My name is Erin Moore and I am so excited to be a new intern for the Michigan League for Public Policy. I have just begun my junior year at Michigan State University, and I’m studying Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy in the James Madison College as well as Sociology in the College of Social Sciences. Throughout my time at this great school, I have belonged to and served on the executive board of certain clubs, including Spartan Toastmasters (chapter of Toastmasters International, a public speaking organization) and Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law Fraternity. When I’m not in class or at a club event, I enjoy running, attending MSU athletic events and reading—I’m currently glued to First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas!
I’ve been able to find my passions though the various classes I’ve taken as well as the roles I’ve fulfilled both on campus and in downtown Lansing. I worked as a research assistant to a James Madison professor for my first two years, and our projects focused primarily on Child Protective Services and the welfare state, in particular the recent development of work requirements in areas of government assistance like Medicaid. This experience opened my eyes to the complexity of government programs, especially how personal their impacts can be for individual people.
While working on these projects, I dove into a Family Science course through the Human Development and Family Studies department, as well as numerous courses on racial, gender and class inequity in James Madison and the College of Social Science. Learning about the historical impact that policies have had on social groups as well as the current issues faced by many diverse families gave me a motivation to create solutions to these pressing issues.
Although this research and coursework tended mostly to be physically separated from the subjects that were studied, my volunteer experience during my sophomore year brought me to the forefront of policy’s direct effect. As a weekly volunteer at a pregnancy center in Lansing, I worked one-on-one with women facing crisis pregnancies and seeking help. I saw how difficult it was for this population of women struggling financially, physically and/or emotionally to achieve a basic standard of health and services. This added to my experience of understanding the big picture of policy’s impacts on individual people, but gave me the personal touch that helped me see the importance of advocating for essential policy.
The problems faced by women and families with lower incomes, not only regarding their health but also in work and care available to them, is only part of the grand scheme of injustices facing the state’s population. It resonates most deeply with me because I see family as extremely important—I believe the kind of care and assistance we provide for families should represent the values of the society we live in, and there’s lots of work to be done in the state of Michigan.
Interning at the League has offered me the opportunity to use my experiences and skills for real good. The women I worked with aren’t at the center of the media’s attention, just as families and mandated reporters impacted by Child Protective Services involvement aren’t. Regardless, the struggles they face to make ends meet in their personal life and in their relationship with government programs are shared throughout the entire state. These are the issues that mean the most to me, and I’m driven to develop my career around working to alleviate the overwhelming stress of people’s personal lives through policy. The League is a phenomenal organization, and I hope to learn every day from their numerous resources and talented professionals.