National Consumers League

Meet NCL's 2012 intern class


2012 intern class on Capitol Hill

Kae Saelee, California State University, Fullerton located in Fullerton, CA, Senior/ Expected Graduation: December 2012, Major: Criminal Justice with minor in Sociology, Cal State DC Program

What’d you work on at NCL?

I worked closely with John Breyault on various consumer fraud issues. I reviewed a selection of major US radio stations for deceptive advertisements, conducted research on people who were hurt by unlicensed professionals and provided ideas to help with our proposal for a partnership with Facebook. I have helped write LifeSmarts questions to keep the program content current. For Sally, I logged on my experience with the DC Metro system. I have also worked collaboratively with other interns on improving our NCL page on various social media network Web sites.

Any highlights?

I enjoyed attending congressional hearings on the Hill. The most interesting thing I experienced was learning from everyone what they are working on. I was fascinated with the way each staff member was involved and took on unique responsibilities in their respective field. I definitely enjoyed working with the interns and above all, the staff! I always felt welcomed and was provided with great support.

What do you want to do in the future?

I plan on pursuing a career in federal law enforcement.

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

Moving to DC from California was definitely a culture shock. I love the politics, diversity of people and public transit. Celebrating 4th of July at our Nation’s Capitol was amazing, by far the best fireworks yet.

Steven Dorshkind, Wayne State University/ Detroit, MI, Junior/ 2014, Political Science/Pre-Medicine, The Semester in Washington Politics with The George Washington University

What made you interested in working at NCL?

When I saw that there was an opening in the child labor department, I felt that it was an excellent way to spend my summer. I have a passion for helping people, and children especially; I felt it was the perfect internship.

Any highlights?

I truly loved going to the conferences and meetings be it at the Hill or in some different office. I was always happy being in meetings that directly affect the future of our nation and the welfare of the citizens.

What do you want to do in the future?

I’d love to run for office in the federal government. I want to get both my MD and my PhD and be able to save people both on the operating table and in my policies.

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

Truthfully, it was one of the most fulfilling and memorable experiences in my life. I have never felt so strongly about my future and I feel like D.C. is truly a place for me to be in the future and I’d love to come back and keep on fighting for causes I support. This experience has forever changed my perspective on life and the way I live, I’m completely thankful for all the opportunities I received out here.

Christiana Oatman, University of the Pacific—Stockton, CA, Rising senior, class of 2013, Major: History, minor in gender studies, The Fund for American Studies (Institute of Political Journalism)

What made you interested in working at NCL?
The organization has a strong history in association with the progressive movements of the early 20th century. I am passionate about social justice issues, and thought NCL would provide me with the opportunity to fight for people’s rights.

The communications aspect of my internship sounded interesting as well.

What did you work on?

I worked in Communications. During my time at NCL, I also worked on fraud alerts. I updated the Twitter and Facebook feeds, and made suggestions on how to improve our social networking sites. I wrote multiple blog posts and articles for the NCL Web site. I did a “news roundup” every morning.

Any highlights?

A highlight was following Sally to the table saw testimony and to the ABC news interview.

What will the future hold?

I am excited to bring my knowledge about consumer rights and issues back with me to Stockton, CA. I am going to graduate in the spring, and I will definitely use what I learned here in order to help me find a job that I am interested in. I would definitely be interested in working somewhere that fights for the interests of the many, not the few.

Brianne Pitts, University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA, Rising Senior & May 2013, Honors Interdisciplinary major Political & Social Thought, The Fund for American Studies

What made you interested in working at NCL?

The biggest thing that made me interested in working there was that NCL deals with wage theft, which is very related /similar to the Living Wage Campaign I was involved in at UVA. Because the work was so similar and close to my interests, I wanted to work there right away.

Any highlights?

Highlights would be getting published, going to all those hearings and meetings, meeting important people in the labor and employment community and being in DC upon the passing of constitutionality of the individual mandate of the ACA. I will be coming back to the Living Wage Campaign at my school with a much wider knowledge base and breadth of information and multiple new connections from NCL that I m certain that we will get a living wage for UVA workers this year.

What do you want to do after college?

My long-term career goal was to be a Business Attorney but now from my experiences this summer I want to be a Civil Right Attorney or an International Human Rights Attorney.

Lili Gecker, Brandeis University; Waltham, MA, Class of 2013, Major: Sociology, minors in theatre and art history, Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice World of Work (WOW) Fellowship

What made you interested in working at NCL?

I was excited to work at NCL this summer because it was a great opportunity to be in DC and learn about public policy on a federal level. In addition, NCL’s mission statement is a no-brainer for me. Our country is made up of consumers and workers, and we need advocacy groups like NCL to defend their rights and to demand that the government do the same.

What did you work on?

As a public policy intern, I worked on research topics ranging from cell phone cramming, to ticketing issues, to radio fraud. In addition, I had the opportunity to dip my toes into other policy arenas that NCL covers, including public health, food safety, and fair labor standards.

One of the highlights for me this summer was contributing to NCL’s blog. It allowed me the opportunity to work on my research and writing skills, and to express my opinions on topics about which I am most passionate.

What’s in store for you?

I would love to continue working on public policy, advocacy, or organizing. I think I would like a job in the non-profit sector, or maybe a progressive think tank.

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

It was a great opportunity to live and work in DC, especially since I am considering returning here after graduation. Highlights included free museums, delicious FrozenYo, and constant political drama.

Katja Meijaard, Amsterdam University College, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 3rd year (senior), graduation in January 2013, Social Sciences. The internship is affiliated with the ICPES program of the Fund For American Studies

What made you interested in working at NCL?

Being from one of the most liberal countries in the world, aiming for equal rights and opportunities is a natural thing. NCL advocates for many things I believe in, such as preventing wage theft and informing consumers about their rights and responsibilities. Additionally, I have always been broadly interested and feel that you should get a great overview of how things are related to each other. NCL covers so many different issues, recognizes their importance and their overlaps. I felt that this focus really appealed to me.

This will always be the summer when the Supreme Court upheld the Health Care Bill, while I was interning at an organization that has been advocating for universal health care! The Court’s ruling took over the whole city and it was so interesting to see how people responded in practice, instead of reading about it.

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

It has been an incredible experience to live and work in the Nation’s capital. The first thing I noticed is how busy the city is and how much energy and devotion people show in their daily routines. Although I was kind of intimidated in the beginning, this work ethic is very contagious. It has been inspiring to see people being passionate about what is going on in the world and wanting to advocate for change. On the other hand, I feel that DC, being the political centre of the world has created a very comfortable environment for the locals. The city is very clean, regardless of the few mice near the student dorms, and most things seem very well organised.

Overall, living in DC and interning for NCL has greatly contributed to my life experience. I got to experience real world politics, got to know inspiring and devoted people and have been part of a great organisation that has only confirmed by ambitions to go into management. I want to thank all of the staff members of NCL for each individually contributing to my DC experience and I really hope at some point our paths will cross again!