Here’s the next generation of conservative leaders

I would say that the internship changed my life because it genuinely did. I can’t wait to come back to D.C. and to work for the movement in the future. ~Mimi Teixeira, Heritage intern summer ’17

Heritage believes strongly in preparing the next generation of conservatives for their role in leading our country. 

Through the Young Leaders Program young conservatives from around the country get a chance to work at Heritage and learn about the conservative principles that made this country great.

Yesterday, our summer intern class graduated.

Below is one interns story about her experiences this summer:

‘Here’s what the Heritage internship did for me.’

As our internships through The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program draw to a close, I want to tell you how grateful we all are for your generous support that made this opportunity possible.

This summer alone, Heritage trained 67 principled and passionate young conservative leaders. As part of our 12-week internship, we have been equipped through meaningful work experiences, thought-provoking lectures and discussions, exceptional community, and mentorships by the dedicated Heritage staff. We learned from experts and we developed a greater grasp of the principles behind our politics. We learned how to communicate these principles and policies. By working closely with Heritage’s renowned policy experts, we have conducted challenging research projects and we’ve gained critical experience in valuable professional skills like resume writing and networking.

My fellow interns and I wanted to take this moment to share with you a few of our favorite aspects and key takeaways from this internship. Below are some of our class reflections:

This summer we learned many things about Heritage, including that it hosts many international guests and dignitaries for both public and private events. We have also been impressed by the number of Heritage staff who have transitioned to the Hill or the administration. We have been encouraged by the culture of the organization – where everyone, no matter the title, is valued and genuinely respected by all other employees.

Some of our favorite memories from this summer included meeting and interacting with many influential individuals like Newt Gingrich, Kellyanne Conway, and Ben Shapiro and hearing from foreign leaders like the President of Romania and President of Ukraine. We came to realize just what a significant venue Heritage is in bringing together important leaders and decision makers. You never knew who you would meet in the elevator! This, in addition to the time Heritage’s own experts took to brief us and invest in us was very impactful. We also enjoyed the many opportunities to refine our professional focus, and were touched by the willingness and eagerness of employees to share with us and to assist. Many of us also had our first articles published, whether that was in The Daily Signal or a Heritage research publication, highlighting Heritage’s willingness to showcase its interns.

When it comes to key takeaways – lessons Heritage taught us that we look forward to carrying on with us – here are a few things the class had to say:

  • We learned: “the power of networking, and the power of associations. Doors open to you when you have taken the initiative to go to new places and meet new people.”
  • We learned: “how important it is to have friends who share your values to keep you grounded and help you make the right decisions. D.C. is a big city full of ambition and temptation, and it would be easy to be swept away by it without good friends.”
  • We gained: “the knowledge of being able to articulate what [we] stand for, rather than believing in a platform of knowing what [we] stand against.”
  • We learned: how to articulate, defend, and promote, our conservative principles and solutions, and are now prepared “to take the debate to our college campuses.”

According to one Heritage intern:

This internship has greatly enhanced my understanding of Conservatism. The First Principles lunches taught me the the foundations of conservative philosophy. The lectures and policy briefings showed me how these policies based on Conservative principles benefit all of American society. The practical experience and philosophical training that I received from Heritage will prove invaluable as I seek to advance Conservatism in America.

And as Max Morrison, the homeland and cyber security intern, put it:

I sincerely appreciate the effort, funds, and time that went into providing us all with this wonderful opportunity, and that the energy was not wasted because you’ve trained the next generation of leaders in the conservative movement.

How true this is! There are 67 of us in the summer intern program. 67 distinct individuals with unique callings and personal passions, but a common purpose. As my friends have highlighted above, we know what we believe. We know why we believe it. We know how to articulate, defend, and promote our beliefs. In short, we’re not your average 20-somethings. And as we now leave for our college campuses and careers across the country, thanks to Heritage, we are well prepared to spread our conservative values. As Dr. Feulner says, there are no permanent victories, no permanent defeats, only the permanent battle of ideas. We have the ideas, the solutions. And so with grace and humility we will continue to break through the liberal echo chambers on college campuses and in society, boldly and effectively confronting the left-wing ideology that sweeps up so many, and encouraging our conservative peers to do the same.

Heritage has equipped us, empowered us, and challenged us to do this and more. This summer, we have seen firsthand your and Heritage’s inspirational dedication to investing in us– the young conservative leaders of today– and we are forever grateful. Your dedication is ensuring American values and principles are restored and secured. You are truly shaping the future of the conservative movement. Thank you.

-Kathleen Reynolds, summer intern 2017

Heritage 2017 summer intern class. 

Do you believe in Heritage’s mission to shape the next generation of conservative leaders? Why or why not?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *