Maria Fernanda Estrada ’23

Genetic Alliance, Washington, DC

Genetic Alliance has advocated for health benefits in genomic research since 2003. Additionally, they have been leaders in genetic research by promoting healthcare policies and providing infrastructure to disease-specific advocacy organizations. During my time with Genetic Alliance, I was able to partake in major domestic and international transformational efforts and lead projects by first assessing need and later informing, developing, implementing, and measuring the engagement of stakeholders who continue to support an increase in knowledge and impact. In my capacity, I had the opportunity to engage in literature searches and landscape analyses to inform the development of tools, services, and resources to enable authentic collaboration with people and communities. In my specific project, I worked with stakeholders directly, consulting on their business platforms and how they can be improved. Another meaningful project I was able to contribute to was the entire LunaDNA website translation. LunaDNA is one of Genetic Alliance’s most trusted partners and the organization recently decided to expand its consumer base, so I translated multimedia content of the website ( in order to make public health more accessible to people from all backgrounds. This was my first time exploring the public health industry and its intersection with education and business. During the past year, my mother has been suffering from multiple autoimmune deficiencies and unfortunately, has no health insurance. I have witnessed the effects of a lack of accessible healthcare and as a result, understand its utmost importance. This internship gave me a new lens from which to understand public policy and political economy (my major). Because of this internship, I would like to conduct research and utilize client relationships to grasp the effects of public health and advocacy on policies. In addition to exploring my intellectual interests, this internship allowed me to advance my career objectives by partaking in client relations and closely listening to distinct business platforms and analyzing their success rate through different methods. Additionally, it exposed me to the non-profit sector and its intersection with economics. This internship heightened my awareness of community issues, motivated me to create opportunities, embrace new ideas, and give direction to positive change. Through this work experience, I assessed my interests and abilities in public health and business fields, while receiving valuable information in making decisions about the direction of future studies or employment. I have applied my knowledge and skills to a work environment, acquired new learning through challenging tasks and meaningful activities, and developed strong networking/mentoring relationships.

I would like to thank everyone at the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Class of 1966 for allowing me to be a part of such an incredible community. I am forever grateful for having an empowering and insightful team to lead me on my first college internship journey. Without this remote opportunity, I am not sure how I personally would have coped with the effects on Covid-19 in all areas of my life. My internship gave me a chance to focus my energy on issues that have been alive for generations.