Elle Huffellehuff

Public Relations and Strategic Communications

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

How has your internship helped build skills and clarify your career goals? 

Prior to being in Public Relations I was in the College of Science for two years. After switching I knew that I still wanted to work in a health related field. This internship has provided me with substantial experience regarding health policy in the professional world. I’ve been able to see the importance of representing a large organization to the public and government in order to help others.

How do you apply your Liberal Arts skills in your internship?

I applied writing techniques and communications skills throughout my internship. Whether it was making sure that a report going into print followed proper AP Style or drafting materials to influence regional and national government, the skills I learned in class helped me do it.

What is a typical day like as an intern, any challenging or exciting aspects?

Everyday is different and brings on new and exciting work. I attend meetings regarding national reports that the organization publishes, legislation efforts, policy, etc. Some of my work includes tackling media advisories, materials for lobby days, and development of media materials to support regional media markets. The most challenging part was learning how to not bring work home everyday. The foundation of all of the work I do is supporting legislation and policy designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. The nature of this means there are many cancer patient and survivor narratives woven into everything I experience. You can’t help but be affected by these stories and be motivated to do all that you can and more to help end suffering from the disease. Working for a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization to end cancer as a major health problem in the political climate of Washington D.C. is extremely exciting. Being nonpartisan allows you to witness what’s happening in our nation’s capital from a unique perspective. I love being able to fight for a cause I am passionate about with this angle. Additionally, witnessing the D.C. Capitals win the Stanley Cup for the first time ever was also incredibly exciting and fun to participate in. I was surprised by how passionate the people of this city are about their causes. Many people have prioritized causes and missions and moved across the country to specifically advocate for them here. It’s encouraging to be able to witness a place that’s so often perceived negatively in media for what it actually is. I can’t think of one specific instance that has been the most meaningful but living and working in D.C. has ingrained in me that one really can make a difference. I’ve seen moments where bills finally pass that have been worked on for years. Coming into work everyday doesn’t include immediate results but when a piece of legislation moves forward or is passed that decreases suffering from cancer, it is more than worth it.

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