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Welcome to NAMI Iowa’s 2020 Summer Interns

Emily Nelson


My name is Emily Nelson (she/her), and I’m working with NAMI Iowa this summer as their Communication and Events Intern. Although I’m originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I’m a rising junior here in Des Moines at Drake University where I’m majoring in both Public Relations and Strategic Political Communications with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies.

During my time at Drake, you can find me singing in the Drake Choir, working on my sorority’s chapter council, or editing our political newsmagazine, Drake Political Review. I also spend some of my time being a HIRO (Health, Inclusion, and Relationship Officer), where I lead various programs with my peers about health, safety, equity, and inclusion. My favorite thing to do when I’m not in class is to go out to eat with my friends and family or try my hand at cooking new recipes!

I’m especially excited to work with NAMI Iowa this summer because mental health is something that impacts almost everyone – whether personally or throughout their relationships with others. Advocacy work is something I’ve always loved doing, and I’m eager to spread more awareness and education about mental health and help plan NAMI Walks this summer!

Brittany Freeman

Hey there!

My name is Brittany Freeman, and I will be a senior at Drake University in the fall. I am studying Law, Politics, and Society, Sociology, and Spanish which keeps me just about as busy as you might think. Want to know the good news though? My academic study areas are exactly what I am passionate about, and they lead me to working closely with the Des Moines community and amazing organizations like NAMI.

In life, I truly believe that people are not people without other people. We must strive to recognize and celebrate each human as unique and important. This has led me to actively seek out and develop community in my work on and off campus. In addition to working with our Community Engaged Learning Office at Drake, I have also had the pleasure of engaging with various non-profits in Des Moines such as Community Youth Concepts and Anawim Housing. On campus, I raise awareness for Food Insecurity through Next Course Food Recovery Network, educate my peers on bystander intervention through Mentors in Violence Prevention, and advocate for mental health resources on campus through Active Minds.

Through these organizations, I have come to believe that education is the basis of understanding. It is the foundation of creating unity and safety and cultivating a community where we may all progress together. This is exactly why I am excited for this summer at NAMI and the opportunity to work with the Ending the Silence program. It is time that we work together to end the stigma and ensure that mental health resources are readily available to all who need it.

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