Class of 2021 First-Year Fellow: Jolie Kemp

As a First-Year Fellow, Jolie Kemp ’21 interned at the Truman National Security Project under the mentorship of Michael Breen ’02. The following is an excerpt from her final report.

I interned at the Truman National Security Project, a nationwide membership of policy experts, veterans, and academics committed to addressing the national security concerns of today. Truman connects over 1,700 members across the country with 16 different chapters, each of which facilitates conversations around and develops concrete solutions to pressing security issues. The organization also aids its members by offering specific messaging and soundbites regarding current political events, trainings on topics from the military to op-ed writing, and an annual conference in D.C. that connects the entire community. Truman is currently working hard to shape the future of issues such as family separation and the Muslim immigration ban.

My responsibilities at Truman included performing development and membership related research for my supervisor, compiling spreadsheets of information about members, attending meetings with my supervisor for the Development team, and completing any projects handed down to me from my mentor, the CEO and President of the Organization. Over the summer, I worked mostly on a project from him in which I identified and mapped congressional swing districts across the country in which Truman could target its membership efforts. All of the interns were also required to attend weekly brown bag lunches with members of the staff, as well as various trainings at work on topics such as professional communication. Finally, I answered calls for the organization at the front desk.

My favorite part of the fellowship experience was having the chance to attend several congressional hearings over the course of the summer on a wide range of issues, from rising healthcare costs, to the US-China trade war, and even the state of American diplomacy according to Secretary of State Pompeo. I wrote briefings on each of these hearings for my supervisor, and ultimately got to expand upon my learning by turning one of these topics into a final presentation that I gave for the entire office. I researched and wrote upon the US-China Trade War and explored some of the different national security implication of the crisis, connecting my interest in this issue with the mission of the organization. The flexibility of my internship and kindness of my supervisor allowed me this amazing opportunity to directly expose myself to national politics and throw myself deep into some of the most heated policy debates of today. Seeing senators up close and hearing the testimonies of some incredible witnesses was a very unique DC experience that I am so fortunate to have had.

I would like to thank the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for making this fellowship possible.