Simpson University Alum Completes D.C. Internship, Publishes Articles

REDDING, Calif.—A Simpson University and Redding native who interned with The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., has two articles published on national news websites.

Austin Avery, who graduated in spring 2018 with a degree in history, co-wrote an analysis piece published Christmas Eve in The Washington Times titled “Washington should be alarmed at Middle Belt conflict in Nigeria.”

“Having the chance to speak on Christian persecution to a national audience is something I am extremely humbled by and definitely helped me grow as a person,” Avery said.

A second piece co-written by Avery, titled “This Little-Known Terror Group Poses a Greater Threat Than ISIS in Syria,” is posted on The Daily Signal.

“It was an honor to get this published and is an achievement I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” he said.

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Simpson University alumnus Austin Avery at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Avery was selected for a prestigious three-month paid internship through The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. The Heritage Foundation is a research and education-based think tank that seeks to influence public policy through research and analysis.

Avery conducted policy research on issues including terrorism, democracy, governance, refugees, and foreign aid and development. He focused on Africa and the Middle East, particularly on terrorist groups in those regions.

“Oftentimes I was doing investigative research for my analysts, who would publish work based on much of the information I gathered for them,” he said.

Helena Richardson, director of the Young Leaders Program, said Avery was “the ideal intern.” The foundation has about 200 interns a year; Avery was one of 55 this fall.

“He really went above and beyond,” she said, adding that she would list him as one of the top three interns this year. “He was always eager to learn and asking questions. He is one of those people you know is going to make an impact, and you just want to see how that translates.”

Avery, who recently returned home for the holidays, said additional highlights of his internship included touring the White House and visiting other historic locations in D.C. He also participated in a men’s mentorship class where they talked about the importance of upholding traditional values and how to be people of integrity, poise and character in every aspect of life.

His three months in D.C. were impactful beyond just his daily work. “I think the greatest lesson I learned from this entire experience involved my faith,” Avery said. “Before this internship I had the belief that God would meet me in the middle when aspects of life and this program got crazy. What I discovered, though, is that he was always there in the middle waiting for me, even before I moved an inch.”

Avery left Redding in early September, only a few weeks after the Carr Fire, and was in D.C. when the Camp Fire swept through Paradise. It was difficult to be so far away at that time, but it also motivated him, he said.

“Knowing I was leaving a community which housed so many people I loved who were suffering caused me to change as a person,” he said. “I became extremely focused, working as hard as I could and being intentional with everyone I met. People matter, and I wanted to represent those who’d lost so much in the fire as best I could while in D.C.”

Richardson said Avery was “constantly talking to his family and sharing stories of what he was going to do and take back to Northern California.

“His impact on the class as a whole will be long-lasting,” she said.

The Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation offers paid internships to college juniors or above. Learn more at

Learn more about Simpson University’s history major at


Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduategraduate, and teaching credential programs. The university will celebrate its centennial in 2021. Simpson was named as one of the 2018 Colleges of Distinction. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings; the Betty M. Dean School of NursingA.W. Tozer Seminary, the School of Education, and the School of Graduate Professional Studies. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit