The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Emma Lape '16

Article Type 
Student Intern: Emma Lape '16

Internship Organization:
New America Foundation

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
New America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new ideas to address challenges facing the United States and world. The Health Policy Program, led by Dr. Susan Blumenthal, seeks to improve health by advancing research, service delivery, and education programs through public policy. Current areas of interest include the implementation of healthcare reform, women’s health, issues with scientific discovery, the impact of globalization with the threat of bioterrorism, and emerging concerns such as obesity, pandemic flu and Ebola.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
I assist Dr. Blumenthal with research and project planning, recruiting future interns, attending and reporting on events around the Washington, DC area, and maintaining the website and social media accounts associated with the SNAP to Health project, which provides policy recommendations for improving nutrition within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
The Health Policy program at New America is in a separate area from the other programs. On my first day, I met Dr. Blumenthal and she showed me to my cubicle and left me to work. It was a while before I realized that our office has two floors and 150 employees!

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
I've attended several events that have expanded the way I think about health, policy, and life in general. I've learned to ask questions at these events even when it feels like everyone else in the room must know way more about the topic than me. Engaging with really new, innovative and creative ideas is exciting.

What challenges have you faced so far?
My biggest challenge has been finding my place within New America. I've realized that all the programs are filled with fun and brilliant people, and I'm trying to take advantage of the opportunities that New America provides. For example, Fellows who are working on books or documentaries will give talks about their work during lunch, and I've been attending the talks and learning a lot from them.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I want to gain a broader understanding of the ways that I can improve health through policy and public health. I hope to publish a paper with Dr. Blumenthal by the time I'm done here.



The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences