in any other atmosphere…I look forward to using this experience to further promote the rights of people with disabilities in public policy in Washington state.”

Mayana Bonapart, graduate student in Social Work at Columbia University
Placement: Social Security Advisory Board

Program: Somers Aging & Long-Term Care Research Internship

 “The experience of working at a bipartisan federal agency has taught me about the pervasive and nuanced nature of the political process, particularly in how it influences decision making... I am grateful to the Academy for exposing me to a breadth of social insurance related information throughout the summer… I have also been honored and humbled to be offered to stay on with SSAB through the rest of the year as a policy analyst.” Clancy, graduate student in Public Health at the University of Minnesota
Placements: AcademyHealth and National Academy of Social Insurance

Program: Merton C. Bernstein Social Insurance Internship

 “I can safely say that, before this summer, my knowledge of social insurance could be summed up in one sentence: It exists (for now)…I am ending this internship with a nuanced understanding of and profound respect for this nation’s social insurance programs…Twelve weeks is such a short time, but I have developed amazing relationships, discovered an amazing city, and have learned an incredible amount over the course of my summer.”

Claire Erickson, completing a master’s program in Public Affairs and a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Placement: Long Term Quality Alliance (LTQA)

Program: Somers Research Internship on Long-Term Care and Aging

 “At LTQA, I worked on many projects across an array of topics including Medicare-Medicaid integration, person-centered care, Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits, and dementia care…As a part of the Academy, we had weekly seminars...There, I learned the history of social insurance in the United States and the potential role it will play in the future of the country. Overall, I learned how the very beginnings of the policy-making process start and potential career opportunities I can explore outside of academia.”


Cal Ernst, undergraduate studying Health Care Management and Policy at Georgetown University
Placement: Medicaid and Chip Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC)

Program: Merton C. Bernstein Internship in Social Insurance

 “At MACPAC, I researched and wrote an issue brief on automatic formulas for delivering enhanced funding to Medicaid during recessions…This was a fantastic opportunity, as my direct writing and data analysis will go on to inform congress on Medicaid policy…I think it is fascinating how Medicaid has been the primary lever for state fiscal stimulus in past recessions. By protecting those in greatest need, we actually support the health of the country as a whole. I love how that rings true through Medicaid and the entirety of social insurance.” Murray, graduate student in Public Policy at Georgetown University

Placements: National Academy of Social Insurance and the Urban Institute

Program: Rashi Fein Internship in Health Policy

 "At the Academy, I supported work on the Academy’s Medicare Eligibility Study Panel… a timely topic given the focus of the Democratic primaries…At the Urban Institute, I served as Bob Berenson’s primary research assistant on the project, tasked with identifying which states were implementing the various approaches…I learned a lot about states efforts – how they are designed and what’s working.” 


Tyler Welch, undergraduate studying Risk Management at Temple University

Placement: Congressional Research Service

Program: Merton C. Bernstein Internship on Social Insurance


“This was a summer of spectacular personal and professional transformation, and for that, I am eternally grateful… I have developed a new understanding of just how critical social insurance is to the equitable function of our society... I realize that social insurance is not just a buttress for the poorest among us, but for some, it is a matter of life and death… (I’ve learned) how my (future) PhD work can do what every academic or researcher would hope: affect policy development and change.”


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