Returning from abroad, I find myself in Boston this summer working with the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights. Located on the University of Massachusetts Boston campus, the Consortium is a non-profit organization working towards a just and gender equitable world. Under the leadership of director Carol Cohn, the organization dedicates itself to researching gender and security issues, bridging the gap between researchers and policymakers, and promoting education and activism on these issues. As part of their mission to end conflict and establish peace, the Consortium hosts lectures, discussions, and workshops, most notably their Speaker Series. For the Speaker Series, the Consortium hosts a variety of speakers, such as prominent scholars, policy practitioners, and women leaders from conflict-affected areas to participate and engage in dialogue about their work.
Unable to attend any of the internship fairs or campus recruitment events, I spent my internship search online. Having an interest in gender and human rights issues, I was eager to find out more about the Consortium once I stumbled upon their site. After researching the organization and their internship program, I sent an application to Carol Cohn, the director. Shortly after applying, I received a request for letters of reference and confirmed my interest in working with the organization. A few weeks following, I received an internship offer and began my application for the World of Work Fellowship!
At the Consortium this summer, I will be assisting the organization with a variety of projects. For the most part, I will be working on projects related to their website. A week after orientation, all the interns have been actively working on the same website project. We are gathering resources and creating citations for the Consortium’s Research Hub. The Research Hub is a database complied of scholarly resources related to gender, armed conflict, peacebuilding, security, and more just post-conflict societies. After a few days spent looking up articles and pulling resources, I have already been exposed to an variety of gender and security related issues that I have never come across before.
Following this internship, I expect to have a much stronger grasp of the field. Although I have never worked with a nonprofit or gender issues before, through orientation and training, I feel ready to take on the tasks that have been assigned. Initially all the information that we received from orientation seemed a bit overwhelming, but after starting to complete the intern assignments, I see the need for all the training. Additionally, the staff have been so helpful with any questions that I have had. With only three staff members and twenty-five interns, our supervisors have more than enough questions to answer, but they graciously take the time to help us when we need it. And even with such a large staff to intern ratio, I have had the chance to talk with the directors and the special projects manager individually to discuss my interests and just to get to know one another better.
Aside from research and website work, I will be working on budgeting at the Consortium and am one of the networking directors for the Consortium community. As a networking director, I will help interns connect with each other, as well as with the staff and the directors of the Consortium. So far, I have met many other interns with similar aspirations and interests. I look forward to getting to know everyone at the organization better and to meet everyone that’s part of the Consortium community! I am also so glad and excited to be working with two other Brandeis students for the summer. It was a pleasant surprise to see them the first day at orientation!
Only a week in and I feel that I have already learned plenty, but also that get the sense that I’ll be learning so much more as the weeks pass. I hope to spend more time interacting with our Consortium family, not just within the office and also to explore more of my future academic and career goals as I take on this journey for the next two months.
Until next time!
Iris Lee, ’15