Finding My Path in Washington DC
Keegan Beamish, double major in Communications and Women & Gender Studies, completed an internship with the National Organization for Women (NOW) working directly as a Presidential Intern.
Student Blog - Keegan Beamish
During the Fall semester of 2023, I completed an internship in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters of the National Organization for Women (NOW), where I served as a Presidential Intern, working closely with NOW President Christian F. Nunes. Established in 1966 by prominent figures such as Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Muriel Fox, Reverend Pauli Murray, and more than twenty other women, NOW initially focused on addressing sex discrimination and advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA, originally presented to Congress in 1923, has consistently been reintroduced in every session since 1982. NOW comprises five hundred and fifty chapters that extend across the fifty United States.
My daily responsibilities in this role encompassed crafting memos on news headlines pertinent to NOW’s six core issues: reproductive rights and justice, economic justice, ending violence against women, racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and constitutional equality. Beyond this, I actively contributed to planning NOW rallies and various events. My duties also extended to undertaking tasks in marketing and graphic design, conducting research for candidate endorsements, and playing a pivotal role in enhancing the operational efficiency of the Campus Action Network, which encompasses collegiate-level chapters of NOW.
Most notably among my assigned tasks, I had the privilege of attending significant feminist events. The first notable occasion was the celebration of Ms. Magazine’s 50th year of publication, a feminist-centric magazine founded by Gloria Steinem in the early 1970s. This event featured some of the most influential feminists in the United States, including House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Lois Frankel, Association of American University Women President Gloria Blackwell, National Women’s Studies Association President Kaye Wise Whitehead, Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine Katherine Spillar, and, of course, our very own NOW President, Christian F. Nunes.
The second noteworthy event I attended, representing NOW, was the International Day of the Girl at the United States State Department. This event delved into the state of young girls globally and featured panels with prominent women such as Former Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer who serves as the current United States Special Envoy for Global Youth Issues, and Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, the first woman of color to hold the position of Ambassador-at-Large for the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. During the day, I had the opportunity to spend time with Tambria Schroeder, an alum of both SUNY Brockport and the SUNY Washington Internship Program, who currently works at the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the State Department.
The final noteworthy event I attended was the Her Power Summit, hosted by Foreign Policy Magazine, which aimed to celebrate women’s progress globally. During this summit, I had the chance to meet inspiring women who dedicate themselves to serving others worldwide, such as Ann Warner, interim CEO of the International Center for Research on Women. Notably, she founded the largest statewide grassroots women’s rights network in South Carolina – the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network.
My time at the National Organization for Women was devoted to nurturing my role within the feminist activist sphere and gaining insights into the management of a diverse organization dedicated to serving women, political action, and disseminating accurate, vital information. At NOW, I benefited from conscious mentorship provided by Christian, which centered on the importance of creating space not only for myself but also for others in a world where our voices are still striving to be heard. Additionally, I am pleased to announce the publication of two of my research articles, titled “Why Christian Nationalism is a Feminist Issue” and “Pews to Politics: How American Christian Antiabortionists Have Influenced Abortion and Reproductive Care in the United States” by the National Organization for Women.
With great enthusiasm, I carry the valuable experiences gained during this internship forward, eagerly anticipating the opportunities that the future holds. Following my study abroad program in Granada, Spain, during the upcoming Spring 2024 semester—my final college term—I plan to return to Washington, D.C., to launch a career in the feminist field.