About Us

About Us image of kids

Recent Interns

2014 Summer Semester Interns

  • Alex Gomes
    Alex Gomes was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently a junior studying political science and history at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Alex is very involved with Habitat for Humanity in Deer Park, Washington, near where she goes to college and also tutors children in the area through a program called Saturday Morning Literacy. The children she worked with were primarily low income and who do not have English as their first language. Her experience volunteering for both these organizations is what sparked her interest in social justice and child advocacy. In the future, Alex hopes to attend law school and use her degree to promote children’s interests. Outside of work, Alex swims for her college’s swim team, loves reading, and traveling. This summer Alex spent interning for the CDF National Office in the Development Department.
  • Amy Glazier-Torgerson
    Amy Glazier-Torgerson, originally from Seattle, Washington, is a senior pursuing a major in Social Policy and a minor in Psychology at Northwestern University. For three years, Amy has advocated for low-income children in Chicago by completing 1200 hours of AmeriCorps service through Jumpstart. Amy loved serving as a Team Leader of her peers in a Head Start preschool, as well as working at the regional Jumpstart office in Program Development. These experiences, along with a slight obsession with Jonathon Kozol’s writing, instilled in her a passion for ensuring that all children regardless of race or socioeconomic status have extensive, high-quality opportunities to learn and grow. Next year, she will channel this commitment into writing an Honors Thesis on the experience gap and serving as a Volunteer Coordinator for Jumpstart. Amy is honored to serve as an Early Childhood Policy intern at Children’s Defense Fund, where she learns how to be a better advocate for children every day!
  • Andrew Gonzales
    Andrew Gonzales, originally from Richmond, California, is a junior at Brown University where he concentrates in political science and education policy. At Brown, Andrew works in several capacities that allow him to service his community and assist those who have often been marginalized in society. Andrew’s desire for the betterment of all children has propelled him into his internship with the Education Policy team at CDF’S National Office in Washington, D.C. By interning with this team, Andrew hopes to gain valuable and practical insight into the ways in which effective and impactful education policy can, and should be constructed so that particularly our Nation’s underserved children can have a more equitable chance to succeed. Upon graduation from Brown, Andrew hopes to seek a Juris Doctorate so that he may be a vocal advocate for more just laws.
  • Carly Spraggins
    Carly Spraggins, originally from Richmond, Virginia, is a rising 4th year at the University of Virginia where she is studying Government and Media Studies as well as pursuing an accelerated Master of Public Policy. She also spent last summer studying economics and public policy at the University of Oxford. Her previous experiences, as a long-time volunteer tutor as well as a Kids Club Coordinator for the non-profit YouthWorks, have strengthened her interest in pursuing a career in child advocacy and policy. Outside of the classroom Carly enjoys giving tours with the University Guide Service, working on Student Council, and serving on the Board of Directors for Madison House, the University’s student volunteer center. She is excited to be combining her interests in policy, public relations, and child advocacy this summer as a Communications Intern in the National Office!
  • Charrise Phillips
    Charrise Phillips, originally from Durham, North Carolina, is a first-year PhD student at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development. After earning a bachelor’s degree in public policy studies from Duke University, Charrise taught sixth grade math in Miami, Florida for two years and eventually returned to her hometown to work towards closing the achievement gap between students living in poverty and their affluent peers. Charrise recently earned her master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and is currently an Education Policy intern for the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Office in Washington, D.C. Charrise aspires to improve the educational and life outcomes of all students through innovative school programs and community-based organizations.
  • Claire Gorder
    Claire Gorder, originally from Riverside, California, is a rising senior at UCLA, studying Human Biology and Society and minoring in Theatre. Claire has always had a passion for working with children. On campus, she gives campus tours to K-8 students and also tutors elementary school students in downtown Los Angeles. Both of these experiences have increased Claire’s awareness of the challenges that youth face in education and lead her to an internship with the CDF. As a Freedom Schools Intern, she is excited to learn firsthand about the behind-the-scenes work of the program and the inventive practices used in Freedom School Classrooms. Additionally, Claire has been involved in theatre for many years and participates in productions on UCLA’s campus. She is interested in studying how an interdisciplinary education, particularly the incorporation of theatre in the classroom, can be used to influence student learning. For this reason, one of her favorite experiences at CDF thus far has been getting to participate in the Freedom Schools Harambee.
  • Danielle Lockett
    Danielle Lockett is interning in the executive office of CDF as an assistant to the Internship Coordinator. Danielle is a native of Washington, DC, and is a senior at Susquehanna University, located in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, where she is an English Literature major, with a minor in Women’s Studies. On campus, Danielle is the current chair of The National Congress of Black Women Inc., Susquehanna University Chapter; she is also a member of AZA Step Team as well as a member of the Diversity Council at the college. Danielle has a strong passion for social justice and loves giving back to her community. Previously, she has volunteered with organizations in DC, such as the National Congress of Black Women National Office, FLOC—For the Love of Children, and Reading Partners. After graduation Danielle hopes to be the first generation in her family to pursue a JD degree at an institution that focuses on social justice and continue to service her community.
  • Erica Burnett
    Erica Burnett was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Around freshman year in High School found interest in Speech Pathology and went on to pursue the career in College. Attended California State University Los Angeles and graduated with a B.A. in Communication Disorders the year 2013. After college no longer found interest in being a Speech-Language Pathologist and found heart was to work as a Special Education Counselor. Business ventures include organizing homes of parents with children that have disabilities and owning a non-profit program giving children more opportunities in sports management. At home hobbies include playing in adult softball league at a community recreation center, going to the poetry lounge, and hiking. In spare time likes to read, write, draw, and spends most of time with family and friends.
  • Gia Do
    Gia Do, an international student from Vietnam, came to New York to finish his college in Management major. Gia’s first volunteer work with Actionaid Vietnam, an NGO working for human rights and defeat poverty, inspired him for further nonprofit work. Gia is an intern with the IT Department with the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Office in Washington, D.C where he can learn and enjoy his interest in computer and technology. Besides working, Gia also likes traveling, learning new culture, language and meet new people.
  • Haley Winter
    Haley Winter is seeking a double major in Modern Foreign Languages and Communication Studies at James Madison University. Her dedication to her studies is shown through her participation in the university’s Honors Program and her recurring achievement of Dean’s and President’s list. Although interested in all academics, her favorite classes are those that discuss the need for social reform. She has recently been invited to present her work on Justice in America at a conference this fall. This year, Haley was granted the Hillcrest Scholarship through her university. As the recipient, the scholarship is allowing her to live and work for a non-profit in Santiago, Chile next summer. She is excited to combine her passion for the Latin American culture with her desire to help others, but will miss working at the Children’s Defense Fund. She would like to thank the Freedom Schools staff for the opportunity to attend National Training and for their continued mentorship and support.
  • Hannah Schwarz
    Hannah Schwarz is a Child Welfare & Mental Health Policy intern at the Children’s Defense Fund, working on issues that affect abused, neglected, and foster care children. She is a rising junior at Yale, majoring in Ethics, Politics, & Economics, and interested in social policy, education policy, and impact litigation. She is particularly interested in policy that targets those living in poverty in the U.S. She likes long-form journalism, films that come out during Oscars season, and Slate’s Political GabFest. She is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  • Isabel Zuckoff
    Isabel Zuckoff, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, is a graduate student at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. After receiving a B.A. in Sociology from Boston University, Isabel spent two years working at the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ). During her time there, she was exposed to numerous issues related to the healthcare delivery system for children and their families as well as the gap in access to healthcare, which is often a result of social determinants of health such as socioeconomic status, race, and gender. This exposure prompted her to return to school for a Masters of Public Health. Isabel is in the Sociomedical Sciences Department at Mailman and is getting a certificate in health policy. Isabel is currently an intern in the Child Health Policy Department at CDF’s National Office in Washington, D.C. Through her studies and work at CDF, Isabel hopes to combine her interest in health policy and health disparities related to social factors in order to ensure better access to health insurance and health care for children and their families across the country.
  • Jasmine Payne
    Jasmine Payne is a senior at Spelman College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Her passion for social justice advocacy was realized while participating in a Thirty Hour Famine program with the youth ministry at her home church. Throughout her journey in school, she has continued her advocacy journey with the Social Justice Fellows Program and the Student Government Association at Spelman. The experiences of these organizations coupled with life experiences have inspired her to continue to strive for the advancement of civility and have become the inspiration of her honor’s thesis regarding the relationship between college funding and fulfillment of educational and life pursuits. Jasmine had the pleasure of joining the CDF Family as a Research Policy Intern at the Washington D.C. national office. Endeavoring to advocate for poverty relief through education, she strongly believes that “we are the ones that we have been waiting for.”
  • Keely Smith
    Keely Smith, from Tallahassee, Florida, is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education at Florida State University. Upon graduating in May of 2015 she hopes to work as a high school teacher for students with high-incidence disabilities. She has worked both in and out of the classroom with students of all ages and has found a true passion in teaching. Besides working in the classroom with students, Keely has also worked as both a counselor and administrator at a number of faith-based camps & events, co-founded a summer reading program and conducted educational research through the Florida Center for Reading Research. All of these experiences led her to become interested in Children’s Defense Fund and their advocacy work for underrepresented children. She is honored to be working as an intern this summer with such an all-encompassing program as Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools®.
  • Lina Zhang
    Lina Zhang, she is from China, moved to United States for perusing master degree in Tiffin University, Ohio. She came United States for one and half year, she really like here. She thinks the people in United States are very nice and friendly. Her major is Human Resource Management; she is as an intern in Human Resource Department. She is so glad and honor to internship in Children Defense Organization, one of the main reasons is the internship related to her major. In Human Resource Department in CDF, she has a platform to gain more professional knowledge about HR. Another reason is she really like kids, she want to get involved to be a part of member in CDF to help more young children by attending different activities if get chance.
  • Marcella Jimenez
    Marcella Jimenez grew up in Dallas, TX and is currently a rising junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. She is pursuing a major in Psychology and a minor in Education. Marcella is interested in how the intersections of race, gender, and class influence identity, particularly in the adolescence. This interest led Marcella to become the co-leader of Fostering Female Leadership in Youth (FFLY), a mentorship group that works with Middle School girls in Bath, ME. In addition to FFLY, Marcella is also a member of the Peer Health team and an advocate with V-Day, a group committed to ending violence against women. Last summer, Marcella worked with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County (CACCC) as a Community Resource Caseworker. She assisted children and families who were survivors of abuse and neglect. While the resilience and hope of her clients was inspiring, Marcella was disheartened by the shortcomings of government policy that failed to help her clients adequately. In search of an advocacy organization that champions policies that benefit children, Marcella found the Children’s Defense Fund. She is a summer intern for the Education Policy team and her work this summer is funded by the Strong/Gault Social Advancement Grant.
  • Melanie Stern
    Melanie Stern, originally from Bethesda, MD, is a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in Urban Studies and minoring in Architecture and Spanish. Throughout her time at Wash U, Melanie has worked passionately to serve youth, particularly those most vulnerable. She helped form and is now president of her university’s student group, City Faces at Wash U, which works with youth living in the St. Louis Clinton Peabody Housing Projects through mentoring, tutoring, and other programming in order to provide them with a healthy, safe, and friendly environment to grow. Melanie recently returned from studying abroad in Argentina where she worked with youth living in Buenos Aires Villas, helping to teach music and English classes. Melanie hopes to continue to learn from the students with whom she has had the honor of working as well as continue to fight for the well-being of all children, no matter where they reside. Melanie is a Communications Intern at CDF’s national office in Washington D.C.
  • Michelle Wexler
    Michelle Wexler is overjoyed to be serving as a Child Welfare and Mental Health Intern at the Children’s Defense Fund National Office. Michelle Wexler is senior at Brandeis and hails from Westchester, New York. She is double majoring in American Studies and a self-designed major entitled Social Justice, Social Change. Michelle is pursuing a career in child welfare as she feels strongly that every child deserves a safe and loving home. At Brandeis, Michelle is the coordinator for Brandeis Buddies, a group that aims to bridge the gap between Brandeis students and adults with developmental disabilities. She is the current Undergraduate Departmental Representative for Independent Interdisciplinary Major and has served three years as an Orientation leader for the incoming Brandeis first-years. Michelle also enjoys performing with her sketch comedy troupe Boris’ Kitchen.
  • Rachel Kraun
    Originally from Trenton, New Jersey, Rachel Kraun received her Bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied poverty’s influence on children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Rachel broadened her passion for children’s issues during the several years she spent creating and directing children’s educational and enrichment programs for underserved communities in Yonkers, New York. In the fall, Rachel plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work and Nonprofit Management at Rutgers University. Rachel is delighted to be interning with the Beat the Odds program this summer, and hopes to enhance her knowledge of youth programming throughout her summer in Washington.
  • Selina Schirmer
    Selina Schirmer, a native of Rochester, New York, is a rising senior at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. As part of the University Fellows Honors program, she is pursuing a self-designed course of study in the areas of accounting, finance, and political science. Selina is a member of Samford’s Division I varsity volleyball team, and on the executive committee of the university’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, helping to bridge the gap between student-athletes and university administrators, as well as seeking out service opportunities for the athletes to participate in. Selina became interested in the mission of Children’s Defense Fund after spending last summer as a mentor for a summer financial literacy and college preparedness program for Birmingham City School District students, and was excited for the opportunity to merge her passion for children and education, in particular, with her interest in the financial workings of non-profit organizations. Selina is an intern with the Finance Department at Children’s Defense Fund’s National Office in Washington, D.C.
  • Tiffany Ashton
    Tiffany Ashton is a rising 1L at the University of Baltimore Law School. She is from Clinton, Maryland. Having worked with children for nearly a decade, Tiffany’s passion for children has prompted her to pursue a career as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). Tiffany is a policy intern in the Juvenile Justice Department at CDF in the National Office in DC, where she is focused on advocating for children in the juvenile justice system and learning how policy shapes decisions that ultimately affect the children she one day hopes to represent. Tiffany is grateful for the opportunity that she has had to work at CDF and work on important issues that directly affect millions of children.
  • Ulrike Salifou
    Ulrike Salifou, originally from Germany, is a graduate student at the University of Virginia and lives with her husband in Charlottesville, Virginia. She anticipates graduating in 2016 with a Master in Public Policy and a second Master in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy, Law and Ethics. Before attending graduate school Ulrike earned her Associate Degree in General Studies and Bachelor Degree in Psychology. Ulrike loves working with children and is very passionate about changing their lives for the better. Throughout high school she worked as a tutor and during college she volunteered as a group leader for the Lab School of Washington’s summer program. Ulrike worked as a Toddler and Preschool Teacher for two years before deciding to go back to school to pursue her graduate degrees. Ulrike is currently a Policy Research Intern at CDF’s National Office in Washington, DC. She is excited to learn about the different aspects of child advocacy and how policies can be used to improve the lives of our nation’s children.
  • Zoe Jackson
    Zoe Jackson, originally from Nashville TN, is a rising junior at Spelman College majoring in Psychology with a minor in Educational Studies. Zoe is extremely passionate about early childhood education and has worked with other nonprofit organizations such as Jumpstart, and has been committed to serving in various churches, schools, and childcare centers. Following graduation in 2016, she plans to enter the education field and become an advocate for quality education for every child regardless of their zip code and parent’s socioeconomic status. Zoe is so honored and blessed to intern with the Children’s Defense Fund under the Beat the Odds Program, and will use this opportunity to learn, grow, and make a greater impact on our youth.