Chelsea Zhang ’24

Massachusetts State House, Office of Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Boston, MA

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning with the Massachusetts House of Representatives at the Office of Tricia Farley-Bouvier. Representative Farley-Bouvier represents the 3rd Berkshire District and in the 2021-2022 legislative session, she sponsored a number of bills in areas ranging from child welfare to transportation.

Working on a testimony letter.

One of my primary responsibilities was to help write legislative testimony on bills that Representative Farley-Bouvier had sponsored or co-sponsored. As I soon learned, writing legislative testimony involves a great deal of research in order to understand the issues that a proposed bill hopes to address. For instance, I discovered that a bill to provide free menstrual products in public schools, homeless shelters, and jails had been proposed and was going to be heard by the Joint Committee on Public Health. I remembered how new dispensers providing free menstrual products had popped up in the New York City public high school I had attended, but I had never questioned how the dispensers came to be installed. I then came to realize and appreciate how governments can truly impact the lives of individuals. Later, when the bill was heard, I watched as many high school students testified with passionate speeches about period poverty and the necessity of accessible menstrual products.

Over the course of my internship, I continued to not only research and write about issues that were affecting Massachusetts residents, but to also be inspired by the many different organizations and individuals who were advocating to solve those issues. From high schoolers to social workers to directors of nonprofit organizations, it was incredibly inspiring to learn and hear from so many people who work and advocate tirelessly for the causes they care about, such as reproductive justice or child marriage in the U.S.

I really appreciated being able to do work that I found meaningful—such as creating a graphic to help spread awareness about a law increasing access to birth control. My direct supervisors and many other people in the Legislature were dedicated to creating a fulfilling experience for the interns, including the Intern Seminar Series where we heard from speakers such as the House Republican Leader, the Chair of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, and the Executive Vice President of External Relations for Fenway Health. They spoke about their work and career paths, and gave advice for starting out on our own journeys.

As a rising sophomore, this internship was the perfect opportunity to hear from so many diverse individuals and learn about so many different careers and fields. I hope to pursue more internships in the nonprofit or social services industry, or in the field of government service, especially as they allow me to help others. I also plan to take courses in Sociology; Public Health; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies so I can be better equipped to advocate for others.

Thank you so much to the Estate of George Mead and to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for facilitating this amazing opportunity to intern with Representative Farley-Bouvier!