Intern profile: Rachel Sider ’14 interns with J Street in Washington, D.C.

This past summer our very own Rachel Sider, a Peer Career Ambassador here at the Center for Education in Action (read her blog posts below!), interned with J Street, a pro-Israel, pro-Peace organization that advocates for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in Washington DC. Read Rachel’s interview below to find out more about her experience.

Tell us about your internship:
This past summer I was a Political and Development Intern at J Street. Working in the political department, I spent a lot of time working for the J Street PAC in writing candidate bios for the congressman J Street was endorsing for the 2012 election cycle. At the same time, I did a lot of researching donors and assisting with events for the development team. I got to sit in and participate in all of the staff meetings, and often had brown-bag lunches with senior staff and J Street’s other summer interns.

What was a typical day like for you?
I started off my day reading J Street’s daily News Roundup that highlights top news, opinion, and analysis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East in general. This was a great way to keep updated and informed about the daily happenings in the region. I typically spent the rest of the morning working on projects for the Development department, often using the various databases J Street uses to organize its supporters, donors, and events. I’d usually go out to lunch with the other interns in the office (there were about eight of us) and then always made a trip to the post office sometime in the afternoon. Some afternoons we would have staff meetings, while others I spent planning a Young Professionals Outreach Happy Hour for the DC Metro Local Chapter of J Street with several other interns.

What was your most meaningful accomplishment or favorite moment during your internship?
In the midst of J Street’s Two-State Summer campaign, J Street brought 7 former Israeli generals and diplomats to the United States to tour five major cities and meet with government officials, community leaders and the press to stress the urgency of the two-state solution and the need for peace talks before the Palestinian bid for UN membership in September. This was an exciting event for J Street, and I had the opportunity to plan a reception welcoming the former diplomats to Washington DC. for about 80 of J Street’s local supporters. I enjoyed taking on such a large responsibility and working with the J Street staff to ensure the event’s success.

Would you recommend your internship to others?
I definitely recommend this internship to students who are passionate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and interested in either politics or the non-profit sector. Since J Street functions as both a PAC and an Education Fund, it offers perspectives and internship opportunities in both areas. I liked that I was able to take ownership on various projects, and feel like the work I did throughout the summer was meaningful and contributed to the success and mission of the organization. J Street has summer internships in Field Programs, Government Affairs, Communications, the Education Fund, and the Political and Development dept, so there are opportunities for students with varying career interests.

How did you find your internship?
J Street had posted over a dozen summer internship positions on its website and I’d gotten an email from J Street U–the student organizing arm of J Street–reaching out to students to apply.

What advice do you have for students looking for internships?
Start early! It doesn’t hurt to start brainstorming, looking for ideas online, and checking out your options early because deadlines for some opportunities come up as early January–some even earlier! Also, I feel that it is very important to be assertive and proactive in your search. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to those who work at the organization just to demonstrate interest and show how passionate you are about working for them.

Click here to find out more about J Street.