National Consumers League

Meet NCL's 2011 intern class


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Meet NCL's summer 2011 interns


This summer, NCL was joined by four hard-working student interns from across the country. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work, conducting policy research, writing posts for our Savvy Consumer blog, creating tough new LifeSmarts questions, and doing some investigation regarding unit pricing at local DC-area drug stores and supermarkets. Meet the guys.


Meet Ben JudgeBen Judge, The Fund for American Studies program, University of North Carolina- Asheville, Class of 2014, Political Science with a minor in Economics


Long-term career goal: Consulting focused on risk-management, or economic or policy analysis, or as a staffer for a Congressional Committee, as a lobbyist, or as a fellow at a think tank—or as Ambassador to the Marshall Islands.


What brought you to NCL?


I have always liked the work that consumer groups do, and I wanted to make a difference in the lives of consumers. Doing Student Government Association, I have done advocacy work before, and this is another channel for me to voice the concerns of those who cannot articulate concerns for themselves.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


I have worked on various research projects with most of the staff. I drafted a memo on the consumer benefits of improved infrastructure in the United States, also I have helped in writing a letter to a representative endorsing our support for a particular bill on 4G. I researched court cases against the new health care-reform and wrote various blog posts from everything from sunscreen regulation to raising the minimum wage. For Sally I have worked with the other interns on research and suggestions for supermarkets on their unit pricing systems. I created a database of all the missing children and teenagers in Jamaica for the past year. For fundraising, I have been a part of filling out databases regarding donors and information about grants.


An internship highlight


Going to hearings on the hill and interacting with consumer advocates.


On the horizon for Ben


I will be working on my university’s curriculum as the new Academic Affairs Chair in Student Government. Also I will be helping my school with drafting its Campus Master Plan.


What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


It’s been an experience that I will truly never forget. Although I have been working harder then I have in my life it has been so worth it. There is something about going to work during the week and doing work that makes a difference, then on the weekends being able to go to the museums and the attractions that this wonderful city has. It makes me want to come back as often as I can and really work on the Hill as career.


 



Meet Larry RoseLarry Rose, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Class of 2012, Political Science


Long-term career goal: I’m thinking of becoming a lawyer, but not one that protects the pockets of people who already have more than they need.


What made you interested in working at NCL?


I have always been interested in the consumer and labor rights movements. The current political and economic climate has made politicians prioritize the so-called “needs” of corporations over the needs of people. The people need an advocate and I am proud to be one.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


I worked on updating our data on check fraud and did some research on the AT&T T-Mobile merger. I also went to some congressional hearings. I wrote several LifeSmarts questions, updated some databases, worked on the Child Labor Coalition’s YouTube channel, and researched whether the Department of Labor’s statistics for minimum wages in the states were up to date.


An internship highlight


I really enjoyed attending congressional hearings. While I still feel that I could do a better job running this country than 99 percent of Congress, it is very interesting to see just how our government works.


On the horizon for Larry


This fall, I am taking 3 300 level classes and a 400 level seminar. This is one of the most difficult course loads available to a student at St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s 400 level classes are all seminars and you are only expected to take one or two of them during your time as a student. To compensate for this, our 300 level courses are far more difficult and require far more work than those at other colleges.


What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


Working in DC was very interesting. You always hear people complaining how it is an ugly and corrupt city compared to New York City, but many of the people here are pretty cool and there are places that look completely amazing.


 


Meet Alex SchneiderAlex Schneider, Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice at Brandeis, Brandeis University, Class of 2012, Politics, Economics


Long-term career goal: Law and public policy work


What made you interested in working at NCL?


I have always considered myself a consumer advocate, although not necessarily in a formal sense. As Editor-in-Chief of The Brandeis Hoot student newspaper, I often write weekly editorials advocating for greater oversight over student funds. When a vote was put to students to introduce a new fee to provide constant funds for a student group beyond their funding from current tuition, I researched and eventually opposed the idea, sparking discussion in the pages of our newspaper. I have also written to spotlight inconsistencies in the services provided for student housing and to oppose on-campus ATM fees. Working at the NCL has formalized this advocacy.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


Over the summer, I have worked closely with John Breyault on various policy issues, including advocating against the illegal placement of erroneous charges on phone bills, or cramming, and against the masking of caller ID phone numbers, or spoofing, with the intent to defraud. I have also worked collaboratively with the other interns on improving the transparency of unit pricing in supermarkets.


An internship highlight


I have enjoyed delving into topics I had never considered, including while working on projects for the Child Labor Coalition and for the NCL's special project on wage theft.


On the horizon for Alex:


As my senior year begins, I look forward to, first and foremost, no longer being bound to a meal plan, but also to working on a senior politics thesis, continued work on the campus newspaper, and taking a class with our new President, Frederick Lawrence.


What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


July 4 in our nation’s capitol was certainly the highlight of living in DC, including the early morning reading of the Declaration of Independence, the display of patriotism at the annual parade, and the fireworks display with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture playing at the Capitol. And compared with the average temperature of 40 degrees that I’ve experienced both at home in Boston and while abroad in Edinburgh since my summer in Washington, DC last year, it is certainly refreshing to live where there’s real heat.




Meet Michael FinchMichael Finch, Roosevelt Campus Network Summer Academy, Middle Tennessee State University, Class of 2012, Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration


Long-term career goal: Legislative assistant for a member of Congress or a committee handling civil rights/civil liberties issues, or work in a similar capacity at an organization off the Hill


What made you interested in working at NCL?


I was interested in working for NCL upon finding out the wide range of issues they cover. I do a lot of fighting for civil rights/civil liberties and consumer and worker rights definitely tie into that category. Making sure that consumers are informed and protected is a basic, but incredibly important, step toward mitigating a wide variety of social justice issues.


What kept you busy at NCL this summer?


I worked on many different issues, which was one of the best parts of the internship. I worked on updating LifeSmarts questions, which helped me learn quite a bit about a huge variety of topics. Like the other interns, I worked on the unit pricing project for Sally, as well as another project for her regarding payment protection plans for credit cards. I also worked on a case of art fraud for John, where a consumer contacted us directly because he’d been scammed out of nearly $30,000. I also helped Michell with some small wage theft projects. I also wrote two blogs, about the payment protection plans, and tort reform.


An internship highlight


The most interesting and enlightening thing I experienced was searching YouTube for personal wage theft stories. I found one video in particular that showed a kind of wage theft that I had never even thought about before, that really drove home the lack of respect some companies have for their workers, and made the issue of wage theft much more real and much more pressing to me.


On the horizon for Michael


I’ll definitely be bringing my newfound consumer advocacy knowledge back to my campus, and the town I live in. I’m a little worried that I’ll be the scourge of whatever employer I end up getting, because I’ll keep them honest regarding wage theft and food safety issues.



What was it like to live and work in Washington, DC?


I was in DC for a congressional internship in 2009, and both times I’ve been here, I’ve loved it. I love the various communities, the diversity, the history of the area, the readily-accessible public transit, the political environment and opportunities…I’ve known since I came here in 2009 that I wanted to live here long-term.