Alas, the end of summer is near. Soon Americans United’s awesome team of summer interns will venture forth into the world of higher education. Before they depart, AU would like to recognize their hard work and contributions to our mission of church-state separation. Read our dedicated interns’ reflections on their experiences here with us! If you missed getting to know them, check out their introduction here.

Lily Berman, Legal Intern

Working at AU has shown me how impact litigators and rights advocates drive social movements. As an undergraduate interested in law, I have a clearer understanding of how constitutional law is applied today to protect the rights of women, immigrants and the LGBTQ community. As a citizen, my time at AU has made me able to understand our current challenges more deeply and act on them with more intelligence and conviction. Most importantly, AU has taught me that the separation of church and state is essential to protect the rights and freedoms I cherish.

Amy Fallaw, Advocacy Intern

Interning at Americans United this summer has been an unforgettable experience for me. From being on the steps of the Supreme Court to attending Netroots Nation in New Orleans, I got the most hands-on advocacy experience I could’ve hoped for. Being in D.C. has been amazing. I love being so close to the most influential politicians in the country and feeling so connected to every piece of legislation, court case and protest I see every day on the news. Best summer ever!

Emily Midyette, Communications Intern

In my nine weeks working with AU’s Communication Department, I have honed my organization and writing skills. With guidance from my supervisor and fellow department members, I developed professional confidence that I will cherish as I prepare to enter the workforce.

My most powerful experience at AU occurred on the steps of the Supreme Court after the Muslim Ban ruling. Standing in solidarity with the communities of faith being discriminated against by the government solidified my passion for church-state separation advocacy. I will be an AU supporter long into the future!

Mackenzie Price, Legal Intern

One of my favorite parts about working at Americans United was hearing about the cases AU works on and how they relate to the projects I completed as an intern. Not only did it make me feel like I was an important contributor to the organization’s effort to prevent government-endorsed discrimination, but it also taught me much about America’s legislative system and what needs to happen to create positive change today. I am grateful to have helped AU stand up for the rights of Americans. I am also very pleased to have learned so much from some amazing people along the way! I look forward to seeing AU’s work in the future and thank its staff for my newfound appreciation of the nuances and importance of the First Amendment.

Urjita Sudula, Legal Intern

Interning for Americans United has given me the opportunity to work with talented and passionate people who care about maintaining the separation between church and state. As a law school student, I learned about the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause from more of a theoretical lens, but coming to AU has allowed me to understand how these clauses impact people on a day-to-day basis. I’ve met people who came to AU because of their interests in a wide range of issues, such as reproductive rights or LGBTQ rights, which has helped me better understand how these issues intersect with church-state separation. I look forward to taking what I’ve learned here back to law school and into my legal career. 

Alexandra Willingham, Legal Intern

This summer has been the perfect first law school internship. The Legal Department’s size allowed me to be intimately involved in matters and contribute substantively to briefs. I have also loved the diversity of topics amongst AU’s cases: I’ve contributed to cases involving school prayer, government funds to churches, contraception coverage and health care refusals. I have learned how critical church-state separation is to other fundamental freedoms and how endangered it is. I am leaving AU having seen impact litigation at its finest, an opportunity that has only strengthened my commitment to this form of civil rights work.

Nicole You, Advocacy Intern

Interning with the AU Field Department this summer has truly been an eye-opening experience and a privilege. These past months I have come to learn what it means to organize leaders and facilitate coalitions and create genuine substantive change. I’ve gained a plentitude of hands-on experiences that I will use in the future to further the mission of Americans United and to advocate for other progressive issues!

Editor’s Note: College students interested in interning at Americans United can learn more here.

(Top photo: Top row from left, Mackenzie Price, Nicole You, Amy Fallaw, Alexandra Willingham and Emily Midyette. Bottom row from left, Urjita Sudula, Lily Berman and Rebecca Fate.)