Our intern, Kaitlyn Cochran, is moving on to great things! We conducted an exit interview with her to share her experience with us and to celebrate her journey forward.
Tell us a bit about your internship (for school credit, policy and/or policy, how long)
My internship with Circulate San Diego has been nothing short of awesome. I interned for 10 weeks during the summer, and worked under the policy side of the organization.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
I have a few things that come to mind when thinking about my favorite part of the internship. For one, although the internship was remote due to COVID-19, I still felt as though I was part of the team for the summer, and I love that the organization met on Zoom throughout the week to check-in. Without physically being in the office, I still felt “in the know” with the happenings of Circulate in both the policy and planning side, and I loved getting to know what everyone else was working on. There definitely is a communicative and supportive dynamic going on here.
It was especially great working with and communicating regularly with Maya, who oversaw my work. It was so helpful to have regular, set-aside time for checking in. Through the weekly check-ins, Maya was able to really help guide me in both my general understanding of Circulate’s goals for projects and also provide a lot of direction and assistance in the writing component of the projects.
In terms of the work, I loved how I was given such a wide variety of projects to work on throughout the summer. I loved that I could review development projects and write a letter of support for them one day, to calling in to a City Council meeting about supporting Mobility Team the next day, to researching Mayoral dynamics in cities throughout California the next day. The variety of work always made the days interesting and fun.
What did you learn from the internship?
So much! To be honest, almost everything I learned this summer was new information to me. I began my internship really interested in housing and zoning law, but with no experience outside of classroom discussions. I felt that during the summer I was able to really engage with this area of law in California, and it was especially impactful as everything I was learning was in real-time—impacting San Diego now, rather than discussing something in the past. I also learned a lot about equitable transit policies, reading/deciphering a city budget, density bonus laws, city planning initiatives, Circulate’s Mobility Certification, safe streets initiatives, and endless other topics that were all wildly interesting to me.
Everyone at Circulate was so willing to explain what they were working on, or projects that happened or will happen soon at the organization. Even if a project I wasn’t a part of was being discussed during a meeting, Colin would always take a moment to catch me and Lindsey, the other legal intern, up to speed so that we could understand the bigger picture happenings at the organization.
What are you doing next, and what are your career goals?
I will be starting my third year of law school after this internship, and if all goes well I will be graduating next spring! I plan to keep my focus in the public interest side of law and hope to work in the realm of legal advocacy in some capacity. I have really enjoyed working on the policy side, which has been so different than anything else I have done while in law school, so having this internship has definitely broadened my perspective of what kind of legal career could be possible for me.