Molly Stoneman was a Undergraduate Public Service Scholar in 2014 when she interned for the United States Access Board, the main disability policy office under the Department of Justice.
Where are you from?
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I graduated from Princeton University in June 2016, where I studied in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (focusing on international issues of gender, elections, and media) and minored in American Studies. I also loved studying abroad in Northern Ireland during my junior year, focusing on international politics, philosophy, and governance.
What was the best part of your internship?
Working in the government’s primary disability policy office showed me how issues of accessibility touch on almost every other policy area. It is common to think of “disability policy” as a segmented issue, but the experience taught me that disability issues should be considered in every other policy discussion. I learned there are many easy and cost-effective ways to integrate accessible design into everyday life, and the government could be doing a better job of proving that accessible design is profitable in the public and private sectors. (For example, when Netflix required all of their streaming content to have closed-captioning, they gained many new hearing-impaired customers!) Because of this internship, I realized the interconnectedness of policy issues and felt re-dedicated to a life of public service.
What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
Volunteer for every opportunity, event, and project you can at your internship, even if it is out of your comfort zone! As an intern, no one will judge if you do not do something perfectly the first time. And if you do mess up, good news! You get to leave at the end of the summer. We only have a few professional chances where it is acceptable to try and fail without serious repercussions, and I wish I had taken advantage of that more during my internships!
What are you doing now?
I am a federal business analyst at Deloitte Consulting, where I am learning how to combine my passion for politics and government with the latest strategies and innovations from the private sector. In my free time, I like to explore D.C.’s many museums and coffee shops, find new service opportunities, attend local lectures on gender and politics, and try cooking new recipes.
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
I hope to have earned an MPA and be working on social impact projects, either at a nonprofit, think tank, or government office.
What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, one of the most stunningly unsettling and meaningful books I have read in a while; It’s a dark comedy about dealing with 9/11. I would also recommend anything by Malcolm Gladwell, A.J. Jacobs, Roxane Gay, Richard Thaler, and the autobiographies of Sonia Sotomayor, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling.
Tell us a fun fact!
Seth Rogan favorited one of my tweets!