Jul 242014

Alia Degen checks out the neighbor's house while interning in Washington D.C. this summer

Alia Degen checks out the neighbor’s house while interning in Washington D.C. this summer

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2014 — Alia Degen’s passion for Judaism, social justice, and advocacy brought her to Washington, D.C. this summer for the Machon Kaplan program at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Machon Kaplan is a summer study-internship program that engages students on critical social justice issues from both an academic and practical viewpoint. Program participants like Degen, intern at a public policy organization, such as The Interfaith Alliance, the NAACP, Citizens for Global Solutions, or the AFL-CIO. They see firsthand how groups pursue legislative advocacy, how policy is crafted, and how interns can harness their own energy to make social change.

While in Washington D.C., Degen is working with ­Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. Its goal is to promote fair trade agreements across the world.

“We worked to notify the public, sometimes with help from members of Cngress, to bring to light the issues regarding fast track legislation and the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Degen wrote in an email.

“Machon Kaplan has given me all of the opportunities to explore stances on topics and gives me the resources for me to succeed with this setting,” she said.

Degen is a graduate of Groton-Dunstable Regional High School and a sophomore studying global studies at the University of Vermont.

Most participants also live together to form a residential community and participate in weekly programs that include exploring the city’s monuments and museums and studying various Jewish texts that connect to the contemporary policy issues that they are advocating at their internships.

To learn more about the Machon Kaplan Summer Social Action Internship program, visit http://rac.org/mk.