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First-Class Talent: Record 26 Young Religious Freedom Leaders Join FLI During Summer 2020

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July 24, 2020
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by Marlee Tomlinson, Contributing Writer • 4 min read

This summer, I’ve had the incredible opportunity of interning at First Liberty. From contributing to FLI Insider articles, to website design and marketing analytics, I am so thankful to have had a hand in the work First Liberty’s doing for our country.

As a rising senior at the University of Alabama studying Finance, Economics and Criminal Justice, I’ve always been passionate about politics, the economy and upholding our rights as Americans. I understood that religious freedom was important, but didn’t realize the extent of how vital and essential this freedom is to our constitutional system and our beautiful Republic until I got to First Liberty.

Before this internship, I watched as our country grew increasingly hostile towards religion. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, I noticed a pattern of outrageous attacks on religious freedom from deep-state, anti-faith and anti-democracy officials. I saw censorship in the marketplace of ideas, extreme political correctness and an unraveling of our nation’s history.

It scared me, to the point where I could no longer be a bystander. I had to do something to join the fight, because I understood that the very fabric of our country is at stake. And I wasn’t alone in that conviction either.

Joining me this summer are 26 other interns, millennials and Gen Z’s from different backgrounds and from some of the top universities in the country. It’s a blessing to see so many bright, talented and passionate leaders—indeed they can be called “First-Class Talent”—standing strong together in the fight for our first and most foundational liberty, religious freedom.

Because we know that in defending our First Freedom, we’re defending so much more. The freedom to freely and openly live out your faith is the cornerstone of every other liberty that we cherish, including free speech, political liberty and economic freedom.

If we give up this individual freedom, we’ll only begin to fall down the slippery slope to tyranny, just like we’ve seen with countless other nations in history.

One day, my peers in First Liberty’s Summer 2020 intern class and I will inherit the leadership of our country. That’s why this is a critical time when we must all unite to equip, empower and send a generation of elite advocates and defenders wherever God intends to take them. Whether it’s into law, politics, business, government, healthcare, media or education, there’s never been a more urgent need for young, principled patriots to take a stand for religious freedom.

Investing in the future of America starts right now—and I believe that First Liberty is raising a generation of fearless leaders who will “run to the sound of the guns.”

I’d like to introduce to you a few of my fellow interns who’ve joined First Liberty in what is the most important of all fights in our country: the fight for our First Freedom.

Alyson O'shea Alyson O’Shea

Alyson is a rising junior at the University of Oklahoma, studying Public Relations with minors in Enterprise Studies and Human Relations. Her major project for the summer is relaunching First Liberty’s Pinterest account. She’s created over 130 graphics for Pinterest and other graphics for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Her favorite part of this internship has been exploring the ins and outs of graphic design, growing professionally by learning from FLI’s marketing professionals and getting to know the amazing FLI team!

Mia Gradick Mia Gradick

Mia is a rising sophomore at Baylor University, studying Political Science. She is working with FLI’s editorial and newsletter team this year, writing and researching for numerous articles for FLI Insider, as well as learning about data analysis through Google Analytics. She is inspired by First Liberty’s dedication to religious freedom, as she previously attended school in California and witnessed the importance firsthand. After graduating, she plans to pursue a Juris Doctor degree.

Megan Moses Megan Moses

Megan will be a senior at Texas Tech University in the fall. She is currently pursuing a degree in Digital Media and Professional Communication with a minor in Public Relations. She has been involved at Tech as the Social Media Coordinator for the pro-life student organization Raiders Defending Life. This summer, she’s a part of First Liberty’s Marketing team. She was inspired to intern here because of the values we defend and the people we help.

Sydney Swift Sydney Swift

Sydney graduated this past May from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations. This is Sydney’s second summer interning with First Liberty. Last summer, she interned in the Marketing department, and this summer, she is a part of the Communications department. Sydney has enjoyed getting to experience two unique departments that have such a big impact on First Liberty.


Religious liberty can only advance as far as those who carry it.

With our rights facing an All Out assault today, it is vital that our future leaders are properly equipped to defend them.

First Liberty Institute is leading the charge to raise up a new generation of bold and passionate religious freedom advocates.

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