Kelly Biggs ’11 recently got the opportunity to fulfill her dream of working for a women’s advocacy group when she was hired as a special events intern by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America, a national organization advocating for and providing comprehensive information on reproductive rights in the U.S.
“I had been interested in working for a women’s advocacy group since I began to consider post-grad careers, and women’s reproductive health is something that I have always been passionate about and that has been built upon through my studies in sociology, women’s studies, and political science at HWS,” says Biggs.
As an intern with NARAL, Biggs engages with more than 5,000 sponsors, maintains records regarding sponsors, donations and guests; prepares briefing materials, and serves as a primary point of contact for congressional members, vendors, donors and volunteers.
Prior to getting the position with NARAL, Biggs worked at the office of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) in Washington, D.C. “As an intern in a congressional office, you are responsible for a lot of the behind the scenes functions of the office,” comments Biggs. “It was a great opportunity for a firsthand look at our government. Moreover, I loved working for a representative who was passionate about upstate New York and women’s issues.”
She credits her previous positions with the William Smith Dean’s Office and the Office of Institutional Advancement for providing her with useful experience in administration organization and development that made her an ideal candidate for the NARAL internship. She also attributes her sustained interest in women’s issues and advocacy to the education and encouragement she received while at the Colleges.
“My courses of study definitely encouraged my interest in women’s issues while my experience in development at Alumni House gave me a great starting point to my interest in fundraising and advocacy,” says Biggs.
She noted Professor of Religious Studies Susan Henking helped to foster her interest in women’s studies, while her sociology adviser Jack Harris and Associate Professor Rene Monson taught her that gender issues are sociological issues. Political Science Professor Iva Deutchman’s class on sex and power helped focus her interest in women’s reproductive health and culture.
Biggs also appreciates the opportunity to attend the Public Leadership Education Network’s (PLEN) Women, Law and Public Policy Conference. “Prior to attending the PLEN conference, I had never been to Washington, D.C., but I knew as soon as I arrived that it was where I wanted to be after graduation,” explains Biggs. “The city was so manageable, and it seemed like everyone was so energized and motivated to be in the nation’s capital, and by what they were doing there. While it was great to attend a conference that was about women helping other women build careers, the PLEN conference also taught me that there is no right path for someone interested in a career in D.C.”
A sociology major with a double minor in women’s studies and political science, Biggs served as the group manager of Three Miles Lost, the captain of William Smith club ice hockey, a member of Women’s Collective and a volunteer at the Geneva Community Lunch program.
In the photo above, Kelly Biggs ’11, attending this year’s Day on the Hill event, met with international relations major Elizabeth Seidel ’13 and Jeffrey Werner ’91, who works for Daimler Chrysler in Washington, D.C.