At the beginning of the week I arrived in the beautiful yet freezing Midland, Michigan. After the Australian summer some climate adjustment has been required. Climate adjustment primarily consisting of playing in the snow. However the snow is not the reason I have come to Midland, I am interning at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
The Mackinac Center is an education and research institute, focused on improving the lives of Michigan residents through promoting solutions to policy questions. My contribution to this effort is taking place as intern for the Mackinac Center’s VoteSpotter team.
VoteSpotter is an app that allows its users to submit their opinions on both past and future policies that their officials are responsible to vote for. This system allows the public to interact directly with issues and subsequently allows the officials to see how the public has responded with their decisions.
Following the U.S. elections late last year the app required updating to show the new senators and representatives of both congress and the 14 states the VoteSpotter team is currently focusing on. That is where I come in, my task being to update the profiles of the new officials and ensure those re-elected are found in the correct place.
Outside the Mackinac Center I am spending my time with the wonderful family who have agreed to host me for the next 5 weeks. They have been very welcoming and I have been tagging along to their afternoon activities (they are a very active family). One such activity being sledding!
Although sledding is a family friendly sport, those hills look much higher from the top. However, after seeing my host family conquer the hill, including their two and four year old children as well as the family dog, I thought I should get on with it. It was definitely the right decision! I had the best time and will be endeavouring to get back to the hill as soon as possible.