Political Advocacy as an Intern

Common Application: topic of your choice

Shark Day 2011. 100 miles from the ocean, but the fate of the top predator of the oceans, key to the health of marine ecosystems, would be decided right here in Sacramento. The role I got to play on Shark Day was cutting off the tags that said “Made in China” from the small stuffed shark toys we were handing out. Such is the life of an intern. But I also got to watch close up as public policy was being made.

I was lucky enough to be an intern in the offices of the organization coordinating the lobbying for shark fin ban, Assembly Bill 376, and lucky enough to learn that the path to environmental protection can be a very strange one indeed.

I found myself calling every Jamba Juice in three counties (there are a lot more than one would think) to find one that had something other than the environmentally blacklisted Styrofoam cups, which we could never serve to the crowds of environmental activists who were descending on us by the hundreds. There was a class of fourth graders from a tiny school in Santa Barbara led by a teacher dressed head to toe in a shark costume—a costume which our more politically savvy lead lobbyist insisted be put instead on the cutest, tiniest little girl in the class. A suitable candidate was found and...

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