Inside CDF-Texas: An Intern’s Experience (Pt 2)

February 6, 2019 | Texas

Julia O’Hanlon interned at CDF-Texas in Summer and Fall 2018. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2018 and is now doing a post-graduate internship at the Brookings Institute. She had this to say about her time on staff.


remember finding out that I was going to get the opportunity to be an intern with the Children’s Defense Fund of Texas. As someone who is passionate about service, policy, and aiding the lives of children, I was incredibly excited at the chance to work with this organization I had followed for so long. Working at CDF-TX absolutely lived up to expectations and beyond. Through the program I gained mentors, learned about the policy areas of health care and civic rights more deeply, and had the opportunity to directly advocate for the lives of the most vulnerable Texans.

Through my internship I was able to combine my love for communication with advocacy. I loved the fast-paced nature of the work, and the fact that I was able to switch from health care to immigration to education policy in the matter of hours. Not only was I able to learn important skills and tools that I continue to carry with me, I was able to explore the intersection of these policy areas and truly make a difference in Texas. From assisting young people in coordinating rallies to drafting up policy memos for staffers in the Texas Legislature on various issues, CDF-TX provided me to get my hands dirty as a real advocate.

Because of my time at CDF-TX I feel that I am a more equipped advocate and ally, and I have a much better idea of what my next steps are to continue advancing progress. I think during my time at CDF-TX I did not fully appreciate the space that the staff created for everyone that walks inside. They taught me that advocacy and policy are labors of love – emphasis on the love. Our drive comes from passion for the communities we serve and a desire for a better Texas for our children and our neighbor’s children.

Julia O’Hanlon
Summer/Fall 2018 Intern, CDF-Texas Austin office