Blog: Intern Introspective #7

Capitol rooftoop

It feels incredibly surreal to think about the fact that this is my final week at HFA this summer, and that in less than a week I will no longer be exploring D.C. and will instead be back home in San Diego. The past ten weeks here in Washington, D.C. with HFA have been an absolute whirlwind in the best way possible.

When I first arrived here, I was eager to learn, but was very shy and worried that I would be way too lost and would flounder in this position. However, I instead quickly realized my place with the incredible support shown by all the staff here at HFA. I was encouraged to ask any questions I may have and to be involved in projects that fell outside of my realm of work. This has allowed me so many wonderful opportunities to learn and expand my knowledge beyond the limited scope that I used to believe I had to restrict myself to. I was encouraged to explore topics of interest to me, and to take the lead on some projects that I had thought I was too inexperienced to do. Being able to put myself out there and make those decisions was an incredible opportunity that bolstered my confidence immensely and allowed me to realize my abilities.

One of the best experiences we got the pleasure to experience as interns was the Young Adult Advocacy Summit (YAAS), a three-day event where we met numerous young adults connected to the bleeding disorders community across the country. There were many listening sessions that provided us with amazing information regarding how to navigate the insurance realm, mental health as a young adult, and so much more. In addition, Noemy and I were given the opportunity to give a thirty minute long presentation on a topic of our choice. I decided to speak about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within our community, as it is a topic near and dear to my heart. Being able to present to my peers about DEI and the importance of inclusion within our advocacy in our community was an amazing opportunity to showcase my knowledge and passion.

While YAAS was definitely a defining moment during the internship, I was able to learn so much through being involved in meetings, attending Hill days with legislators, and doing my own research on numerous topics that are relevant to our community. I know that I will continue to learn more as a continue out on my own path, but I will always bring my passion for the bleeding disorders community with me wherever I go. The priorities of our community remain of extreme interest to me, and whether in a professional or casual setting, I now have an incredible amount of knowledge and a better skillset that I can utilize in order to continue to advocate on our behalf. My time at HFA has only spurred my passion for our community, and I will carry that with me in all aspects of my life and my future.

Karina Piu, 2023 Summer Intern