Blog: Intern Introspective

Capitol rooftoop

Hello! My name is Karina Piu, and I am one of the two Policy and Government Affairs interns working with HFA this summer in Washington, D.C. I just graduated this May from San Diego State University with a bachelor of arts in political science and a minor in sociology.

While I myself do not have a bleeding disorder, my younger brother is diagnosed with a rare bleeding disorder called Protein C Deficiency, and his diagnosis and our family’s experiences have spurred my involvement and advocacy within the bleeding disorder community. I have attended the Future Leaders advocacy program in California in my teens, and have also attended National Hemophilia Foundation’s Washington Days multiple times. In addition, I am currently volunteering as an Advocacy and Access Ambassador with the Hemophilia Council of California, where I successfully advocated for a proclamation to be created announcing March 2023 as Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month in the city of San Diego.

I hope to one day work within the policymaking process, either within the government or with a nonprofit organization, ideally within the realm of health policy. I intend to return to school in a few years to obtain my masters in either public policy or public health.

When I am not advocating or working within the bleeding disorder community, I can usually be found at any of the beaches in San Diego with a good book or spending quality time with my loved ones. I also love to dance, and enjoy learning and experimenting with new cooking recipes. As I am spending the summer in D.C., I am also enjoying exploring local coffee shops and restaurants in the area.

Hi! My name is Noemy E. Diaz-Burgos (she/her/hers) and I am excited to be one of HFA’s Policy and Government Affairs interns this summer. I am coming into the program as graduate student at Florida International University where I also completed my bachelor of arts in English Literature along with a certificate in pre-law and professional values. 

In fall 2022, I began my masters of arts in Literature at FIU where I am researching my thesis on female Puerto Rican authors and working as an English graduate teaching assistant. Additionally, I am currently completing the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Public Policy Certificate Program.

Prior to this my HFA internship, I was interning in Congress with Representative Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon who also co-sponsored H.R. 830, a bill on co-pay accumulator adjusters that affects our bleeding disorder community. In the past, I have attended Washington Days and advocated for legislation affecting our community at the state & local level back home in Florida. Originally, my involvement in the bleeding disorder community came from my older brother, who was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A at the age of 2. Fast forward to less than 6 months ago, I was diagnosed with a factor 8 deficiency myself. This shift from “sibling-of” to “bleeder” empowered me to get even more involved with the bleeding disorder communities and make the most of my diagnosis.

During my internship at HFA, I hope to combine my previous experiences in government internships and as a grassroot organizer to advance the bleeding disorder community and their interests effectively and ethically. I am excited to make the most of my time in D.C. by facilitating discussions with stakeholders and policymakers along with educating both the general public and members of the bleeding disorder community about legislation that impacts them. Also, I hope to raise awareness about women living with bleeding disorders and battle the stigma that hemophilia is a male disease.

Following the internship, I will be returning to FIU to finish my M.A, before graduating in Spring 2024. After graduation, I plan to pursue a job in the government/public policy or non-profit realm as I am passionate about public service and enjoy advocating for others. Outside of work, I love all things relative to nature, literature, or art. In my free time, I like to visit museums, paint, or do outdoor activities like yoga or kayaking/paddleboarding as I am very much a proud Florida woman. During my free time in D.C., I can be found at a coffee shop/bookstore or at the Library of Congress getting lost in literature.