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

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: JENNA GALLAGHER '21

Jenna Gallagher ’21 interning at the National Women’s Law Center during the 2020 winter term.

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Jenna Gallagher ’21 interned at the National Women’s Law Center during the 2020 winter term. Here is an excerpt from her internship report.

This winter term, I began my internship at the National Women’s Law Center, working for their child care and early learning team.  After my official winter end date, I was offered to continue my internship remotely during spring term, and I am now working part time for the law center while also taking remote classes. My work with the law center has mostly consisted of research, writing, and what we would describe as “coalition wrangling”, i.e. working with my team to manage the national child care and early learning coalition.

This was my first time working in a non-government internship, and I learned an incredible amount about lobbying, coalitions, and the relationship between advocacy organizations and representatives. The law center is made up of primarily lawyers, so I got to learn a great deal about the field of law, particularly equal protection law, from the staff.  

I had so many opportunities to learn from experts in areas that I had little experience in, and really immerse myself in those topics.  For example, I had done very little work on income security or paid leave prior to working for the center, but after three months I had a firm enough understanding to be the first author on a major child care/paid leave fact sheet. I was also fully recognized as a member of my team at the center, and my supervisor always made space for me to ask questions, learn, and share ideas in our team meetings.  I also really enjoyed the relationships that I was able to build with the other interns, all of whom were law school students.  It was a really incredible opportunity for me to talk to them about their law school experience and pick their brains about the admissions process.

The center is made up of over 90% women, many of whom have children and families, so there was a strong culture of work-life balance that I was not expecting but was pleasantly surprised by. It was incredibly refreshing to work for a legal organization that really valued work-life balance – members of my team took mental health days, would leave work early to take their children to the doctor, and would actually use all of their allotted vacation time.  They also all maximized every second they had in the office, and I learned from them that in the right environment, the field of law absolutely can be welcoming to women and mothers.  This settled a lot of my fears about future burn-outs and/or a future skewed work-life balance when I enter the policy/legal field after graduation. 

I would never have been able to have this incredible experience without the Rockefeller Center’s generous grant, and I am so grateful to the folks at the Rockefeller Center for all that they have done to make my internship possible and to provide me with the academic foundation to find success in this and all future professional experiences.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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