My name is Sophia Schilling, and I am a rising senior at the University of Iowa majoring in communications with a minor in nonprofit management. This summer, I was lucky enough to have been matched with the Reproductive Health Access Project through the 2015 Reproductive Rights Activists Service Corps (RRASC) summer internship program.
The RRASC program matches passionate undergraduate students from around the country with organizations that do work in reproductive and social justice platforms. This year, RRASC received over 1,000 applications from 350 campuses, and I feel very fortunate to have been one of the 40 who were accepted and placed.
My time at the Reproductive Health Access Project has been an eye opening experience that I will take with me for the rest of my career in this field. I have been able to spend time in the RHAP office as well as be trained as an abortion doula, which has allowed me to have the unique experience of seeing the full spectrum of the work that RHAP does and why it is so important. Working with this organization has given me the opportunity to learn how a small nonprofit functions on a day-to-day basis, and experience the struggle that often comes with organizations affiliated with reproductive health care. Perhaps the most rewarding part of this experience came from getting to see the work we do at RHAP directly impact doctors and patients in the clinic. For example, I had a hand in creating and improving our patient education materials and then was able to see those very materials used in a real-life clinical setting. Seeing the way that RHAP’s work improves the lives of patients and doctors made an already great job even better, and made me realize how important organizations like this one are in the fight for safe, accessible, and affordable reproductive health care for all.
Having strong female role models during my upbringing was what first piqued my interest in reproductive justice, but working with the wonderful team at RHAP and seeing the way that patients, doctors, and advocates educate others and overcome adversity first-hand has firmly cemented my passion and desire to continue working in this field and ensure women everywhere have the rights that they are entitled to.