How Emily Rocks her Bicycle Advocacy Internship

Our Bicycle Advocacy intern, Emily, has been all over town this summer representing us at community meetings, working alongside our Policy team for our win with Caltrain and doing behind-the-scenes research to strengthen our advocacy work. We took a minute to catch up with Emily and learn more about why she commutes an hour (each way!) from San Jose to intern with us:

What first motivated you to apply for this internship?
I grew up on the East Coast and had just finished my first year of grad school when I found out about the internship opening. After five years of biking in Washington, D.C., I decided to go back to school for urban planning and my applications essentially included a longer version of the SF Bicycle Coalition’s mission statement. I want to play a role in making cities great places to live and I think great streets – ones that make biking a true option for everyday mobility – are the foundation of truly livable communities.

What kinds of projects are you working on during your time here?
I’ve spent a lot of time researching everything from speed limit laws to bicycle parking design as they relate to a variety of advocacy projects. My schedule is somewhat dictated by the status of projects in San Francisco, and I have had the opportunity to attend relevant meetings at both the City agency level and the local community and advisory committee level.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far through your internship?
I can’t begin to explain how much I have learned about San Francisco, the Bay Area and what it takes to be a successful advocate in a relatively short period of time. This internship has been an incredible opportunity to see the development of the projects that will eventually be a reality on city streets. No two projects are the same, and there are a number of (sometimes unpredictable) factors that may complicate the outcome. I have had to learn as I go, trying to absorb as much information about relatively unfamiliar areas as projects evolve. It gives me an opportunity to test myself every day.

What has been your favorite intern moment?
One of the most interesting days so far involved meeting with an SF Bicycle Coalition member after a bad collision. Despite the circumstances, her experience was a catalyzing moment to coordinate thoughts on bike infrastructure and find common goals for improving the street experience and for preventing similar incidents in the future. It was also a chance to take a closer look at projects and commitments street by street.

What do you do when you’re not donating your time to the SF Bicycle Coalition?
I probably spend most of my time watching and playing soccer. The rest of my week is spent interning with the San Jose Department of Transportation and exploring the Bay Area. I try to get in at least one long bike ride a week – always in a new direction – and am constantly looking for good places to hike.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about interning here?
Go for it! You absolutely won’t regret getting involved. The organization is doing work that affects your life, no matter how you get around in the city.

Want to intern like Emily? Applications are now open for our fall internships. We’re accepting applicants through August 14, 2015, and will be reviewing them on a rolling basis. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the bicycle action – apply today!

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