The University of Texas at Austin
  • Discovering a passion for advocacy

    By Jessica Sinn
    Jessica Sinn
    Published: June 10, 2010
    Discovering
    Anna Lena Russo is a Liberal Arts Honors/government major.

    After taking a course on women’s reproductive health, Anna Russo, a Liberal Arts Honors/government major, became interested in bridging the sex education gap in public schools, but she wasn’t sure which career path to take.

    It wasn’t until she served as a public education intern for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York in 2008 that she discovered her interests in public policy.

    “Internships allow students to learn that through their degree they have developed strong skills valued in the workplace, such as analysis, communication, creativity and flexibility,” said Kate Brooks, director of Liberal Arts Career Services. “They can learn how to use what they’ve learned and connect the dots between their education and their potential career.”

    Russo spent her summer promoting the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, a program that works to protect access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care without government interference. Focusing on public outreach, Russo worked on blogs, press releases and social media projects. As the summer progressed, Russo said she grew fascinated with the organization and its mission.

    Today she is interning for ACLU Texas, where she is continuing her advocacy for contraceptive rights and sex education reform.

    “It just baffles me how people can go through college without interning,” Russo said. “Eventually you’re going to have a career, don’t you want to test the waters to find out what you like and what you don’t like? Don’t you want to learn from people who have already been there?”

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