Meet Our Summer 2022 Interns: Leigh & Olivia

Olivia and Leigh

The Sycamore Institute was lucky enough to have three excellent interns this summer. You’ve already met Sydney, so today we’ve asked Leigh and Olivia to share a little bit about themselves below.

If you or someone you know are interested in an internship with The Sycamore Institute, please visit While we will not have interns for the Fall 2022 semester, applications for Spring 2023 internships are due by December 1.

Now, let’s meet Olivia and Leigh!


Leigh FarahName: Leigh Farah

School: Vanderbilt University

Major: Political Science & Human and Organizational Development

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

Why did you want to intern at the Sycamore Institute?

At Vanderbilt, I have been lucky enough to participate in academic research and have fallen in love with the work I get to do as a research assistant. Research is something I want to continue to pursue as I move through college and in my future career. This love for research combined with my interests in politics and policy, particularly criminal justice, encouraged me to explore the types of research that think tanks pursue and produce. The Sycamore Institute is the perfect place to learn more about this outlet of research as I am given the chance to dive into policy issues specific to the state I am living in as well as help communities in Tennessee better understand policy decisions that are affecting them.

Where do you want to be in 15 years?

I would love to be doing research, be that academic or policy-related, that reflects the communities I am living in. I think this could exist through continuing to educate communities on policies that are affecting them or contributing to research in the broader fields of policy research and rights protections.

What are your interests and activities outside of school?

Outside of school, I love spending time outdoors hiking and swimming, especially back home in Hawaii. My friends and I also always love trying new restaurants in Nashville!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I have been a competitive swimmer for 13 years and am a member of the NCAA Women’s Swimming team at Vanderbilt!


Olivia Lawson

Name: Olivia Lawson

School: Vanderbilt University

Major: Master of Public Health in Health Policy

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Why did you want to intern at The Sycamore Institute?

I had the opportunity to gain knowledge in writing nonpartisan policy briefs for the aging population, which is a demographic that I am passionate about. In addition, I could expand my skillsets in data visualization, process evaluations, and much more!

Where do you want to be in 15 years?

Fifteen years from now, I hope to have a career in health policy and administration that I love where I am impacting and improving people’s lives for the better.

What are your interests and activities outside of school?

Outside of school, I spend time with friends and family hiking, traveling, skiing, playing volleyball, and trying new restaurants.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I have traveled to over 20 countries!

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