We are officially accepting applications to join the 2014 summer intern team here at Democracy Works! Come join us!

If you’re not quite ready to apply yet, here’s a first-hand account from Anjelica Smith, 2013 TurboVote intern and Virginia Tech Student Government Association Vice President, about the exciting world of TurboVote interns:
Group Bow-Tie portrait

When the 2013 interns came together last June, we more than doubled the size of TurboVote team. The interns came from all across the U.S. to test the notion that each of us could play a role in bridging the gap between how Americans vote and how most Americans live, with technology serving as both the void and solution. Over the course of ten weeks each of us paired our unique backgrounds and know-how with the prowess of  TurboVote’s staff, ultimately expanding access to voting resources for thousands. Six months later, it’s safe to say it was a summer of big wins and rewarding experiences for everyone.

The interns, or as we jokingly nicknamed ourselves, “The Dream Team,” kicked off the summer program with a week of intense training where we learned about the origins of the TurboVote operation, the technology that powers the online platform and a thing or two about the value of expanding our individual skill sets. I remember Matt Cordeiro speaking about the importance of radical clarity in all communications, a skill we would all sharpen over the course of summer. Recalling his experience as a one-man voter registration machine in the scorching Baltimore sun, Sam Novey showed us the importance of narrative building using our own personal experiences.

Inside the office and out, the interns bonded with each other and the rest of the staff. Outside the office, we would meet up for coffee, weekend cookouts, and various escapades around NYC. Within the office, we filled a folder with fun, strange, and unexpected facts about ourselves, and read to the group one every day. From this game we learned that one intern applied to an Australian mime school out of fear that she wouldn’t get accepted to any college, while another started a band called Bacon Weave in high school. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a more eclectic and exciting group of people, and it is safe to say I would never cross paths with these people otherwise.

fun with interns

Looking back, it’s easy to understand how our different backgrounds contributed to our diverse experiences at TurboVote. For some of us, familiarity with student governments prepared us to reach out to other student leaders, which was the first thing we did when we arrived in Washington, D.C. for the National Campus Leadership Council summit. Jedd Countey, a Roosevelt Institute fellow, worked on a policy project focused on higher education’s critical role as an incubator for an informed citizenry, and spoke at conferences and presentations. Bonner Foundation fellow Parker Lawson worked closely with Bonner schools across the country. Ruth Mulvihill, a sister of the Eta Zeta Chapter of Delta Gamma at UChicago, expanded her outreach by connecting with her sisters throughout the region. Another intern, Rachel Goddard, an NYC native who serves as a poll worker in local elections, acted as our resident advisor on all things New York. Computational biology major and glitter enthusiast Katie Byron worked with the operations team to crowdsource election data, making it easier to send the accurate election information to our users.

Ops Team

Although our individual experiences often drove our day-to-day responsibilities, we all grew together during my favorite weekly ritual, the Thursday lunch and learning. Not only did we get to sample an array of southeast Asian cuisine from restaurants around Brooklyn, but were deliberate in taking an hour each week to develop ourselves. Sarah Stern from The League of Young Voters and Angela Linneman from HeadCount visited and discussed their work engaging young people in elections. Jack Cashion, a 2012 TurboVote intern, discussed his senior thesis on statewide student associations. Partnerships Associate Matt Cordeiro and fellow intern John Connolly chimed in with stories of their own experiences as founding members of New Jersey’s statewide student association.

All in all, I had a great summer in Brooklyn. I departed for Virginia with a dozen or so new friends, the patience to tie a bow tie (only on Tuesdays) and an unforgettable experience that I’ll always cherish. In fact, I’ll continue building on last year’s experience when I return to TurboVote this summer to lead the next cohort of interns, who I can only hope will be even more ambitious. Won’t you join me?

If you’re interested in for the 2014 TurboVote internship, apply now!