Hello everybody! Hope your summers are still incredible and refreshing, and you’re gearing up for the upcoming semester (which for me, as a new CA, is actually right around the corner). My time at AVODAH has really changed its course since I have arrived. In my first post, I outlined a flash-fundraising campaign and my exposure to non-profit management, but now my experience has been centered around alumni outreach and programming from more of an educational standpoint.

During the third week of my internship, my supervisor began to teach a morning class as part of the List College (the joint program of Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary) pre-college program, “JUSTCity.” This program gathered 18 high school upperclassmen to discuss issues of social justice and inequality in New York City through a Jewish lens. My supervisor’s daily sessions provided a Jewish textual context for exploring and aiming to solve these issues, as well as an open space to dabble with personal experiences and inexperience with antipoverty work and current events. I primarily functioned as the TA of the class, giving a hand to my supervisor and interjecting relevant information pertaining to areas about which I know a thing or two. These 16-18 year-old kids engaged in a remarkably thoughtful, sophisticated discussion about racial, economic, and environmental justice, as well as the escalation in Israel and Gaza. The conversation that struck me most followed their reading of excerpts from “A Case for Reparations” by Tanahisi Coates, an article featured in The Atlantic hashing out an unprecedentedly non-radical approach to reparations for Blacks in America. Admittedly, aside from all I learned from simply sitting and listening, it was also great to see my cousin who was a participant in the program. No worries, everyone- I made sufficient plugs for Brandeis with this group of college-searching kids.

Following this two-week stint, I have been spending much of my time managing the alumni database, and transferring bios of alumni from a large spreadsheet into the new online system. Since I haven’t really met very many alumni, I’m glad I can at least take this route to learn about them and what they did after the program. I even found someone who really is very similar to myself, and am planning on contacting this person to as how she got to her current job! I did not expect bio-transferring to be a networking opportunity!

I am under the impression that my internship will comprise a similar set of tasks for the duration of the summer, and that I will be exposed to a greater arsenal of Jewish texts on issues of social justice, that I will interact with more alumni material, and that I will get to know my co-workers better.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to updating you at the conclusion of the program.

Hannah Kober


A few days ago we had a staff dinner on a rooftop overlooking Venice boardwalk at the Hotel Irwin. The sunset and vertical slope transformed what is otherwise a dingy, vulgar area into an aesthetic utopia. Enjoying the sunset with my kind coworkers was a joy as I scarfed down (too many) fish tacos. A good friend of mine was visiting and able to attend. A compatriot in weirdness, introducing him to my new professional sphere was exciting. I could see our occupational imaginations merge as my friend (and collaborator) imagined himself working in this lovely city. This is the compelling beauty of Los Angeles, as disparate, global peoples unify in a visual practice as commercial as it is creative. As a favorite song of mine echoed from the well-curated rooftop DJ setup, I celebrated friendship and work, entities slowly but surely melting into one.

20140717_194553My internship supervisor and I. Forgive the glasses, it’s that LA sun.

As a reminder, I am working as a general intern and script-reader at Lava Bear Films in Los Angeles. After many weeks, my experience of script-reading has remained consistent, but my skills have developed. Occasionally coverage can become an echo chamber, but it is comforting to know that my opinions often align with those of my more business-minded coworkers. It’s also fun how a bad script can be great fodder for nuanced (and gleefully literary) critique. I am sometimes reminded of my art-house preferences but I consider that par for the course. Fortunately, there has been an influx of engaging material and assignments in the last few weeks, so my writing has been more chipper. The only downside is that I’ve developed a slight reputation for a critical lens, but people have told me that they respect it.

In that vein, perhaps my most valuable learning experience occurred recently after reading a frustrating script. The plot, the characters, the tone all rubbed me the wrong way. Within 50 pages I knew had serious disdain for the work and I wrote accordingly scathing coverage. I ended up meeting with one of the head-honchos about my coverage; they had felt a kernel of worth was subsumed within the script’s cluster of issues, issues that dominated my personal opinion. Their critique of my coverage produced the most beneficial dialogue I’ve had here. They cited my disdain as valid, but also a factor that foreclosed subtlety when I relied on a negative approach. In retrospect, I completely agree with them. We also discussed generational preferences, a productive exchange for both parties. It was one of those utterly intimidating but beneficial experiences you fall into in life. I could feel my brain resetting as my perspective matured. That one conversation has led me to necessarily re-evaluate my coverage technique and criteria for script quality. I feel very fortunate that the people at Lava Bear take the time to engage me in this way.

For me, the highlight of each week (funny as I think the staff finds them mostly mundane) is the weekly Monday meeting. During them, we evaluate scripts read over the weekend. I can feel my presentation skills improve in these meetings. Pitching, something that terrified me before this summer, now feels accessible and natural. My analytical perception of scripts has shifted radically since I began. In the past I ha arbitrarily referenced box office and saleability, but I now feel genuinely informed. I’ve noticed that I now place a lot more value on concept. I often appreciate a script based on concept or core alone, whereas writing style and conventions usually reigned supreme in my old evaluations. This may come across as a subtle change, but it is paradigm-shifting for me, as a person who engages in critical analysis near-constantly. I look forward to exercising these skills in my filmic endeavors throughout senior year (and beyond!).

I am learning an immense amount, making a lot of progress on my goals. I cannot emphasize enough how expansive this experiential learning has been, compared to my classroom and self-taught knowledge. I’ve been taking meetings with many of my coworkers, more seriously discussing future career options. These choices are daunting (development or production, location, etc.) but these are the serious thoughts I came here to engage. Talking to different members of the staff has given me wide insight: young creative execs paint me pictures of career beginnings, financial overseers explain shareholder meetings and film slates, and industry vets teach me how best to evaluate talent. Comprehensive clarity about my career still eludes me, but I certainly feel much more informed. Witnessing the clockwork of film development has given me confidence that I could work in this field after graduating.


LA has begun to feel less idyllic and more like a simple, exciting city that I am merely inhabiting. Thus I have accomplished my goal of vetting Los Angeles’ viability; thanks to the WOW, I know now that I could happily move here. Some of my lesser goals, of course, have been slightly neglected. Goals of networking have mutated, once I discovered that virtually all connections (beyond the office space) are valuable, but in different ways. I’ve been writing less recreationally, an expected fatigue after reading writing and then writing about writing, all day, every day. My thesis remains a radioactive, untouchable fellow, but that is the reality of a 9-5 job, again, precisely the real-world experience I came here to attain.

In addition to my experiences at Lava Bear, I’ve invested in the local performance art community, gone to a bevy of screenings, and become a regular at a few locales. I’ve not lost sight of fields close to my heart. I’ve even met a few minor idols of mine (I shall keep them anonymous, I don’t ingratiate and tell!). I love the community here. I love the artists, the filmmakers, the writers, the executives, the Lyft drivers, and the people who run the food trucks. Okay, I hate the people who run the 711 next to my apartment, but they also sell gummy sharks, and where else am I going to get them at 2 AM?!


Alex Weick

Mid Point Check In from the the Bairo Pite Clinic

It’s been a very eventful couple of weeks for the TB department at the Bairo Pite Clinic.  The TB team and I have been working to create training materials for our 4 new health care workers who will be carrying out the Doorstep Treatment Support (DTS) program.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the DTS program aims to increase adherence and completion of TB treatment for those with active TB and to provide preventative treatment for children under 5.  I have learned so much about program implementation; how difficult it is to translate an idea onto paper and then into a practical setting, and then how time consuming it is to translate all this from English to Tetun.

One of my goals for this summer was to apply what I have learned in the classroom as an HSSP student in a more practical manner, particularly as it pertains to implementation of community health projects.  First, the needs of the community had to be gaged.  Given the high incidence of TB in Timor, it was clear that there is a need to reduce the incidence and prevalence of TB by identifying those with TB more efficiently,  by increasing adherence to TB treatment, and by trying to deliver more preventative treatment (http://www.who.int/countries/tls/en/).  Then, the clinic had to determine what resources, in the form of money, facilities, and human capital were available for the program.  Foreign grants were obtained and 4 new workers were hired for the program.  Once we knew the program had proper support we began creating materials for a 6 day training for the new workers.  My colleagues and I created scripts and videos, scenarios for role play, and other written and verbal activities for the two days of training that pertained to effective communication. Learning points included recognizing verbal and non-verbal signs, and active listening through paraphrasing, summarizing and reflection (http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/nonverbal-communication.html).  We collaborated with many wonderful Timorese volunteers who were willing to act in the videos, translate the work we had done and then deliver a lot of the materials in Tetun.  Working as a group was essential for the success of the training and it was also a great opportunity to build new friendships.


I think one of the most important things I’ve learned through all of this is that if you want anything to be successful you must be able to keep the big picture in mind while being extremely detail oriented.  Every little detail matters and you must try to go the extra mile with every assignment you are handed.  I am very proud of myself and my colleagues, particularly our ring leader, Paul, and all the hard work we have put into our work.  We have been forced to do things we have never done before that have taught us to be more resourceful and also to draw from each other’s skill sets. I hope to take back everything I’m learning here related to teamwork, planning and program implementation to PP1 so that we can grow together as a club and organization.

A few members of the TB team

Kathelyn Rivera, 15

MassCOSH at Midsummer

It’s 5pm and I’m standing at the head of a conference table in a downtown Boston law firm. In the room are lawyers, injured workers, and advocates. Another intern and myself are about to facilitate a bilingual meeting. Everyone in the room is older and mostly everyone is male. Our supervisor coaxed the attendees to the meeting, now it was left to up us to gain their respect and insight.


The purpose of the meeting was to determine the substance of our report on the workers’ compensation system. We are seeking a balanced perspective of a complicated and convoluted system that treats participants unequally. During my time at the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health I’ve met with lawyers, doctors, advocates, and low-wage workers. Each interview has its own flavor and end goal, revealing a different view of the workers’ compensation system.

Everyone believes the system is broken. Everyone believes it isn’t them.

I feel my confidence grow after each one-on-one and group meeting. I and the other intern prepare and debrief after each interview to hone our approach. I’ve learned to employ open-ended questions and to not shy away from critical ones. We’ve also come to recognize the importance of language and setting to gain the trust of both professionals and laborers. We’ve developed relationships and fought to demonstrate that we are knowledgeable and determined, despite the generally disparaging and transient connotations of being an intern. With each connection we make, I know I am gaining valuable professional tools for my future career.

A major goal at the beginning of the summer was to meaningfully contribute to my community. MassCOSH has successfully advocated for several pieces of legislation that benefit injured workers. Most recently, they were part of successful campaigns to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts and to increase burial allowances for workers killed on the job. Next, MassCOSH intends to pursue changes in the workers’ compensation system to ensure low-wage and non-English speaking workers can equally access their rights. Our report will inform what specific changes MassCOSH lobbies for. Having seen the organization’s previous policy successes I know my report is a meaningful piece of the process rather than something that will be put in a drawer come September.


Compiling a report for MassCOSH has led to more practical skills than I could have imagined. Knowing this report is a serious document that will precipitate greater change makes even the hours researching in front a computer fulfilling. In the short run, I’m looking forward to our next step of passing around the draft to receive feedback from various contributors. In the long run, I’m looking forward to a radical overhaul of Massachusetts’ workers compensation system.

– Mia Katan ‘15

A little past halfway at HW

For almost two months, I have been interning at Healthy Waltham (HW) promoting healthy eating and learning how nonprofits work. At the onset, my role was mainly teaching children about nutrition and how to cook healthy food; however, most of my time thus far has focused on the inner workings of nonprofit organizations.

My first business card! Feeling official with Healthy Waltham.
My first business card! Feeling official with Healthy Waltham.

Aside from cooking, I wanted to learn more about the community side of public health, nonprofits, and what my own interests are in these areas. I never knew how planning, organizing, or funding worked for nonprofits before this internship. Every organization is different, but just learning one arrangement provides some background for understanding other types. At a Strategic Planning meeting with HW’s board members and staff, I saw how many disciplines come together to not only run HW, but numerous other health-related organizations. There were people from the city counsel, a school principal, and a registered nurse just to name a few of the people involved. Even more surprising to me, many board members and staff present belong to other health-focused groups.

I never imagined how much effort is needed to persuade the public to eat their greens.

I am happy to have learned so much about nonprofits, but so far I am most satisfied with the recent tabling event the Waltham Farmer’s Market. The cooking and nutrition class at the Chill Zone is more challenging than I remember. Frankly, my first class was disheartening. After a couple of those classes, I was anxious about the tabling event. Talking to people, friends or strangers, is difficult to me. Encouraging others to eat healthy foods has proven to be extra challenging. Plus, my mentor Chef Reva would not be there. All of these factors together left me worried and restless about the simple act of tabling.

Luckily, the event turned out better than expected. We gave free samples of Moroccan chard salad topped with roasted chickpeas. Not only were all samples and English recipe cards distributed, but almost everyone said they enjoyed the salad! Speaking with others went smoothly, and help from the other interns and staff made the day really enjoyable. I cannot wait to analyze the data to see if chard sales changed or if the HW website received more traffic after the farmer’s market.


L to R: Abbie, Manny, Yuki. Intern teamwork giving away free samples of Moroccan swiss chard salad with roasted chickpeas at Waltham Farmer’s Market. Photo by Maria DiMaggio

The most valuable skill I am developing here is group communication. Everyone says that communication skills are important, but I am now a believer. Knowing how to present ideas and instructions while keeping people engaged is necessary to accomplish any task. Group work with coworkers, some of whom work from various locations, adds a new challenge to traditional group dynamics.

The web of public health becomes clearer as I continue observing and working on various projects. I am unsure where I fit in the realm of public health, but I am looking forward to the rest of my time with HW. There is still much to do, and even more learn.


– Yuki Wiland ’15

NARAL Midpoint: Finding My Leadership Style

Six weeks after my first blog post, my job at NARAL has swelled to encompass a new set of managerial responsibilities. In addition to doing substantive work – helping my supervisor brainstorm creative field operations, draft LTEs, and strategize political campaigns – I now manage a team of nine interns, and am responsible for distributing them to our four-plus priority campaigns. This task is surprisingly complicated; I have to take into account more variables than I initially thought when I began drafting my interns’ schedules. On a daily basis, I have to consider whether or not the interns have a car, whether or not the campaigns are accessible by public transportation, etc. Last week, I finally managed the interns’ schedules such that they are traveling to work on each of our priority campaigns at least once a week.

I embarked upon my journey this summer hoping to learn how to effectively negotiate varying relationships in the workplace. Many of my interns are graduate students, and I was initially worried that I would not be respected in my supervisor role, given the age differential. However, through conversations with my supervisor and other members of the staff, I have learned how to act and how to speak so as to seem an older, more confident supervisor. In my first few weeks here, I would apologize to my interns for making strict demands. Now, three months in, I have gained my footing and have realized that, although my interns may be older than I am, my three years of experience in this field has given me the qualifications I need to be an effective worker and supervisor. I have learned to unapologetically set high expectations. During one-on-one conversations and midpoint check-ins with my interns, I make sure that I am offering strong, constructive feedback. In the office, during meetings, I am firm and assertive. During lunch breaks, walks to the T, and coffee runs, I allow my more informal, personable side to show through; I inquire about the interns’ weekends, offer tricks of the trade, and share a bit about myself. By balancing the “friendly” and “professional” moments in and out of the office, I am able to command the respect I need while also showing my team that I am approachable and understanding.

Throughout the summer, my work has included holding one-on-one meetings with community leaders and lobby meetings with elected officials. I have met with a variety of elected officials on the Public Health Committee in support of our Healthy Youth Bill (which would implement comprehensive sex education in public schools). Armed with research and statistics, I quickly learned in my lobby meetings that elected officials will only fully support a bill if the bill will directly improve the lives of those in their district.

Similarly, my one-on-one recruitment meetings with community leaders have shown me that, while organizations are willing to coalesce, they will only do so if the impact on their clients is tangible. I recently had a one on one with a staff member from an organization that raises low-income women of color out of poverty by providing jobs training, peer mentorship, and professional development services. Only when I explained the impact of Crisis Pregnancy Centers on communities of color specifically was I able to garner her support for our initiatives.

Through these meetings, I have grown to understand that true coalition and relationship building must be founded on reciprocity. Organizations like NARAL are too pressed for time to engage heavily in an initiative that does not cater directly to their membership. In future lobbying and meeting efforts, I will be sure to come armed with facts, data, and anecdotes that directly address the constituencies of those I meet with, be they geographic districts or a certain demographic of people.

I am consistently amazed by the amount of organization and attention to detail my job requires.  Serving at NARAL in this capacity has increased my managerial abilities tenfold. I have grown to feel comfortable delegating tasks to my intern team, although some are older and more experienced than me. The staff has been exceptional in their eagerness to accommodate my needs and treat me as one of their own. I sit in on staff meetings, assist in building strategy and blueprinting campaigns, and am privy to exclusive conversations among the Political, Communications, and Field teams.

More than anything, this internship has given me an in-depth look at the machinations of the political non-profit sector. Though I previously worked at NARAL for a year, I have never understood the extent to which fundraising and membership building are critical to the maintenance of a non-profit. Sometimes I become disenchanted by the reality that a significant proportion – if not a majority – of NARAL’s work is dedicated to maintaining the structures that already exist instead of directly propelling forth a pro-choice agenda. In this field, progress comes more slowly than I expected, and victories are few and far between. I often find myself wondering if the political non-profit venue is the most effective means of pursuing electoral and legislative success.

This doubt is bolstered by the hyper-partisan nature of the choice debate. Upon accepting my summer internship, I stated, “I hope to use my duties at NARAL…. to learn how the organization makes the pro-choice debate less partisan using creative messaging and framing.” Interestingly, my experience at NARAL has taught me quite the opposite. NARAL is a non-partisan organization, but our political inclinations are clear in the work we do. As the choice debate has become more polarized in light of the Supreme Court rulings in the Hobby Lobby and Buffer Zone cases, Republicans that we had once considered allies have begun to vote against our bills in the state house. We cannot endorse legislators with an anti-choice record, so although the staff does not want to endorse electeds along party lines, we find ourselves doing just that. Nonetheless, I am still searching for ways to make the debate less partisan in my conversations with others. I hope that continuing to work here, and having one-on-one conversations with community leaders and stakeholders more often, will teach me how.

Mid-Point: Reflecting on the Past to Improve Tomorrow

While sitting at my desk working patiently on data entry and file review, I can’t help but hear my HSSP professor’s words echoing in my mind… “prevention, intervention, and follow-up of patient cases are essential to health care!” Professor Conrad’s course Health and Society reflected on the various forms of illness, how society defines and perceives illness, and the methods by which illness can be treated. As I read files from the 1970s, I can see how our nation’s mentality has shifted over the decades regarding mental illness and treatment. HSSP courses usually begin with a review of the historical timeline of health and health care in the United States, and so it’s basic knowledge by senior year for HSSP students that the taboo surrounding mental health persisted in our country up until 10 or 15 years ago. Recently, this trend has abated in light of the development of legislation that mandates health insurance coverage for mental health services and grants funding for non-profits focused on mental health services.

When looking through files dated before 1985, I am reminded of the lack of support for individuals who require some form of counseling or therapy, and the faulty networking between agencies involved for that matter. Initially, Emerge adopted a political agenda, operating on the belief that the response to domestic violence should be social action rather than medical or psychological intervention. The creators of Emerge were activists, not medical administrators or health care providers. Therefore, the majority of these first case files are not standardized, meaning that the folder contains errant papers, scribbled notes, and blank/missing information. Some vital information, such as the client’s date of birth or social security number(important for identifying clients who are also on probation or have pending court cases) are not even required fields on some of the older forms.

The forms Emerge uses to keep records have changed drastically since 1980. The referral source in 1980 was more likely to be a family member, informational pamphlet, or co-worker. Abuse history is brief, especially in comparison to the modernized form.

The forms Emerge uses to keep records have changed drastically since 1980. The referral source in 1980 was more likely to be a family member, informational pamphlet, or co-worker. Abuse history is brief, especially in comparison to the modernized form.
The forms Emerge uses to keep records have changed drastically since 1980. The referral source in 1980 was more likely to be a family member, informational pamphlet, or co-worker. Abuse history is brief, especially in comparison to the modernized form.

Furthermore, not all clients were interviewed in the same manner, and so information that would otherwise be useful in identifying the socio-economic status of the client was consistently left blank, which created a gap in quality of service in many cases. The purpose of the program was geared towards providing support services for victims and partners, but the consequential development of a client-base who sometimes require long-term counseling meant that Emerge had to adapt.

In contrast, the newest intake forms require personal identification information such as DOB, SSN, and car make/model. This information is relevant for clients who have been referred by a Probation Office or DCF Agency for violence against a partner or abuse of children. This form, in comparison with the 1980 version, allows clients to record the number, names, and ages of their children, in addition to the other biological parent. The older forms did not account for non-traditional families.

In contrast, the newest intake forms require personal identification information such as DOB, SSN, and car make/model. This information is relevant for clients who have been referred by a Probation Office or DCF Agency for violence against a partner or abuse of children. This form, in comparison with the 1980 version, allows clients to record the number, names, and ages of their children, in addition to the other biological parent. The older forms did not account for non-traditional families.
In contrast, the newest intake forms require personal identification information such as DOB, SSN, and car make/model. This information is relevant for clients who have been referred by a Probation Office or DCF Agency for violence against a partner or abuse of children. This form, in comparison with the 1980 version, allows clients to record the number, names, and ages of their children, in addition to the other biological parent. The older forms did not account for non-traditional families.

It is clear that a significant amount of progress has been made since the founding of Emerge. All new files have a comprehensive background on all clients – today’s files are so detailed that we request partner contact information for not only the “victim” and “current partner” but also 2-3 ex-partners. Sometimes, to provide better services for the client, we investigate incidences of violent and controlling behaviors in previous relationships. The increased demand for accurate information ensures that Emerge can follow up with victims and partners to get firsthand reports of incidences of violence or abuse. The agency also contacts victims regarding the status of the client: whether he has been attending, has completed, or has been terminated from the program. Clients can use group sessions as a form of social support, to continue to work on themselves in a familiar, comfortable setting among men who can relate, either through cultural identity, family history, or lifestyle, etc. Emerge still emphasizes a focus on abusive behavior and not on the psychopathology of the abuser. Its relevancy in the field of social services and mental health services is evident.

This unique lens of being able to see the real-time applications of my HSSP courses for the coming semester is a huge motivator. I can attest to Professor Conrad’s principle that prevention and intervention are major elements of confronting the issue of domestic violence and other mental health problems, such as co-morbid substance abuse or long-term anger/violence. I recall another HSSP course, “Perspectives on Behavioral Health: Alcohol, Drugs, and Mental Health,” which provided me with an academic background of the current problems that Emerge clients deal with: ending addiction, understanding their own behavior, coping with past traumas and current stressors. I am enthused that I can apply information from my past classes to gain a greater understanding of the clientele, such as the impact of drug use on self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. Using this knowledge will allow me to conduct thorough personal history interviews and deduce key concerns related to the individual’s progress. Streamlining my own methodology will only allow me to better serve the needs of the client and victim, which is paramount to improving the nation’s Social Services in future decades.

Reflecting on the progress that Emerge has made as a pioneer domestic violence counseling center, it is obvious that there are still a few hurdles to overcome. Emerge offers services in Spanish and for other minority groups like LGBTQ individuals, and has a much higher completion rate than in decades past. Still, client attendance records suggest that we have yet to truly validate mental health care services as irrefutably necessary in today’s world. Social stereotypes still exist that may prevent clients from continuing group counseling, as many men believe that “real men don’t need help.” Agencies like Emerge have minimal influence to enforce attendance and participation. By examining Emerge’s past, and observing the present group sessions, I believe that I have a clear picture of where we have come from as a nation and where we are looking to go in the next few decades to improve the quality and image of mental illness and health services in the United States.

Elsie Bernaiche ’15

A Day In a Life: Teaching and Living in Hinche, Haiti

It has been two weeks since I arrived in Hinche, Haiti and began my experience at ETE Camp. These two weeks have been filled to the brim with new experiences and lessons learned. The first week was one of adjustments. The heat here is unlike what I have experienced anywhere else. Even after living in the northeast of Brazil for six months. Although I prefer the heat to any other weather, it took my body some time to adjust to the constant heat of the Caribbean sun especially during the day or on long car rides. Food and mosquitoes have been another adjustment. Hinche is a small town a two hour drive through the mountains from Port-au-Prince and is calm and laid back. Our first interaction with the students was Opening Day when over 100 parents and children came to try to take part in this free and educational opportunity. We registered and met the 60 children that I would be working with and learning from the next month.

Myself and the other volunteers walking to Opening Day.

From 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Monday- Friday nothing, including the mosquitos or the heat, matters besides the 60 wonderful, intelligent, creative, loving and energetic ETE camp scholars. A day in the life consists of Morning Motivation, breakfast, teaching three classes, lunch and an afternoon activity. There are four subjects being taught in one day: Math, Science, English Writing and Leadership and each teaching pair is off for one period. I have been co-teaching English Writing, and I have never met such eager to learn children who are so excited to be in school. They are always doing the best they can to learn as much as possible. Once in a while there are discipline issues to take care of as with any children but for the most part they are extremely well-behaved. The daily chorus of “Good Morning, Miss Amanda” has proven to always make me smile, as have the moments during meal times when the children sing their prayers in unison or someone grabs my arm and asks me to sit next to them.


The language barrier was another adjustment as I spoke no Creole and only some children spoke a couple of words in English. We have however come to an understanding and a rhythm of how to communicate without words or with the few we know of one another’s language. Both I and the students learn new vocabulary each day through interactions and in English class with Daily Words. In many instances words are not even needed to communicate as every child knows what a stern look means when they have done something wrong or what a smile and a sticker means when they have successfully completed a task. Through this they are also learning how to communicate with all people through a common language we all speak that doesn’t include words. Theses exchanges and their classes are contributing greatly to their growth into the leaders of Haiti and of the world that they all have an incredible potential to be.

Amanda Pereira ’15

Project Healthcare Volunteers Host a Health Fair at Bellevue

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Project Healthcare volunteers host a health fair at Bellevue Hospital Center

It is inevitable that without a medical degree, anyone in a hospital will come across terminology they may not understand or see a fascinating case but lack the proper terms to describe the case. Prior to the inception of Project Healthcare (PHC), my goal was to draw parallels between my experiences in the emergency department with courses I’ve taken or will take at Brandeis and become more familiar with medical terminology as well as some of the more common cases seen in the ED.

As we approach the end of the summer, I’m noticing that I have an easier time in the emergency department every shift. I have been keeping track of achieving my goals by always making sure that I have a pen and a paper readily available to take notes on cases and terms I come across. In addition to making sure to ask the doctors, I also do further research on the different diagnoses at home and make sure I have comprehensive understanding.

Me at Health fair
Presenting at the health fair at Bellevue Hospital Center

I am most proud of my recent participation in a health fair held in the lobby of Bellevue Hospital. In groups of 2 or 3, the PHC volunteers were given a health topic to present at the fair. We were responsible for contacting organizations and requesting materials to handout at the health fair, creating an interactive activity as well as completing a multimedia project based on our health topic. My group’s topic was Breast/Cervical Cancer

On the day of the health fair, which was held on July 8th 2014, many people ranging from cancer survivors, staff members from the oncology department at Bellevue, people diagnosed with human papillomavirus (or HPV, which has been shown to cause cervical cancer in women), and uninsured patients with health concerns stopped my group’s table. We provided people with information about the risk factors for breast and cervical cancer, the various tests and vaccinations available to reduce risks (i.e. Pap Smear, Gardasil, Mammograms, etc), and information on where people could go to get free screenings as well cancer services in NYC regardless of insurance status.

As a result of my involvement with Project Healthcare thus far, I have built on and improved my public speaking, organization and collaboration skills. These are skills that I’ve had a chance to put into practice through talking to patients in the emergency department, working with my group to prepare for the health fair, participating in clinical and public health research as well as interacting with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. As I continue on my journey towards becoming a doctor, I will need to speak publically at conferences, organize well to balance my academics with my personal life, and collaborate with my colleagues in research and in patient care, thus I will continue to develop and implement these skills that I am gaining through Project Healthcare.

From left, Maria, Yoon Jon, and Me at the Health fair
(From left) Maria, Yoon Jon, and Me presenting on Breast/Cervical Cancer at the Bellevue health fair

Ama Darkwa, ’16



Wow… I am more than halfway through my internship experience and I haven’t even realized it! That goes to show how busy and engaged I have been in the work the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is doing this summer. I can honestly say that this internship continues to surprise me because it is satisfying almost ever goal I listed on my WOW application. The one goal that I am most impressed with is the ability to do real work rather than just make copies and fetch coffee. With the TLHRC I am both pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed with the amount of work I have been allocated over the past few weeks. For you to understand what I mean I will first explain how the Commission operates. Unfortunately, Human Rights was unfunded during the budget cut, therefore the commission has no funding and has to rely on fellows to keep the commission running. Typically fellows will work for various durations, but the fellow with the year long commitment typically takes the leadership role on the Commission. Thus said, all 4 commission members are treated and respected as full time staffers. Surprisingly our government ID listed us as “Staff” and not “Intern”!!!

Being treated as a staff member is nice because you receive a lot of respect but that is not to say it doesn’t overwhelm you! Although I have been extremely busy, this fellowship has definitely taught me a lot. I found myself continuously challenging my education and awareness on international issues as well as human rights violations. Prior to my fellowship, I was unaware of the human rights crisis in Burma nor did I understand the affect a construction of a dam could cause to multiple nations such as Ethiopia and Kenya. In fact I didn’t even know where some of these countries were on a map! Yet now I am confident when discussing international issues with Congress members and Congressional staffers. It took a few embarrassing tries, but now I can officially say I got the hang of it.

Moreover, I believe I am building networking skills from this internship opportunity. Although I have not been able to benefit to the extent I hoped from networking, I have learned how to better communicate with organizations and individuals on a personal and business level. Through our countless meetings with international organizations and prominent individuals, I have learned to create intriguing questions, start conversations, and constructively figure out how to benefit both parties by taking action to achieve a common goal. Considering the fact that I am a rising junior, networking will definitely be a skill that I will utilize often. In addition, this experience will greatly contribute to my academics because I am starting to realize the correlation between politics and economics that will help me better understand how my IGS and Business major relate. Also, I have recently been in touch with Professor Rosenberger to see how I can apply this internship to my international requirement as well as potentially complete an independent study based off my work with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Although I strive for my future career to be one in business, I am enjoying my experience in DC. The TLHRC has a way of maturing its staffers to become independent, hard working, and invested individuals to international human rights violations. I do admit that I am passionate about the work I am doing and I am very dedicated to serving the international community, however I still do not see myself doing this line of work in the future. Thus far I have made amazing connections to my co-workers as well as people I have encountered through meetings and events. For example, I met an Ethiopian woman in a meeting a long with many others that requested our commission to host a congressional briefing on the human rights crisis in Ethiopia. I quickly agreed to plan this briefing and I have developed great relationships to the panelists I have been working with, as well as Lulit, the women from the meeting. Currently, I am swamped with work trying to plan this briefing so I will update you soon! I hope you all are enjoying your summers just as much as I am enjoying mine. We are almost done so lets keep up the good work and I hope to hear about your experiences as well!

Image 1: My ID! Image 2: Meeting with Laos Officials  Image 3: My co-worker and I on the Capital Subway

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ISlide: The Midpoint

I’m halfway through my time as a summer intern for ISlide and I can’t believe it. It has been over a month and a half and it feels like just yesterday that I was heading back to Waltham on Friday afternoon after completing my first week. I have truly fallen in love with the company and the product and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here thus far. Working for ISlide has been everything I wanted it to be and more. I have learned skills in multiple different facets of the business world and have started to grasp what it takes to own and run a start-up company. I have been moving towards my learning goals and it’s exciting.

When I first stated my learning goals, I knew I wanted to gain knowledge of the business world and apply skills I had acquired in the classroom. I also wanted to learn more about the world of start-ups. So far I have been working mainly in sales and marketing, but I have had the opportunity to work with operations as well. As a small company, everyone needs to be able to step in and perform if one of the workers is out and I think that I have been able to do that well so far. The broadness of tasks that I have been trusted with has been amazing for getting closer to my learning goals. It has opened doors to how a real world company runs and works and how it does so smoothly. This is something that I never could have learned in a classroom. Our CEO, Justin Kittredge, has been awesome as well. He includes the interns in meetings and values their opinions which is something that you definitely won’t find in many other places. His motivation tactics, work ethic, and dedication to the grind and the company have rubbed off on me and have shown me what it really takes to be successful in an entrepreneurial venture. This is a picture that includes more information on the actual product that we are selling:

ISlide_Mantra_Shoe_Model-Flyer (1)

I have been moving towards my learning goals everyday, all while gaining valuable skills to go along with them.

I have learned a number of new skills while working with ISlide. I will start off in my position as a sales representative. I have learned new selling techniques that have made sealing the deal much easier. I have also learned how to identify more lucrative markets that would be interested in our product. This has done wonders for my ability to add accounts and to bring in customers. This is a link to one of our YouTube videos focusing on our customers and what they have done for ISlide so far. Lastly, I have gained numerous conversational and interpersonal skills. I am extremely comfortable on the phone and feel as though I do a great job in conversations with potential partners. This skill has also been built through working everyday with my co-workers. The interpersonal skills gained by conversing and collaborating with the sales force and other interns will serve me well in the classroom, in group projects, and in future careers. People skills are some of the most important talents to have while working in an office. I have realized what it takes to work as a team and I think that is vital to both the academic and the business world.

Everything that I have learned throughout the first half of the internship has allowed me to achieve a satisfying amount of success. I’m most proud of the fact that I sold more pairs than any one else did in the month of June. I was truly happy to be able to help the company and bring in revenue and I think that speaks to Justin’s motivation techniques. He is very positive and empowering and it felt great to be able to show him that what he was teaching us was working. This is a link to one of the biggest accounts that I have brought in.

The first half of this internship has been amazing. I have learned so much more than I thought I was going to and I have been given the opportunity to make my mark on the company which is all I could have asked for. I even got to meet Mickey Ward!

In a conversation with Justin earlier this week, he asked us what our biggest regret would be if we had to leave on that day. My response was that I would just regret not having more time – more time to learn from such a great mentor, more time to learn the ins and outs of a start-up, and more time to interact with the great people that work at this company. I will definitely be making the most of the rest of my time here at ISlide and I look forward to recapping all the knowledge I have gained!

Half way through MCAD internship

The most advantageous aspect of interning at MCAD is how much interns are able to observe and become directly involved in the process. Throughout the course of our internships, we are scheduled to attend an investigative conference, a mediation conference, and an appeals hearing. These opportunities have allowed to me progress through my defined learning goals. Not only do I get a chance to read dozens of different cases, but I also get to see how different processes and steps work. During the mediation conference, I got to see a complainant and a respondent settle on a monetary amount after the complainant’s case was found by MCAD to have probable cause of discrimination. While I cannot go into great detail about the cases or the conferences, it has been great to get a chance to observe and ask the mediators and attorneys questions afterwards. Everyone is very willing to help and explain how the organization deals with differing situations. I am becoming more and more familiar with discrimination law, both on the state and federal level, just from my work with cases as I am usually the first person to see a case when it is sent to the housing department.

My goals for this internship included not only learning about discrimination law, but also figuring out if I am interested in pursuing a career in this area.   I already know that I want to go to law school and that I am interested in civil rights, but I wanted to see if I liked both working in anti-discrimination law and working for the state. As far as working for the state, I have found it a bit difficult to deal with the bureaucracy in general but admire the work that is done. I am learning that working for the state means being connected to different state and federal organizations as well. For example, when MCAD takes a housing case, we also have to file with HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). This means entering the case both into our system and HUD’s system (TEAPOTS), then waiting for approval. As the case goes on, there are tons of different steps that have to be taken. This allows the case to be reviewed by different organizations such as HUD and the BFHC (Boston Fair Housing Commission).Department_of_Housing_and_Urban_Development[1]

As far as working with anti-discrimination law, it still may be something I am interested in pursuing, but not at the state level. Cases tend to take an extremely long time just to be investigated because of how many cases each investigator is assigned to. I also want to be able to do other types of law and litigation along with anti-discrimination law.
Despite some reservations, I still find the internship to be enjoyable. Because there are so many interns, I have gotten a chance to become very close with some of them and we have lunch and go out all the time. I also feel that because I am in the housing department which is smaller, I have had to work harder to adjust and learn how to do things. This was difficult at first, but now I see it as a new skill (thinking on my feet) that I have had to develop as a result. This is something I believe will help me greatly in future internships and jobs. I also am honing skills in my attention to detail. At MCAD, it is crucial that everything be entered correctly. Even in intake, if we do something wrong when writing the complaint, often we cannot just change it but have to go through an amendment process because we are working with legal documents. This has taught me to be extremely cautious with my work, especially when people’s cases can be effected by the complaint I write for them.

Finally, I am most proud of the work I have been able to do on intake. As I mentioned in my first post, I am on intake for one full day a week and have to see clients and write complaints for them. First, the attorneys who review the complaints I write give me great feedback and have told me that my complaints are very well written. Also, I am especially proud of one of the complaints I wrote. The complaint went to the housing department so I got to enter it in and one of the best investigators took the case. She has scheduled an investigative conference in August so that I will be able to attend. I think the case is very strong for the complainant and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Veronica Saltzman

Halfway Through the Summer at McLean Hospital

This summer has been full of exciting new research at the Behavioral Health Partial Program at McLean Hospital. I have accomplished a lot since the beginning of the summer. My main learning goals consisted of acquiring knowledge about the process behind writing a publishable research article, and I am certainly forming an understanding. I learned how to complete a full literature search and formed a database of all of the articles relevant to our research paper, which will address the predictors of suicidality in patients with psychosis. Based on past research, we chose what predictors to include in our model. Upon doing so, we assessed the chosen factors for significance and found those that relate to suicidal ideation. I learned about the statistics behind the analyses used in our study. Thus, I have already learned how to complete a literature search, hypothesize and formulate a model, and understand statistical analyses. Recently, I completed a rough draft of the introduction and methods section of the paper.

The building to the left is the BHP headquarters.  (http://cdasr.mclean.harvard.edu/index.php/participate/directions)
The building to the left is the BHP headquarters. (http://cdasr.mclean.harvard.edu/index.php/participate/directions)

These have not been the only projects I have completed. I am also working on completing a bigger literature search for a cognitive biased modification (CBM) experiment that is ongoing, along with nearly completing a visual timeline of BHP measures. I have read widely about CBM, and am continuing to learn more about the effect of this type of treatment on mental health. From the timeline of measures I learned and understood the current and past surveys administered at the BHP. This timeline will also provide comprehensive information about the surveys for other researchers who are using BHP data. The timeline will visually show how long certain surveys were administered to patients and how many patients have completed the surveys. Overall, I have learned a lot about forming a study, analyzing data, and writing drafts. I have also been involved with other studies within the BHP and have gotten the chance to help make data more organized for others to use.

My daily BHP materials.
My daily BHP materials.

I recognize my growth in research knowledge as I read studies for literature searches, which are becoming easier to complete. It has become easier to understand other papers’ rationale and methodology. When starting the rough draft of the paper, I found it easier to write than my past psychology papers.

I am most proud of the work I have completed on the suicidality and psychosis paper, and it is exciting for me to begin the process of drafting and re-writing. It took a lot of work to get everything completed and to begin writing. So far, I feel like I have gained a better understanding of the research process, which will be useful if I am involved in research in the future. I have also gained a sense of what research is like in a treatment setting, which has given me the opportunity to better understand the field I hope to pursue. Besides understanding, I have gained focus and persistence, along with skills in maneuvering SPSS, Excel, BHP databases, and online databases.

Lauryn Garner, ’15

A little more than halfway done interning with the Boston Public Health Commission

It is amazing how quickly this summer has gone by and that I am more than half way done interning with the Boston Public Health Commission.  BPHC’s inspections of Boston public schools is completed for now, so I have been shadowing health inspectors as they conduct inspections in small businesses such as nail and hair salons.  I also went to an emergency health hazard call at a restaurant in Mattapan where a sewage pipe burst in the basement of the building complex, which also affected a neighboring barbershop.  The restaurant’s permit for operation was suspended until the matter was cleared up and they passed a follow-up inspection.  I still find it  interesting to observe the protocol for each inspection, in different types of businesses, that the commission deals with on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to shadowing these inspections, a majority of my work this month was directed towards finding an affordable ventilation system for nail salons that meets the new regulation standards.  Recent regulations put into effect by the commission regarding ventilation in nail salons include an increased outdoor airflow rate and the banning of recycled air within the salons.  These requirements follow those set forth by the International Mechanical Code of 2009 http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/imc/2009/icod_imc_2009_4_par015.htm and must be fulfilled by October of this year.  Most of the salons will have trouble meeting this deadline for financial reasons, as existing ventilation systems that fulfill the requirements are pricey.

Finding appropriate ventilation for the salons is difficult as well because specific requirements pose different challenges.  For example, the zero percent recycled air requirement will make it hard for salons to retain heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, so a system that can fulfill the need of exhausting air without losing heat is ideal, but expensive.  This is why the commission is working with students at Wentworth Institute of Technology on developing an affordable system.  I was tasked with trying to find a mechanical engineer who was familiar with the International Mechanical Code of 2009 and was interested in partnering with the Wentworth students on developing a system. However, none so far have shown a strong interest because the scope of the project is daunting, or because they are unfamiliar with the needs of the nail salons.

Lastly, I have continued to do educational outreach with nail salons and auto body shops through the commission’s Green and Clean program http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/healthy-homes-environment/green-and-clean/Pages/Green-and-Clean.aspx.  This involves going out to new auto body shops throughout Boston to inform them about the program and its benefits, such as free advertising of your business on the commission’s website as being a “green” business.  If a business decides to sign on, then a follow-up walk through is conducted and if enough points are earned, then the business passes.  For auto body shops, points can be made for initiatives like recycling oil or windshield glass, in addition to using a water based primer instead of an oil based one.  Overall, my experience with the commission continues to be personally fulfilling as I feel that I am directly impacting the improvement of public health within the city of Boston, which is a fantastic feeling at the end of each day. I look forward to seeing what project I get involved in next.

IMG_0309IMG_0326To the left is a picture of a typical flammable storage container and it is required that all flammable or volatile chemicals be stored within one, such as the acetone seen in the picture in a nail salon.

To the right is a paint spraying room in an auto body shop.  One of the point based initiatives in the Green and Clean program is that all paint spraying conducted in an auto body shop must take place in one of these regulation spraying rooms with proper ventilation.

-Ben Krause ’15

BR Guest Midpoint

As I am passing the midpoint of this internship I find the event quite bittersweet. Although I am so grateful for all that I have learned and elated that this opportunity came into my life, I am sad to think it is coming to a close. Even though I still have weeks left at the office, I know that they will fly by and before I can blink, this experience will have ended.

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At the start of my internship I set certain goals for myself: academic, career, and personal. As the internship unfolds I can see my initial goals becoming fulfilled. Academically I wanted to apply my psychology and business knowledge to the world of Human Resources. I find on a daily basis I use the skill set I have learned from my courses at Brandeis. Whether conducting an interview and using knowledge from “Personality” to get a sense of a person in 20 minutes from body language and how they talk, from sitting in on a meeting with directors and understanding certain business concepts, my academic career has proven to be a tremendous aid in the corporate world. My career goals were to experience HR in full and to gain experience in the corporate world. As previously described, this internship provides a 360 degree view of all aspects of HR, and as I am progressing in this position, I find myself taking on more responsibilities. I am becoming a self sufficient employee and considered a full member of the Human Resources team.

Leading employees through paperwork at oreintation
Leading employees through paperwork at oreintation

As seen in the photos above, I have moved from simply assisting to leading employees through orientation. I am most proud of that I am learning so much and applying what I learned. I can do tasks myself and am trusted to carry out those important tasks. I am truly taking a leadership role in the internship and taking in and learning everything I possibly can.

As for the personal goals I set, since previously being a hostess I was excited to learn about the restaurant industry from the corporate perspective. Not only am I able to learn about this from a Human Resources stance but as a part of the internship project I get to learn about the restaurant industry from the view of all the departments. From marketing, purchasing, finance, to operations, through this project I am able to see exactly what is necessary to create a functioning and smooth running restaurant and corporation.

I am learning every single day and the skills I am developing I will carry out well after this internship ends. From fine tuning my skill set in Excel to learning other programs and techniques, I will continue to carry out and expand my knowledge throughout the school year. Additionally, this internship undoubtedly is creating a sort of discipline within me that I can apply to my future career at Brandeis. It will cause me to be more professional, more thoughtful, create a schedule, and handle certain tasks that I may have thought overwhelming in the past to something manageable. Commuting alone instills a discipline, getting up early every morning and having what feels like an entire day go by before you even set foot in the office at 9am. This along with all I am learning in the office are tools I will set up in my academic life to become more successful.

Midway through my internship at ioby

I am more than halfway through my internship and I have learned a lot, although sometimes in ways that I did not expect. When I came into my internship I thought that I would mostly learn about cities and the effects that local community projects have on a neighborhood. In my WOW application I wrote that I had a desire to learn about different projects through phone interviews. During my time at ioby I have been tasked with running a follow up survey to learn about the lasting impacts that ioby projects have had on their communities. These calls have been helpful in teaching me about different ideas that people have for their neighborhoods. Learning about creative small scale urban projects will help me continue my academic growth as I pursue my IIM in urban studies and possible career path in urban planning. In addition to this my phone conversations have allowed me to interact with a variety of people across the country that I would otherwise be unable to meet.

Reflecting back on when I started my internship, I initially thought that I had not gained any new skills but after giving it some thought I have realized that growth can sometimes be hard to detect. I feel that this internship has helped me become more comfortable cold calling people on the phone. I feel like I am part of my organization, a concept that takes some getting used to. This feeling of being part of an organization has made it a lot easier to speak for ioby (our policies, mission etc.). This process has been facilitated by attending weekly meetings with the full staff. During these meetings every person shares what they have done last week and what their plans are for the next week. In addition, we practice sharing stories of our project leaders. We have also had the opportunity to ask open questions to the co-founders of the organization.

While I have learned a great deal about urban projects, I did not expect to learn so much about non-profits as a whole. The organization that I am interning for, ioby, is a very small non-profit. At the headquarters there are only 3 full time staff members. I have had the awesome opportunity to work in the same room as everybody in the organization which has given me an interesting perspective as to the daily happenings of a nonprofit organization. I am glad that I have been able to learn so much through my internship and I look forward to learning more in the coming weeks. Bellow I have attached two pictures that are examples of projects that I have been able to learn about through my interviews.


Revamp and Rebuild raised money to rebuild a community garden


Prenatal Yoga en el Bronx offers bilingual prenatal fitness to low income communities in the Bronx

– Josh Berman ’15

Already halfway done at the Consortium!

Taking a break from my internship, I sit in the campus center on the UMB campus. In front of me is an expansive array of flags overlooking the atrium. And also across from me, a fellow intern is hard at work, reading through articles related to her research project. After settling in with the organization, I split my time working in and outside of the office. Outside of UMB, you can usually find me at the Boston Public Library or various coffee shops around the area.

UMB Campus Center Atrium

Just yesterday, I had my probationary interview with the staff at the Consortium. Since our first meetings after orientation, I have not had the chance to talk to the staff one-on-one. I looked forward to meeting with them again after spending the last few weeks getting to know each other. Talking with my supervisors this time around, I felt much more comfortable sitting in the office and discussing my work with the Consortium. In addition to the probationary meeting, I submit weekly updates to check in with the staff and create a plan of action for each new project that I take on. To keep a record of all the work I do with the organization, I also keep an individual plan of action for my time with the Consortium.

Since starting my internship, I have decided to take on projects that are less researched based, which was my initial focus when applying to the Consortium this summer. After completing an independent study project abroad, I had spent plenty of time researching and decided that I wanted a break from this type of work. The flexibility of the Consortium’s internship program allowed me to continue honing my research skills, while mainly focusing on non-research based projects. From completing budgeting documents to organizing the cloud storage space, I spend the majority of my time with administrative tasks for the organization. The nature of the internship requires however that every intern take on a research project and shortly after beginning my internship, I received my research topic, Gendered International Political Economies of War and Post-Conflict! My research topic relates well with my study of anthropology and economics at Brandeis and has shown me a new side of issues related to gender and armed conflict.

Intern bonding at the Franklin Park Zoo! – Photo courtesy of Madochee Bozier

Aside from my main projects at the Consortium, I’m really proud of the way that the interns and staff have been bonding these past few weeks. My fellow Networking Director and I make sure to create plenty of opportunities for everyone to interact. We have planned lunches, trips to the zoo, and even yoga! My favorite type of event that we’ve had is definitely the intern and staff lunches outside. Overlooking the harbor, both intern and staff sit outside under the trees and picnic by the water. Already over a month into the internship, I cannot believe that in a few weeks I will be leaving the Consortium! Although a short period of time, that’ll be more than enough to have a few more lunches outside with my fellow interns and the staff.

View of the waterfront from UMB!

Iris ’15

Mid-point of my FDD internship

At the mid-point of my internship, I feel that I am making considerable progress on my learning goals. At FDD, I have had the opportunity to draft analytical pieces and conduct granular research on a daily basis. I am also able to collaborate with senior research fellows who help to shape and focus my analysis. My internship has sharpened my writing skills because I am forced to write concisely and expediently to meet the deadlines and expectations established by my supervisors. Moreover, I am constantly shifting projects and topics, which has improved my ability to quickly synthesize information and provide analysis based on the limited information available. Finally, I am sometimes tasked to do research on certain obscure issues that have not been sufficiently covered in the Western media. As a result, I must rely on foreign language sources and build off of incomplete information, two facets of my work environment that have greatly enhanced my research skills. Although there is no established or institutionalized mechanism that allows me to track my growth during the internship, I receive constant feedback and constructive criticism from my supervisors. This feedback loop has greatly improved my writing and analytical skills and forced me to engage at a deeper level with the research material I handle.


I have also had the opportunity to write for a general audience at FDD. I am most proud of the three pieces that I have coauthored that have been published online in various locations. I am currently monitoring conflict and tracking the evolution of violent non-state actors in North Africa and I have collaborated on two research products pertaining to the current conflict between two militia coalitions in Benghazi, Libya. I have compiled resources and produced written reports on the nascent violent struggle in Benghazi and have also designed two graphics that map out kinetic activities (i.e. violent attacks) in the city. In addition, I helped to produce briefing material for war games concerning the potential spillover of violence in Iraq into neighboring countries. The latter assignment was particularly engaging for me because it allowed me to anticipate events and consider contingency plans should violence escalate in neighboring countries. This thought exercise also provided me with an insight into the war planning process that occurs within the government as policymakers seek to predict events and suggest possible policies to help manage crises.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this internship has had a fundamental impact on my analytical skills and research abilities. The skills that I am cultivating at FDD will serve me tremendously in both my academic career and in my professional life. I feel much more comfortable as a writer because I am frequently writing reports and memos and have little time to agonize over a future project. Perhaps the most important skill learned at FDD that I will be able to transfer back to an academic setting is my ability to assess research and identify gaps within the analysis of my peers. This skill will be highly useful in helping me to identify flaws within my work as I continue to write papers at Brandeis. This internship has been a very valuable learning experience thus far and I look forward to continuing the work and applying the skills that I have learned in an academic environment.

First Week Reflections at MataHari

It’s been an exciting summer, to say the least.

During my first week I jumped right into action at MataHari, a Boston-based women’s social justice nonprofit organizing to end gender-based violence and exploitation.  The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights passed the Massachusetts Senate only a few weeks prior, and the Bill was on the slate for the MA House of Representatives the following week.  The excitement and energy in the office was huge.  MataHari had been organizing for the past four year with several other groups like the Massachusetts Domestic Workers’ Coalition on the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights to reach a vote in MA State congress.  Additionally, International Domestic Workers’ Day was the following Monday (June 16th) which added an extra layer of pressure to the big event.

In the midst of all the excitement, I began my work the Hacker in Residence Intern by developing a plan for MataHari’s new website, hoping for a timely launch near the prospective passage of the DWBoR.  I worked closely with my supervisor to discuss the essence of MataHari, the target audience, and other aspects necessary for developing a solid sitemap for a new website.  We both began to layout design suggestions as I looked into developing the requisite code for creating features to meet what we determined to be MataHari’s specific needs, a process during which I started to greatly improve my project planning skills, client communication skills, and technical (design and coding) skills – which are all part of my career and classroom goals I planned to hone this summer.  Perhaps the most invigorating part of this process, though, was talking with my supervisor Monique about what MataHari’s members (many of whom are domestic workers, caregivers, and women of color) were looking for in a site, what resources and information they wanted to see, and what their vision was for the organization.  One of the most enriching aspects of this work, and this internship in general, is just the ability to ask questions – of my supervisor, of other interns, and of community members – and to learn their thoughts on different social justice issues, such as the integration of community organizing, advocacy and legislation – and how they best see the intersectionality addressed in the realm of technology.

My enthusiasm and enrichment only grew the second week when we held the International Domestic Workers’ Day Celebration at the MataHari office.  As the interns and small staff prepared for the evening celebration, I began to learn a lot about our different working and communication styles – an aspect of having coworkers I hadn’t had to think so carefully about before.  It was a great learning experience, though, as throughout the late afternoon we started to communicate more effectively what we did and didn’t need in terms of instruction and organization.

I was in charge of the Karaoke, which according to my supervisor was to be the focal point of the celebration!  I was fairly nervous setting up the equipment and the technical details as I prepared to DJ in front of a crowded room of our sister organizations as well as community members and domestic workers whom I had not yet met!  As the other interns and I ushered folks into the room, I sat down and began to take requests.  Monique, our supervisor, told all the interns that as part of our “initiation” we had to sing!  While she said so jokingly, she did make the point that putting ourselves out there did help create a safer space for everyone to put themselves out there — and that “leadership” is, partially, reliant on demonstration, creating comfort for all other parties to step up and feel safe, and then stepping back as parties begin to feel confident in that space.

Karaoke was a true blast.  My fellow intern Chrystal and I sang the Spanglish version of “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan and David Bisbal, and the room went wild.  MataHari members, caregivers, and children sprung up waving their hands back and forth, people sang along with us, and the energy among us was amazing.  Next, person by person and group by group people came up to me to request songs, and there was something beautiful about each performance.

While we were focused on celebrating International Domestic Workers’ Day and the passage of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in Congress, we also laughed, danced and sang together as a community, and that was when I saw the real power in the work we do.



– Emmy Calloway, 2015


A little over halfway at GVAHEC and LOVING it!

I have been at my internship with the Greater Valley Area Health Education Center (GVAHEC) for just over a month, and it is incredibly gratifying to reflect on how much I have already accomplished.  I have taught four weeks of classes at the Maricopa Integrated Health Systems’ (MIHS) Family Learning Centers, helped implement a new program at GVAHEC that provides children with free meals, and also conducted data extraction and analysis for all individuals that came to GVAHEC within the last couple months.

The classes I have taught at MIHS clinics covered a range of public health and safety topics including Fire Safety, Firework Safety, Germs & Handwashing, and Bike Safety.  Next week I will be teaching a class on Sun Safety.  In addition to expanding my range of topics, I was given the responsibility to develop the curriculum and lesson plans for this next class on my own, from the ground up.  I am excited to see my hard work in action!  Most days, we have about 10 kids at each class, but every location is different, with different demographics and children of different ages.  Developing a curriculum for children aged 0-14 is difficult because of the large age range, but it has already been extremely rewarding.

On the campus of GVAHEC, we have begun working with Kids Cafe, a national movement to help give anyone under 18 free, healthy meals.  You can learn more about Kids Cafe here.  GVAHEC runs Kids Cafe on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00-12:45, and on Wednesday nights from 5:30-6:15.  It is an amazing feeling to be able to hand a child a Kids Cafe package and to know that I am helping to feed a child that would otherwise go without a meal.  My fellow interns and I are leading this program.  In just a few weeks we have fed hundreds of children. Nothing has felt better than knowing I am improving the health of these kids.

A typical Kids Cafe meal. Last Wednesday, we gave out 75 meals in one night!
A typical Kids Cafe meal. Last Wednesday, we gave out 75 meals in one night!

My boss was out of town last week, so my fellow interns and I buckled down and did some intense paper work. When an individual comes into the center, they fill out a face sheet with demographic information and the resources they need.  We extracted this data into excel documents and analyzed the results.  This was a truly eye-opening experience.  For example, we discovered that in May 2014 only 3% of people that came through the center were ineligible for the Working Poor Tax Credit.  In other words, 97% of the people we help are living in poverty.  Crunching numbers and assessing data is vital to our work.  I personally learned about the full range of work and services we provide, and by assessing our efforts we yielded results that can now be used to receive more grant funding and to validate how much GVAHEC is doing.

I cannot choose just one thing I am proud of this summer.  Everything I am doing helped me confirm how much I truly want a future in Public Health, as well as how badly systemic changes are needed to improve the health of the individuals and communities we serve.  It is truly a great feeling to finally be comfortable in my work and to work alongside people who share my passion for service and change (and even to pig out sometimes with my fellow interns).  I also have the opportunity to meet regularly with my supervisor to discuss my work and expectations for the week ahead.  It is a little sad knowing I will be leaving GVAHEC in a few short weeks, but I am thrilled that I still have a lot to do before then!

One of my fellow interns, my supervisor and I collaborating (with snacks!)
One of my fellow interns, my supervisor and I collaborating (with snacks!)



McLab Midpoint

Five weeks after I started working again at the McAllister Lab of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, I am already halfway done with my internship! Since I started, I have been very busy running all different types of experiments. Some tasks that I have been busy doing are immunohistochemistry, protocol optimization, and tissue culture. There have definitely been obstacles along the way, including faulty reagents and cell line contamination, but I have been trying pace myself and take it all with a grain of salt.

After the first week, I started feeling comfortable with working more independently in the lab. I was stressed during that first week, but once I figured out what I needed to do, it felt just like it did last summer when I was working without my mentor. In the past few weeks, I have been planning experiments with my given timetable, and it’s not as scary as I initially thought it would be. Unfortunately, even when I plan well in advance for some experiments, I have stopped by the lab during weekends because of time-sensitive protocols. (The cells don’t take a break!) I have also been receiving a lot of guidance along the way from two other post-doctoral researchers and the current lab manager in terms of guiding me through procedures, so I am extremely grateful for their assistance.

At this moment, I am most proud of my ability to plan out my days so that each are very productive. When I was a summer student here during previous years, there were some occasions where I would have down-time. This summer, I have much less down-time because I am so busy running experiments. I feel that every day that I am here, I am making very good use of my time. With regard to project progression, I generated some data that was inconsistent with previous results. In a mouse experiment with old and young mice bearing breast cancer tumors, I previously found differences in the presence of a certain type of protein. However, this time around, I found that there was no difference. The data was unexpected, but it is very important for us to consider when the paper for the Aging Project gets written. I have been learning new lab skills, such as working with dilutions and graphing tumor kinetics data on Excel. I previously haven’t had much experience with generating figures from a data set, so I am now glad that I am able to do so. I have also learned the importance of analyzing data blindly – that is, reviewing qualitative data as objectively as possible by hiding the different cohorts there are in an experiment. As a future scientist, it will be very important for me to keep this in mind; it is best to generate and review data in this fashion because bias can easily skew interpretation.

Finally, in addition to everything I have been learning and experiencing in the lab, I have been having a great experience outside of all the benchwork. I am definitely building stronger networks by talking more to my other labmates and getting a chance to talk to those who are in other labs. In fact, I had the fortune of having a great conversation with a Brandeis 2012 alum who worked in one of the neighboring labs; he left the state for medical school the week afterwards. And lastly, each year the McAllister Lab has annual social events with the Dr. Robert Weinberg Lab of MIT’s Whitehead Institute, Dr. McAllister’s post-doctoral research affiliation. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Weinberg himself at both the annual Weinberg Picnic and Weinberg Beach Day.

Dr. Sandra McAllister Lab at the annual Dr. Robert Weinberg Picnic
McLab Members at the annual Weinberg Beach Day at Wingaersheek Beach (Gloucester, MA). We named our new friend McCrab!
McLab Members at the annual Weinberg Beach Day at Wingaersheek Beach (Gloucester, MA). We named our new friend McCrab!

Irene Wong, ’17


Midpoint at NYC Seminar and Conference Center

Wow. I am already at the midpoint of my internship at NYC Seminar and Conference Center (NYCSCC). My work at NYCSCC has definitely picked up its speed since my first week. I am exploring the finances of a company in a small business hospitality industry and have learned so much already.

I am proud of the Financial Analysis project that I am working on with a fellow intern. One of the project’s goals is to build a financial model that would tell a person how the company is doing financially based on certain factors. In order to complete this project, I am applying my Financial and Managerial Accounting knowledge to analyze the cash flow statements of the company. This is an exhilarating experience for me because I can actually apply the accounting material I have learned at Brandeis to analyze a company’s finances.

Another subdivision of the project is to evaluate the pricing of NYCSCC rooms based on the conclusions I have drawn from my financial analysis. Although I have not reached this point in the project yet, I am keeping this in mind as I am looking at the data I have compiled. I am happy about the progress that I am making so far in this project!

The majority of the work that I am doing for the projects requires the use of Excel. Becoming more familiar with Excel was one of my learning goals for this internship, and I am happy to say that I am building my Excel skills. Honing this skill will help me in future jobs since Excel is one of the most used business softwares among many companies.

Throughout this internship, I am building my analytical skills. When some of the data that I need for the project is missing, I have to figure out what the best method is to back into it, given the data that we have. Since I am dealing with a lot of financial data, I have to sort through it and decide what is relevant and what is not relevant when building the financial model. After compiling and analyzing this data, I draw conclusions to see if there are any noticeable trends or unusual occurrences. This step-by-step analytical skill is preparing me for future business and economics classes at Brandeis, where I envision myself doing projects that involve analytical thinking.

Teamwork is required for the work that I do. When I hit roadblocks in the project, I am grateful to be able to talk about them with a fellow intern, my mentor, and a company owner. They offer advice about ways to solve these challenges, and it feels great to be able to bounce ideas back and forth with each other. The collaboration involved in my intern work is preparing me for the real world. In any future career path that I embark on, I will always have to work in teams on company projects and be able to communicate ideas with other team members.

I am enjoying my experience at NYCSCC and am excited to continue my progress on the projects!

A beautiful view of NYC from NYCSCC


Mid-Point Post from UMB Campus Center

I’m a little more than 50% done with my summer internship and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by! This summer has already been incredibly educational and I’ve had chances to develop myself professionally and personally. Knowing that I only have 5 and a half weeks left makes me even more motivated to make the absolute most out of the learning experiences I’ve had.

So far, the Consortium has given me the chance to expand my research skills, improve my work ethic and meet a few really interesting people! I am currently working on an extremely extensive research project on Gender and Environmental Security. I inherited over 100 PDFs on the topic and my job is to make sure the entire database is organized into subtopics and to further expand it with up-to-date scholarly materials. Once this is done, I will write an annotated bibliography in which every document has a proper citation and notes! While this task sounds pretty daunting, I can’t wait to be able to say that I am quite familiar with a really important topic and that I’ve organized all this information in an accessible way for those who may need it – namely NGOs all over the world that will hopefully apply scholarly information to their grassroots organizing.

On top of this research project, I am also dealing with a few documents that contain very specific UN language and topics, such as country background reports. Being part of the NGO Working Group on Women, we create materials that are to be used as reference for all other NGOs in the group. This mostly means updating documents reflecting the UN’s progress in applying resolution 1325 to a variety of countries, in a variety of settings such as post-conflict.

While all of this seems like a lot to balance every day, work life has been made easier by the wonderful group of fellow interns I’ve been lucky enough to meet. With only 3 paid staff members, the Consortium runs almost solely on interns. Due to the nature of our organization, we mostly end up being female rising seniors from excellent Universities all over the country, all interested in NGO work, research and gender analysis. I didn’t think I could find that many people interested in all of these things!

For the second half of my time at the Consortium, I hope to continue to develop relationships and skills. Most importantly, I look forward to tying this learning experience to time I have left at Brandeis, developing a senior thesis topic, preparing to apply to grad school, jobs, etc! Let’s hope it doesn’t fly by way too fast because it has truly been a wonderful summer!

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This is my view from the place I spend the most time in – The UMass Boston Campus Center.


Midpoint reflections at ABC

As the mid point of my internship is here I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. Looking back on my goals outlined in my application for the WOW Grant it is amazing to see how this internship has allowed me to reach my goals and inspired new ones for the next half of the summer. I hoped to expand my knowledge on housing and education inequality in New York City and I most certainly have done that. I have, and continue to, reach my goal to understand how policies created by the mayor and New York Government effect people on a day to day basis. I have also been able to accomplish learning about social work degrees and grad school options through conversations I have had with my co-workers. I can tell I have learned a lot on the issues at hand because in the first couple of weeks at work I would have to research a lot of the resources discussed daily between social workers and now I can participate and even suggest using certain tools in my discussions with the social workers based on research I have already done.  I have learned exactly how much the NYC system creates a sometimes tedious process for many families to receive the needs they request due to the piles of paperwork I have helped them fill out simply to receive benefits and home services. I have also become much quicker at navigating the New York City government resources website and compiled resources for the social workers to use in a Resource Guide on our shared hard drive in the office.


Example of a resource tool for our clients on staying safe from the Family Justice Center flyers
Example of a resource tool for our clients on staying safe from the Family Justice Center flyers

I am most proud of my idea for ABC to become partners with corporations to receive donations of goods our families need. One of the things many New Yorkers take for granted in the hot summer is the fact that when they go home they get to be in the AC. Many of our clients live without AC in small apartments, over crowded with many family members. Another large donation request we have is for baby items, leading me to do research on baby stores the generate donations from overstock or returned goods. We will hopefully become partners with corporations before my time at ABC is over so that I can personally handle the paperwork and applications needed to go forward with this proposal. I am most proud of this research project because I feel it is something that will last after I have to leave, and could be a long term solution to many of our clients requests. For example, the organization Good360 creates year long contracts between NGOs and the providers.

I am building skills to conduct quick research and find contact information that is normally hidden on websites in order to contact people personally when trying to access information for a client. This is a good tool to have in future jobs as finding personal contacts when dealing with large organizations is often a tricky task. I have also become extremely self aware of my limits on how much trauma I can listen to in one day, and also of practicing self care – a very useful tool in social work and humanitarian aid jobs. Balancing aiding others while taking care of one’s own mental and physical state is a vital skill.  I now know how I affected I can be by secondhand trauma stories and how not to get overly emotionally attached to clients, while caring for them at the same time. Through the research I am doing on corporate partnerships, I am also learning how to write grant applications – a skill I know I will need in future jobs and on my own grad school applications. Overall I feel like everything I have done from research to self-learning will aid me in the future as I have learned a lot about myself through this internship and the kind of work I am / am not interested in pursuing.


The colorful school hallways on the lower floors of the building are lovely to walk through when stressed at work!
The colorful school hallways on the lower floors of the building are lovely to walk through when stressed at work!

– Alex Hall

Mid-way at AJWS

I can’t believe how the time has flown! It has been over five weeks since I started interning at American Jewish World Service and although it’s not so obvious from day to day, when I look back over the past five weeks I can see that I have grown a tremendous amount.

I came into this internship with a few specific goals for myself, and I believe I am well on my way to reaching them. One of my goals was to gain a new level of independence, and living and working in New York City has been the perfect circumstance for reaching this goal. I have never before had to take on so much responsibility for myself as now.  Even though I lack my standard support system of parents, professors and close friends here, or rather because I lack that system, I have managed to cope with the everyday trials and tribulations of life on my own. I feel confident now in my ability to look after myself.

Professionally,  my goal for my time here is to network. This was not easy for me at first, but I’ve gotten the hang of it. I’ve already met with two colleagues outside of my department here to learn about their jobs, and I have appointments scheduled to meet with two more. Informally, I have also spoken with many other AJWS employees about their jobs and their personal stories. I can see that not only am I forming strong connections here, but I am also gaining the skills to do the same elsewhere.

Finally, I set myself the goal to try grow academically during the summer by gaining new skills that can also benefit me at school. One skill that I have really picked up from AJWS that will be helpful is self-reflection. My team here seems to truly value taking time out just to think as a tool for productivity. I have practiced that here and found that my work has improved after some reflection time. This is a skill I will take back with me to Brandeis.

I am monitoring my growth with the help of my supervisor, John, as he has taken special interest in supporting my professional development. Every week, the two of us sit down and go over my goals and work on how to further them. With John’s help, my goals are constantly in my mind, and I have them printed out and pinned to my cubicle wall. This has been very helpful.

Right now, I am most proud of the relationships that I am building. It is my natural inclination to keep to myself, but I have made an effort to get to know my fellow interns and colleagues, and I have been truly rewarded for this effort. I am forging true friendships this summer, and that is wonderful! I am also becoming very good at organizing social activities among the interns. Relationship-building skills are key, and I intend to carry these skills over to Brandeis, both academically and in my involvement with the Mock Trial Association. Thanks to AJWS, I’ve come to see the importance of creating and maintaining strong relationships in every aspect of life.

– Jessi Puterman ’15

Back on the Horse: First Week Reflections

Last summer, I dove head first into the realm of domestic violence prevention and treatment services. I was doe-eyed and fresh out of my first few HSSP courses, eager and inspired to affect change and challenge inequality. As all internships are meant to do, my previous summer’s experience gave me exposure and insight into a field with complex sociopolitical quandaries, and with only surface knowledge in the subjects of women’s health, mental health, and public policy, I was determined to get back on the horse and pursue another summer internship educating myself. Through the recommendation of my program director at NoVA (The Non-Violence Alliance, CT), I found Emerge, a Domestic Violence and Anger Management Counseling Service centered in Boston, MA, which, as I discovered within my first week, had more than enough resources to expand my knowledge in the field of social services. Founded in 1977, Emerge was the first abuser education program in the nation, and has been at the forefront of combating domestic violence and sexual abuse, taking an intersectional approach within the design of the curriculum.

David Adams, Executive Director of Emerge: Domestic Violence Training Video

I emailed the office manager, per request of the Emerge website, and heard back regarding a Skype interview within the week. By the next week, I was meeting with the program director and office manager via webchat to conduct a brief interview. I demonstrated my passion for the kind of work Emerge accomplishes, as well as my pseudo-expertise in working with clientele, probation offices, and DCF agencies, and soon enough, I was invited to come into the office for an introduction to the office setup and procedures. I was familiar with the design of the program: the client type was primarily male offenders, court-ordered to our program as part of their probationary conditions, referred by DCF as part of a service plan, or self-referred to better their current relationship. The program focused on two stages: an educational stage in which the men are instructed on the basics of respectful communication, self-talk, and various behaviors considered violent and abusive, such as verbal, psychological, or financial abuse, and a second stage where the group members are encouraged to hold each other accountable and provide a forum for discussion under the guidance and supervision of counselors.

The office initially introduced me to old client files, cases that had been completed or terminated, so that I could read original docket paperwork, monthly client status reports, and police reports. Working with files dating back to 1980, I had a plethora of data to peruse. I would manually enter the basic client information (date of birth, address, SSN, etc.) by default, but what enraptured me was always the life that was hidden within the paperwork. The image of each client began to take shape: ‘of X origin’, ‘carpenter’, ‘homeless’; bits of data that actually were significant indicators of the individual’s biopsychosocial environment, information that would prove essential to both understand the violent and abusive behaviors of the client and to develop an approach through which to communicate with the client. However, these cases were long-since closed, and I felt myself itching to get some hands-on interactive experience.

A chart listing agencies across Massachusetts that provide services for groups such as teens, battered women, and lesbian, gay, transgender, or bi-sexual victims of violence. These agencies are safe houses, shelters, transitional housing, and multilingual/Spanish-speaking organizations.
A chart listing agencies across Massachusetts that provide services for groups such as teens, battered women, and lesbian, gay, transgender, or bi-sexual victims of violence. These agencies are safe houses, shelters, transitional housing, and multilingual/Spanish-speaking organizations.

The program directors invited me into a second-stage group to begin observations of those sessions, and this gateway to living, breathing clients enabled me to connect the dots between what I could discover on paper about an individual versus what could be gleaned from interpersonal interactions. As in intern, I was not invited to participate, but rather was able to study the approaches of the counselors, analyze the behaviors and language of the clients, and form my own conclusions. After each session, the counselors were more than happy to answer my questions or respond to any comments I had regarding the group. I will continue to observe one English-speaking group, but I am hoping to travel to the Jamaica Plain location to observe the Spanish-speaking group sessions later this summer. I am especially interested to compare how different communication styles will translate in the Spanish-speaking group, as I am a Hispanic Studies and HSSP double major looking to pursue higher education in linguistics and counseling.

While Emerge will be another stepping stone in my path to navigating my place within the field of Social Services, I am not yet ready to move on from the field of domestic violence. There are infinite ways in which one can affect positive change, especially in this line of work; I have since pursued working with Prevention Services at Brandeis, and I intend to apply all the skills that this internship will instill in me to volunteer at a rape crisis center in the Waltham area. Working at Emerge, I hope, will allow me to find my niche, a job within the Social Services where I flourish, where I can produce positive outcomes in the lives of others; at Brandeis, I have found that the bureaucracy of state-funded or federally administered programs can hinder progress for both agency and client alike. Through my summer at Emerge, I expect to learn how to combat this dilemma and provide actual support services for clients to reduce the failure rate for men who have given up on the system. Furthermore, I am ecstatic to develop my spoken-language comprehension in Spanish and to foster connections with other counselors, social workers, and professionals in this field of work that will direct me in my career as a student and (soon-to-be) professional!

Elsie Bernaiche ’15


Mid-Point Post

I gave myself learning goals before I started my internship. However, I wasn’t expecting to learn this much. I told myself that I would explore the different areas within the company (check), figure out if I enjoy industry more than academia (check), decide on when to pursue graduate school (check), and figure out whether or not I want to work at Innerscope (check). The learning curve has been steep at Innerscope and I know I am far from mastering it. However, I did reach my personal goals and have learned so much more. Not only have I been welcomed into this company, but the employees have helped me figure out which personalities I work best with, what environment suits me, and who I am.
For the longest time, I have been in denial of graduating and finding a job. I can now confirm that I have learned and grown at Innerscope because I am no longer in denial of growing up. “Learning” is definitely a difficult concept to measure without an assessment, but there are other ways. It’s not all about attending lectures and taking exams. Learning is about having the courage to explore new territory and expanding your curiosity. This type of “learning” is what I have learned during my internship. Over the past month and a half, I have had the opportunity to explore the intersection of neuroscience and market research. Of course, there is more to dive into, but from what I have explored so far, I have been able to not only understand the company, but myself as well. And this is what I am most proud of. Innerscope helped me gear towards one pathway (rather than a million). As a college student, I always worried what my major would be, what I would study, and what I would do. Innerscope helped me develop a path and it’s the best feeling a student can ask for.
For my future career and academics, I will be able to transfer my interpersonal skills and thinking-style. There is a particular way of thinking in market research, especially when most of the project managers have a Ph.D. They have taught me how to analyze, strategize, and create a project from beginning to end. I am still getting use to this way of thinking, but I will most certainly use this style of thinking in my classes back at Brandeis!

Alicia Park, ’15

Taking work ”home” – the best way possible!

When you leave home at 14 to go to a strange new country, things will most likely not always go according to plan. Whether that is following your heart instead of your brain, or just being too naive and trusting strangers more than you should, you are likely to eventually get yourself in some kind of trouble. The best part about it? It makes you pretty brave, and so incredibly resilient.

How does that relate to my summer internship, you ask? As my 6th year in the United States comes to a close, I find myself in the heart of Silicon Valley for a wonderful experience. I am currently interning at Project Happiness, a research-based nonprofit that empowers people of all ages and backgrounds to choose happier, more meaningful lives. They do so through creating an educational curriculum that is implemented in schools in over 85 countries, films, books and other outlets. Upon being offered this opportunity, I was extremely grateful that I would get to do something that is so dear to my heart – providing people around the world with resources that would lead them to live fulfilling lives – all while using the skills that I have learned in my Economics major.


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Since starting my internship two weeks ago, I have worked closely with the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. Part of what we do includes conducting business model analysis for internationally sold products, as well as researching grants and writing up proposals. Through websites like Foundation Directory Online, we have been compiling an extensive list of grants that will be chosen as part of the organization’s new fundraising strategies. Given the small, close-knit nature of the nonprofit, any work conducted is extremely valuable and has great impact on the organization’s future. I love knowing that every day, when I walk into work, I will be doing something that will be of such importance to a place I am already so passionate about! Another great part about interning at Project Happiness includes getting to participate in talks with consultants, partners and other professionals that conduct pro bono work for the organization.

Not only have the social and emotional learning principles that Project Happiness teaches affected me in my workplace, they have also come in handy since arriving in California. A while after arriving, I found out that my housing plans had fallen through and I had no place to go. Naturally, my brain went into flight or fight mode. After the initial nervous system response, I started using all the wonderful concepts I had learned at my workplace to put things into perspective and analyze the situation from a more rational and calm point of view. Eventually, things started coming together.

One of my favorite parts about Brandeis is staffing Alumni Reunion weekend, because I get to meet inspiring, kind, passionate people. This past alumni reunion, I met a couple from California that was on campus for their 50th class reunion. They gave me their contact information and said their doors were always open to the Brandeis family. When I called them and explained my situation, they did not hesitate to host me until I found somewhere to stay. Days like this really show you how amazing it is to be part of this wonderful home we call Brandeis!

This summer, I hope to learn extensively about nonprofit management and the different ways in which business models affect the success of a product. More importantly, I am looking forward to learning the intricacies of the professional world and teamwork. I cannot wait to see what this summer has in store, both on a professional and personal level. Bring it on, California!

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Summer at SF District Attorney Office!

I am interning at the San Francisco District Attorney Office’s in downtown San Francisco. In the District Attorney Office’s, I am placed in the Victim Services Department. We provided advocacy and support to victims of crime and witnesses to crimes. The services we provided include: assistance with “Victim Compensation Program” claims; crisis intervention and emergency assistance; help navigating the criminal justice system; resources and referrals; restitution; witness relocation; transportation; and much more. All services are free of cost.


As an intern I have a variety of duties, including filling files, updating cases and meeting with clients. In the office, there are many victim advocates that need assistance with constant updates on their cases that are in court. At the same time, as an intern I get to make contact with the clients who come to our office to check them in or to see what services they might need. Furthermore, I assist the clients with filling out the Victim Compensation Program application – those who qualify may receive financial assistance for losses resulting from a crime when they cannot be reimbursed by other sources. The program can assist with medical, dental, mental health counseling, wage income financial support, funeral burial, and job retraining.

I am in a program called Students Rising Above and they help students find internships during the summer. There are many people who applied to this internship and the selection process was competitive and included an interview that took place in February. Two weeks after this interview, I was notified and offered an internship position. Later, I was then notified if I was interested in the Victim Services department. I looked into the services that were offered and was later contacted by a victim advocate to have a phone interview. He explained to me more of what the internship in their department was consisted of. He then said if this is something that you are interested in then we would gladly like to have you on our team.

On my first day of my internship, I was extremely nervous and excited to begin. I had no idea what to expect from the people that I would be surrounded by because it was a completely new environment for me. Once I met the victim advocates I realized that I was going to have the opportunity to learn about many aspects of the legal system. The relationship with the other interns is great because we each have an interest in the legal field that makes the internship twice as better. The advocates that I work with are great because they are willing to teach us about the many different cases that they are involved in. Furthermore, they are very encouraging about letting me learn and even go to the courts to see how it is all being played out. For the summer, I hope to gain knowledge about the other side of the legal system through the eyes of the victims.

– Estela Lozano, ’16

My First Week at AFJ

This summer, I have the incredible opportunity to work at a non-profit called Alliance for Justice (also known as AFJ) as a Development intern. I am working in their office in D.C., but they have a satellite office in Oakland, California and they do work all across the country. Alliance for Justice is an association of over 100 organizations including organizations as diverse as the Children’s Defense Fund, Legal Aid Society, and the Sierra Club, that are dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have the right to have their voice heard in the governmental process and to secure justice in the judicial system. AFJ accomplishes this in two ways. First, through its Justice program, it directs its own advocacy resources to fight for a fair and independent judiciary that respects the rights of citizens and second, through its Bolder Advocacy Initiative, it helps other nonprofits engage in advocacy to affect change. Alliance for Justice also produces a film ever year that deals with controversies or injustices within the legal system. If you want to learn more about AFJ, they have a really great website here: http://www.afj.org/.  If you think you or your organization are seeking ways to increase the impact of your advocacy, bolderadvocacy.org, has some very informative tools as well as simple explanations of the laws governing non-profit advocacy.

I found this position while scrolling through B.hired, wondering if there was any possible way I could combine my passion for justice with a desire to explore the non-profit setting. It was lucky that Brandeis has such great online resources for cover letters, interviews, and searching for internships because job hunting as a study abroad student, an ocean away from your ideal market, can be intimidating. After my initial cover letter submission, I had a Skype interview for the first time, which was interesting. AFJ thought my fundraising experience on the Brandeis Debate Team would be a good match for development. A few days after my Skype interview, Chloe Hwang, AFJ’s Development Associate and my current supervisor, sent me an e-mail offering the job. I was so excited to work for an organization with such an interesting purpose.


Guys, I have my own office. I'm like a real person.
I have my own office!

As a Development intern, my duties include researching current and prospective donors and foundations, drafting briefings for meetings with donors and foundations, and providing support for the Development staff in the form of administrative and research tasks. This past week I have been researching foundations in Los Angeles to determine where AFJ might consider applying for grants. We also have our annual Justice First! Luncheon next Tuesday so the entire Development team is finishing up preparations for the event. It is a very busy time for Development. I feel like I have already been involved as part of the Development team which is so rewarding to experience as an intern. I have a few different learning goals this summer.  Additionally, I look forward to examining how the implementation of social justice works in practice. So much of my time at school is spent thinking about the theories behind social justice that it can become too abstract. On a more professional level, I intend to learn more about networking and how to form mentor-ships this summer. As a rising senior, I am beginning to think about applying for jobs next year and many people say that networking is vital to that endeavor.  I am really excited to further contribute to Development by sharpening my research skills and learning more about how a Development office functions within a non-profit.

GV A HEC? We do! My start at GVAHEC

Last week, I started my internship at the Greater Valley Area Health Education Center (GVAHEC) and am already learning and doing more than I expected. The center is located on the same campus as LifeBridge Resource Center and LIBRES (Legal Immigration-Based Resources and Education Services). The partnerships between LifeBridge, GVAHEC, and LIBRES are clear. For example, if an individual comes in needing food/clothing, help with housing, and legal help with their citizenship status, they would first come through the LifeBridge resource center. There they would have access to clothing and a food box. They would then come to GVAHEC, where I work, for a transitional housing application and sit with a resource counselor to learn about their options. After that appointment, they would next meet with someone from LIBRES, and learn about their options related to their citizenship.


Although I am only in my first week, I am already working on four different types of projects and taught a week of classes at Family Health Centers on Fire Safety across Phoenix! Coming in to this internship, I thought my role would be based mostly on clinical interventions since I am an EMT and like helping in a hands-on manner.  I am learning through this internship that there are other ways to make a difference.  For example, in my epidemiology course, we learned about primary, secondary, and tertiary preventions, and through this public health internship I will actually be doing all three.  On the primary intervention level, I am teaching classes to kids about various health risks like Firework Safety and Bike Safety as well as developing my own curriculum on Staying Safe in the Sun. In the realm of secondary intervention, we help people who are struggling with their bills by helping to pay for their utilities and prescription co-pays in the hopes that assistance will help them stabilize their finances. In this role, I sit with members to learn how they are struggling and help offer our resources. On the tertiary level, when individuals are facing eviction, we help connect them with shelters and transitional housing programs.

Teaching our first Fire Safety class
Teaching our first Fire Safety class

Public health is not only about taking vitals and using stethoscopes. All of these roles that I am playing help our community.  On my first day, a woman came in who was living out of her car with her two boys.  Because of this, one of the boys had a heat stroke from being out in the Arizona sun all day and had to go to the emergency room.  We helped the mother complete an application for transitional housing, and she is staying at a hotel until she is accepted. Housing, utilities, prescriptions, and insurance are all related to having a healthy lifestyle, and at GVAHEC, we are giving people and families in our community support to an array of interconnected factors that are important to having a healthy and stable life.


To learn more about my internships, follow these links:

Midpoint at MCDI

In the beginning of my internship, I was overwhelmed by the new faces and names that were thrown at me on a daily basis, and probably like every other new intern, nervous of my reception. However, now I have made good friends in both the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project and the Equatorial Guinea Malaria Vaccine Initiative and everyday I learn more about them. I look forward to the morning greetings, the daily giggles, the invitations to eat lunch in a coworker’s apartment, and the conversations on the ride home with the BIMCP driver who is always “on his way” and 15 minutes late. In fact, the relationships I’ve built with my diverse coworkers is my proudest accomplishment so far.

Our latest #africanwearfriday photo!

I was lucky enough to grow up a traveler and because of that I am always eager to try new things, constantly carrying an open mind on my shoulders. During my time here, I have seen my coworkers appreciate this quality about me, and have opened up to me because of it. I think that’s a very important lesson that I’ve learned when working in a different country, and it can lead to not only great relationships, but also a greater exploration in the country you are working in and in the job that you are working for.

On a daily basis I take on many roles: translator, computer technician, listener, supporter, assistant, creator, editor, student, and teacher. However, I can monitor my steady progress when I reflect on my goals I set for myself before my internship started.

My first goal was to conquer the new data compiling system. During my internship I have had the chance to test the system at different levels and typed up summary reports of the errors and suggestions I had. I have been able to make a good impact on the system and have even met with the system’s supervisor and developer that came to visit EG. It was great to suggest my ideas in person and be involved in meetings regarding the development of the system.

Even though it was planned that I be a part of a running clinical trial; I have learned that clinical trials don’t always go according to plan. Therefore, over the past weeks I’ve been concentrating on pre-clinical trial work. Recently, I’ve been nose deep in formatting, editing, and reviewing study documents (general, lab, clinical, hospital). I also created a map of patient flow during the clinical trial, participated in an HIV counseling training in Spanish and aided in nurse recruitment. I have also improved my Spanish during my stay here, constantly breaking outside my comfort zone. I’ve proof read and translated documents as well as assisted in translation between teams.

Right now, I’m planning on taking a gap year between undergrad and medical school. After working at MCDI for some time I would love to work for MCDI during the gap year. I’m thankful to have already made great friends and connections. Although, I’m not certain of what I would like to do after medical school, I have reconfirmed my desire to work overseas and have decided that I want to pursue an MD/MPH degree as well. Although finding myself is going to be a long journey, I’m glad that I’ve started to take a few steps!

Creciendo Sin Paludismo- Growing Up Without Malaria


– Jessenia Knowles ’15

First Week at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Dear all,

I hope you are enjoying your summer adventures! My summer has just begun in our amazing capital. This summer I am interning at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington DC. I applied to this internship because its mission is to promote, defend and advocate for internationally recognized human rights norms. As a Brandeis Bridges Fellow, I am very passionate about international human rights due to the many violations I have witnessed during my recent trip to Israel. Moreover as a Brandeis student, I am proud to work for the TLHRC because this commission was created in honor of the founding Congressional Human Rights Caucus Co-Chairman Tom Lantos, a Holocaust Survivor, who dedicated his congressional career to achieving human rights globally. The TLHRC now works to encourage members of congress to actively engage in human rights matters and to advocate on behalf of individuals or groups of people internationally whose human rights are violated or are in danger of being violated.
In addition to all of the TLHRC’s great work I believe its work is unique because it is a bipartisan commission. This summer I will be working on the Democratic Staff but I still have the opportunity to work very closely with the Republican Staff. The two co-chairmen who are very different individuals but can relate when it comes to their passion for human rights are Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-VA). I actually found this internship because of Congressman McGovern. Last summer and the fall after my high school graduation I interned for the Congressman’s Worcester and Leominster district offices. Through this internship experience I gained incredible connections to his staff who then helped me find this internship within a few weeks.
Being in DC for the summer is something that is not new to me because growing up I spent a lot of time visiting my cousin in Maryland. However, this time when I got to DC everything just felt different. This time I felt like I wanted to go home and be back in the care of my mom after a long, rigorous year at Brandeis. I think at first I was just nervous to be an “adult” away from home and on my own but surprisingly working at the commission did not intimidate me or scare me.
The first day of my internship was interesting but a mess on my part. I woke up at 6 AM to be sure I was as ready as I could be for our 9 AM meeting time. This is where reading emails correctly comes in handy because we were actually instructed to meet our boss at 10 AM outside of the Ford House Office Building. This is unfortunate because I was looking for the office inside the Ford House Office Building since 8:45. Thank God for smart phones because I was able to re-read the email and wait at the correct spot at 10 AM with my fellow interns. Meeting the other two interns was nice, but this is when I started to get nervous.
I quickly discovered I was the youngest fellow the commission would have and that my fellow interns were both Rangal Fellows with years of international experiences. The Rangal fellowship is a fellowship through the State Department that basically sets each fellow up to become a diplomat. Stan is a recent graduate from Northeastern, and Sara has been working internationally on refugee cases for the past six years. I was glad to know there would be other people sharing the same experience with me this summer regardless of the different stages of our lives.
After getting to know Sara and Stan we soon had our internship orientation. Through this orientation I learned that we would have a unique opportunity because we would be treated as fellows not interns. The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is a bi-partisan and unfunded commission under the Foreign Affairs Committee. This Commission is unfunded due to the budget cut on human rights so it is crucial that the Commission has fellows in order to keep running. Typically TLHRC fellows will stay up to a period of six months with one lead fellow and three other fellows. Thus said, we were expected to quickly jump into work and pick up on what the other fellows left behind.
At first this was difficult because I did not know what I was supposed to do and I felt like wasn’t doing enough. However, by the third day I found myself to be very busy and the day seemed to go by much faster. The one thing I did find difficult was getting used to the 9-5 life in a cubicle. I just kept thinking to myself, “How do people do this for their whole life?” Thankfully at the Commission it is not that bad because we have 2-3 meetings a day, but it will still be a challenge for me to get used to. From this week I have learned a lot about my studies, and myself; but I have also realized that I am not exactly sure if this is the right career path for me. But on the bright side I was able to see Nancy Pelosi at a reception on Tiananmen Square ☺
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission please visit our webpage. Also if you would like to read up on any of our current briefings or hearings please look into our hearings and briefings tab. One that I suggest you check out is our briefing on the Human Rights and the Escalation of Violence in Sudan . We have many more briefings and hearings coming up this month on the Humanitarian crisis in Iraq, Human Rights violations in Burma, and Human Rights in Haiti. I will keep you posted on both my experience and what I am working on.



At the midpoint with LFC

Wow, I cannot believe that half of my time at Lawyers for Children has flown by already! It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I was so nervous to begin a new journey at my internship. I am proud to say that I am now in a place where I have gained more knowledge than I ever could have imagined, and feel as if I have been working with LFC for ages! It feels wonderful to be doing work where I feel like I can make a difference for others.

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This is the intern conference room, where we sit each day. Look at some of my fellow interns, working so hard!

Before the summer began, I originally stated that my major goal for this process was to use this opportunity to gain insight into my future and really grow as an individual. I believe that this internship is so valuable to me in both academic and career aspects because I am able to learn about what it takes to be a social worker, as well as the more specific topic of how to work within the foster care system. At Brandeis, I am a psychology major hoping to continue on to graduate school after my senior year. However, this can seem daunting because there are so many different options and careers that can come from studying psychology. Do I want to work in human resources? Get a Masters’ degree in social work? Further my education even more for an advanced degree in psychology? Oftentimes it is difficult for those of us studying psychology to get a hands-on experience in the field. I am so fortunate that I am able to get an inside look at the life of a social worker this summer, and I can honestly say it is something I am really considering for my future. Before this summer, I did not have a great understanding of what a social worker actually did. But through working with my supervisor at LFC, I am learning the daily routines of a social worker and am able to picture myself in this position. I am even able to “pick her brain” and find out where she went to school or what courses she recommends in order to further pursue this career.

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One of the many playrooms at LFC, where interviews with clients are held. This particular room also includes a Baby Boutique where our young parenting clients can pick out clothes, books, and other necessities to bring home to their own children.

On an individual level, I am so grateful for and humbled by this experience because I truly feel that every day brings about new challenges for me. The New York City Foster Care System is extremely tough to learn about and work with…and working with these youths each day is something that I have never experienced before. It is so difficult to see kids, who are about my age, struggling to make ends meet or keep their spirits high. But each day I know that I am learning something new and gaining exposure to situations that I could only dream of seeing first hand. More than that, I know I am forming relationships with my clients and can be there for them as a much needed support system. It feels absolutely amazing when I find out that one client has finally passed her GED exam and we are the first call that she makes to celebrate; or when another client has been granted access to her own apartment and wants us to stop by so she can “show it off”. Each time that I speak with a client, not only does it feel great to actually know the specifics of what they are talking about (housing applications, insurance policies, etc.) and see that I am learning factually, but also to know I am making a difference in their lives and helping to improve their situations. I will forever use these skills, especially as I hope to progress into a social work career. I have learned what it takes to create interpersonal relationships and be a professional in this field, and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.


Injured workers and a Bruised System

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

– Emma Lazarus

Sadness needs no translation. Sofia’s[1] rapid Spanish rolled over me in waves as I sat sunk into couch cushions. Beyond “Best Western” and “cleaning maid” I relied on another intern’s translation. In the cool of a church basement in East Boston, we absorbed Sofia and Isabella’s stories. They shared a common theme: each was injured at work, their employer denied the injury had occurred on the job, and they lost their jobs.

Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health seeks to advocate and help injured workers like Sofia and Isabella. Their worker’s center helps injured workers, who primarily hail from Boston’s thriving immigrant community, navigate the workers’ compensation system. This summer, another intern and I will be compiling a report on the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. We are actively interviewing attorneys,MassCOSH injured workers, and experts to explore the contributing factors in cases of delayed medical treatment and inadequate wage replacement benefits.

When a worker is injured on the job their employer is mandated to report the injury to the Department of Industrial Accidents and pay for medical treatment and lost wages through insurance. Most of the time injured workers receive benefits without a fight. However, this process often takes a different turn for Boston’s immigrant workers. The workers that MassCOSH assists are predominantly non-English speaking, undocumented, and earn on or below the minimum wage. These immigrant workers must sometimes face their employer and its insurance company in a prolonged legal battle in pursuit of payment for medical treatment and lost wages.

The state workers’ compensation system is a mesh of contradictory incentives and complex steps. Employers without workers’ compensation sometimes attempt to avoid fines by leaving injured workers at the hospital and denying any responsibility or relationship. Employers with insurance also sometimes try to deny responsibility to avoid increasing insurance premiums. Conversely, some workers fake an injury to dishonestly collect benefits. Additionally, both lawyers and insurance companies are driven by profit incentives on opposite sides of the fight, decreasing opportunity for negotiation.Untitled

This legal battle hurts everyone involved. Injured workers’ health deteriorates as treatment is delayed, which increases the cost to the employer, insurance company, and state. Many injured workers already face socio-economic disadvantages such as minimal education and an inability to speak English. When you consider the financial power of employers and insurance companies it truly becomes a David and Goliath fight.

Over the course of this summer we are collecting testimonies from various individuals connected to the workers’ compensation system. Lawyers and experts have proven enthusiastic to share their frustrations, each with their own specific grievances. We also intend to collect approximately fifteen worker testimonies to give our report a human touch. We have met with government employees from the Department of Industrial Accidents as well as individuals in the Occupational and Safety field. We hope to gain a holistic and balanced perspective of a system within which injured workers have so much at stake.

This comprehensive report is intended to identify elements of the workers’ compensation system that harm all parties involved. An ineffective system financially drains employers, insurance companies, workers, and the state. Through a national comparison of workers’ compensation systems as well as interviewing lawyers, workers, and experts we hope to identify the most needed changes. Hopefully, this report will inform MassCOSH’s advocacy and precipitate meaningful change within the Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system.

– Mia Katan’ 15


[1] Names changed for privacy purposes

Doorstep Treatment Support at Bairo Pite Clinic, East Timor

This week, I began work at the Bairo Pite Clinic (BPC) in Dili, East Timor (http://bairopiteclinic.org/).  The BPC was established in 1999 by Iowa native Dr. Daniel Murphy in the midst of unrest due to Indonesian occupation of the country.  Thousands were killed and approximately 70% of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed, greatly affecting health care and health care delivery among other things.  The clinic’s general, malnutrition, obstetric and tuberculosis (TB) wards are run by a combination of international volunteers and Timorese volunteers and staff.  The facilities are very rudimentary.  However, the clinic does have on-site Zieh-Neelsen lab and a lab with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine both of which are used to diagnose tuberculosis and resistance to tuberculosis medication. Tuberculosis is one of the leading health issues in the country.  Half of the population has the disease, either in its latent or active form and risk of infection is very high.  As part of my internship, I am working in the TB department where a Doorstep Treatment Support (DTS) program is currently being developed.  The goals of the program are to increase education about TB, increase adherence to treatment through home visits and retrieve patients who have defaulted treatment.  I am working with a Brandeis graduate, Paul, a volunteer from New York, Joon as well as other staff .  This past week we did some auditing of the TB program to determine how many patients have defaulted treatment (stopped taking medication) over the past few months and what the different outcomes of treatment have been.    We also began going through and creating training materials for the DTS program. Every morning, I also join in on morning rounds with the medical student volunteers and Dr. Dan.  We start out in the maternity ward which delivers around 200 babies a month. We then go through the TB wards, general ward and malnutrition ward.  This usually involves Dr. Dan reviewing charts, examining x-rays and ordering necessary exams.  Resources are frighteningly limited and a lot of the time a clinical diagnosis is the best the staff can get.  Even if the clinic could diagnose properly, the country does not have the resources to treat a vast array of cases at the clinic.  Cancer, for example, is untreatable here unless an outside party is kind enough to take on a case pro-bono (free of charge).  It’s very frustrating but the doctors and staff continue to do the absolute best they can. I first heard of the clinic when I joined the student chapter of Project Plus One (PP1) on campus (http://www.projectplusone.org/).  PP1 is an organization created by Paul with the purpose of supporting the Bairo Pite Clinic.  I have been a member for almost two years and am so grateful to be part of a group that is 100% dedicated to seeing the BPC thrive.  We have a formal partnership with the clinic and are currently focused on supporting the DTS program in order to ensure its sustainability.  Like other PP1 members who have worked at the clinic in past years, I put in a volunteer application to the clinic.  Besides personal and professional development I hope to gain here, I am hoping to bring back as much information to my fellow PP1ers about the DTS program and help inform the direction of our activities.  I am very excited to learn about barriers to care and health seeking behaviors that affect the delivery of health care in a developing country.

Kathelyn Rivera, ’15
Timor 1 069

My First 2 Weeks at Riverside Early Intervention!

I started my internship at Riverside Early Intervention in Needham Massachusetts on June the 2nd and on June 13 I completed my first 50hrs!!!

Riverside Early Intervention provides young children ages 0 to 3 with a wide variety of therapeutic services. These children may be having difficulties walking, speaking, interacting with others or may be cognitively delayed. Riverside focuses in helping these children develop their physical and mental skills at an early and crucial stage in their lives, so that in the future, they can live a better life. The program involves a wide variety of professionals including social workers, a physical therapist and a speech pathologist focusing on programs that offer home based therapy, group therapy and evaluations. In my opinion the work that the professionals do at Riverside is priceless because changing a child’s life for the better involves more than the financial aspect. They show caring, love, interest and a genuine feeling of seeing these kids overcome their challenges.

I have been interested in working with children with disabilities since I was young. This is because I have had personal experiences with family members who grew up with me who have physical and mental disabilities. I always thought that I could make a change. In the spring semester of 2014 I spent time volunteering at the Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University. I talked to two early intervention workers that frequented the daycare. We discussed internships relating to social work, and the two women referred me to the head supervisor and internship coordinator at Riverside Community Care Center in Needham, Massachusetts. I reached out to the head coordinator over email and she told me more about the type of work that she does at Riverside. After two months of communication, she interviewed me and gave me an internship at the Intervention Center.

My major responsibilities at this internship involve working alongside a multidisciplinary team within the Riverside Community Care Center, treating children from birth to age 3 and servicing their families living in neighboring communities. I work closely with these children as well as their parents by participating in child-focused and parent-focused groups, which provide parents with training on how to respond to their child’s needs. I develop curricula and therapeutic activities to further increase their development. This position also requires me to record and monitor children’s progress while communicating these results to clinicians. Additionally, I prepare classroom space to accommodate every child’s special circumstances.

This summer I’m expecting to educate myself on a broad variety of childhood disorders. My career goal is to become a clinical psychologist with a focus on child development. The training that I am receiving at the Riverside Community Care Center is helping me to gain insight and skills that will ultimately help me to treat and diagnose children and adolescents with psychological disorders. Also, personally, I want to increase my understanding of family dynamics and intervention methods that are used to assist children with different disabilities. After the summer ends and this experience is over, I am hoping to have gained experience and understanding of the psychology of children, especially those with different kinds of disabilities. I am also hoping that this internship will be one of the biggest stepping-stone of my college career that will ultimately grant me a spot in the professional world.

Jean Perez, ’15



Time Sure Does Fly: Midpoint of My DPH Internship

It’s hard to believe that I’m already at the midpoint of my internship with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health! They say time flies when you’re having fun, but I’d like to edit that for my internship experience with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services (SAPSS) Unit: time flies when you’re learning something new every day, especially when it’s about a field that encompasses so many of your interests, goals and passions.

The busy city street where you'll find the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
The busy city street where you’ll find the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

When I started my internship, I was looking forward to combining my passion for social justice with my major in Women’s and Gender studies, while also learning more about the field of public health in general, and testing the waters in terms of whether I’m interested in something like this as a career. So far, I definitely feel like I’ve done that. The projects I’ve been working on at the DPH have provided me with chances to learn new, applicable career skills (like proficiency with data analysis software, and team organizing) as well as feel like I am really helping to “make a difference,” in terms of the support that my unit provides to rape crisis centers throughout Massachusetts. The longer I work with SAPSS, the more I see how vitally important that DPH support is to the organizations doing on-the-ground work, and it’s exciting for me to be a part of that. I’ve also had the chance to network with many professionals in the field, through being able to attend conferences, summits and workshops about sexual violence prevention; this was one of my career goals for my summer internship, and it’s been an exhilarating experience so far!

Some inspirational and feminist decor on a filing cabinet near my cubicle!
Some inspirational and feminist decor on a filing cabinet near my cubicle!

I am most proud of the work I’ve done with staffing a Governor’s Council committee, called the Higher Education Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Working Group.  This project requires me to set up conference calls with various committee members, take notes on these calls, as well as compile and distribute a monthly digest and plan for committee meetings.  I’ve really honed my people skills, organizational techniques and leadership ability through this opportunity. Staffing the Governor’s Council committee initially seemed like a daunting challenge, but has proved rewarding in that I am directly helping professionals to create serious change in their communities and beyond. I’ve been able to weigh in on conference calls and conversations not only as a moderator or an intern, but as someone whose opinion on the topic really matters, which is incredibly valuable.  I’ve learned so much from the committee members themselves, as well as my supervisors who have helped me out with many of the technical aspects of the project which seemed especially difficult at first, making my work with the committee my favorite project yet.

Speaking of those supervisors… what I most appreciate about this internship experience so far is how willing my co-workers are to provide opportunities for me to learn new things. Whether that means assigning me a type of task I may never have tackled before, or inviting me along to a meeting about social media and public health, I’m never at a loss for chances at personal growth and professional development. I’m excited for the second half of my internship with the DPH… if it goes as quickly as the first, I’ll be writing my final blog post in no time!

The Chaotic Life of an Intern at CECYTEM-EMSAD in Poturo Michoacán, México

CECYTEM-EMSAD is an organization located in the rural town of Poturo Michoacán, México. The weather is incredibly insane because one day we have temperatures of over 108 degrees Fahrenheit with 80% humidity, while other days there is non-stop rain with severe thunder and lightning. It is very incredible to see the differences in culture and customs that this Mexican community practices and for me to learn about their intercultural roots. Although, I walk a distance of about an hour and fifteen minutes every day to get to my internship site despite rain or shine, this experience provides me with further insight into the struggles and challenges these families face while living in impoverished conditions. They have very limited access to health care and education, and the nearest hospital is located about six hours on bus from the town.

This is the Logo of the Government Funding CECYTEM-EMSAD http://laextra.mx/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/segob.jpg

CECYTEM-EMSAD is affiliated with the Secretaría de Educación Gobierno del Estado of Michoacán Mexico, meaning that this agency’s funding is provided directly from the government. They obtain a limited budget, but despite this challenge the organization tries to deliver the best quality health care and education that they can. The mission of this organization is to educate and provide health care assistance to people in need. The town’s population is 500 people, and all of them live in impoverished conditions.  I spend a lot of time exploring the village and visiting families at their homes, which allows me to see the real living conditions of these families and assists me in adjusting the services and programs I am providing to this population to fit their lifestyles.

Most of the work that this organization does is provide very basic health care to children, teens, and adults. They also provide schooling for children and teens. However, this town is not technologically advanced and the organization itself does not have any new type of innovate medical or educational instruments that can provide better health and educational outcome for this population. At CECYTEM-EMSAD I form part of the organization’s committee and they consider me as the “right-hand” for this organization. They believe that as a foreigner I have been exposed to more experiences and have a well-rounded background both from my previous volunteer experiences and education that I can help alter this organization and help them obtain better health and educational outcomes.

I am the first intern for this organization, and I have various internship responsibilities at this site. First and foremost, the main goal of this internship, as discussed with my supervisor, is to develop activities and deliver services that strengthen the health and educational outcomes of this community. This will ultimately help solve health and educational disparities and strengthen the intercultural ties in Poturo. That said, I am working directly with the community doctor as his nurse assistant and take patient vitals as well as provide information sessions about psychological, nutrition and special needs for the healthy development of the children that attend the clinic. A large portion of the population that I am working with includes mothers with special needs children. Currently, I have three cases in progress. I am working individually with these mothers, providing support by by helping them understand better their child’s developmental disabilities. I also provide therapy to the children such as Speech, Occupational, Gym, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other therapies.

I am also interning at the school and working directly with 126 teens. I am teaching them English and also speaking to them about sexual and preventative health care. I use very interactive activities and games to help these students learn and comprehend all the material I am presenting them with. Because school is almost over, my supervisor and I spoke and I will be delivering these services in small groups and individually, which is going to be closely supervised by my supervisor.

Entering the Town of Poturo and its Rural Location http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/33537530.jpg
Entering the Town of Poturo and its Rural Location http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/33537530.jpg

I found out about this internship through the help of my cousin. Last summer I had been searching about internships abroad and thought that Mexico would be the greatest place to intern because there is a lot of disparities when it comes to medical assistance and education. I got in contact with my supervisor in October and from there on we stayed in contact until now. He was a great support system and seems to trust me in all the cases and services I am delivering from the help of his organization to the people.

My first week was very chaotic and unforgettable. When I first saw the village and the clinic and school I was going to working at I could not believe it. There was sand and dirt everywhere and the suns rays beating down on my bare skin. Cows, horses, chickens, and other animals freely walking around, I was completely astonished. I saw the living conditions of these people and could not believe how they could survive in these conditions. I arrived late Monday night and on Tuesday June 17, 2014, my supervisor took me to the school introduced me to the staff and my work began.

The Town of Poturo Michoacán http://o14.metroflog.com/566/73/1/814173566_SCWOKGLASWSNCQQ.jpg

I have made many new connections with the staff and students at the town. I can see that they see me as a new support system. I have also gained a lot of trust in the mothers that come to the clinic and I hope to work with many others. This is a very patriarchal society, and some of my views are questioned. However, I make sure that they understand that I did not come to change their customs, but rather open the door to new information and opportunities.

The biggest expectation that I hope to gain from this internship is altering the health and educational lives of many individuals. I want let them know about their rights, resources and integrate a new ideas into their system. I want to build a strong medical and social model in this community and let them know that although they can continue to visit their village “curandera,” they now have better access to health and information due to the implementation of my various services and programs, I began with collaboration with CECYTEM-EMSAD.

An Introduction to UFE

I had a great first week as the development intern at United for a Fair Economy!

It was a wonderful welcome and I have learned a lot already. My first day started with a bagel breakfast so that I could meet the whole staff and get to know them a bit. Everyone is incredibly friendly and nice and welcoming, even to a lowly intern. 🙂  Jamie and Suzanna, my supervisors in the Development team, showed me around the office and gave me lots of materials to read about UFE, its work, and the development plan. They also introduced me to the database (of contacts, donors, donations, etc.) and showed me how to enter and find information and how to process gifts. Then it was my turn to do some gift processing on my own.

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Speaking of gifts, look what they gave me on my first day!

UFE is in a bit of a transition phase, with the recent departure of the Executive Director, a few other staff changes, and with a new five-year strategic plan that goes beyond education and awareness to focus more on challenging economic inequality. You can read more about this transition on the UFE blog. This meant that with so much going on in the organization, I was able to step up to the plate and be independent in my work even within my first few days, and my supervisors greatly appreciated that.

I also had the opportunity to choose some projects to take on for the summer. I will be creating a donor survey (in order to learn more about UFE’s donors and what we can do to improve future development campaigns) and also designing a new brochure for the organization. I will also be working on fundraising emails, mailings, and more during the day-to-day operations of the development team.

I found this internship through Hiatt’s B.Hired job & internship database. The listing caught my attention because the organization looked like one that I would like to work for and that I could learn a lot from. Economic inequality is an issue that I feel strongly about and on which I have worked in other ways – e.g. with the hunger and homelessness club at Brandeis and with an organization in Lima, Peru that works with people in a poorer community on local development projects – but never on a large-scale political level. And, although my interests lie more along the lines of communications, I knew that development is closely linked and would be another important skill-set to have. I applied for some other internships as well, but after my interview with Jamie I felt that this one would be a good choice.

The office is located in the Financial District of downtown Boston – a very interesting place. It’s bustling with people during the day, especially during the lunchbreak hours, and completely empty and closed up after about 7pm. The UFE office (it recently moved) is now across the street from a lovely little square that happens to be on the Freedom Trail. So, among the suited up businesspeople there are also lots of tourists and guides in colonial-era costumes. It’s quite an eclectic and interesting mix, and I enjoy my short walks for coffee and/or lunch during the day.

The square outside the UFE office!
view from my office window!

I am looking forward to learning a lot this summer – and I have already begun to! Personally, my goal is to gain experience and confidence in a professional environment. Specifically, I am looking forward to the experience of working in a small nonprofit with a complex, multi-level approach to socioeconomic inequalities. This presents a unique set of challenges, especially because of the wide range of actors and interests involved. Professionally, my goal is to learn how development functions are carried out in a nonprofit, as well as how that interacts with other functions, such as marketing and communications, and other operations of the organization. I also hope to gain experience in professional interaction with clients/donors. Academically, I hope to learn about economic inequalities – their causes, how they manifest in US society, and their effects. I also aspire to learn about the various actors and strategies involved in addressing economic inequalities.

I think it will be a good summer!

Midpoint at Leopard Tree Learning Centre

This week marks the midpoint of my internship at Streetlight Schools and Leopard Tree Learning Centre. Even though I’ve had five weeks so far to get used to my internship and how the organization works, this week, my internship also changed quite a bit.

Monday marked the first day of our holiday program, which is the time of year during which we have students at the Learning Centre for the full day instead of just from 3:00 to 6:00 in the evenings. Now, we are hosting between 25 and 35 kids in the Centre each day, from 10:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening. While research isn’t as big of a component at my job any more, I am still continuing with a few minor projects in the office before and after the Centre is open.

Before, my main project was literacy assessments. I started out by doing research, and then ultimately created several literacy assessments for different grades to gauge the English level of each learner. The process showed me a lot about how kids respond to different approaches as well as how to engage with students on an individual level in order to receive the most informative responses. I’ve essentially finished the assessments and now we are using my findings to create the English schedule for the holiday program.

So far, I’m enjoying full days with the kids quite a bit. I think it is much more up my alley than office work — but I’m still glad to have had the experience in the office, as I was really looking for a balance between the two through this internship. The best part is, my interactions with our learners is unlike any other experience I’ve had working with children. I’m constantly learning from them, which is probably due to the unique set up of the Centre. Right now, we are learning with new teaching practices, which is all a part of experiencing new, innovative methods of education. Some of the practices include: student collaboration, older learners teaching younger learners, learners working on their own, and (somewhat) traditional instruction from the teachers. What I like most about these practices is that they engage each student, so that we can really see where they’re at (without having to test all the time) rather than just speaking in front of a group of kids every day.

During the holiday program, we balance the morning between Math and English, and then have other activities in the afternoon, which change day to day. Some of the activities include traditional singing and dancing, sports, painting, clay, paper mache, and theatre. We are also taking some time to plan our Mandela Day project, which is a service project that we will do on July 18th in honor of Nelson Mandela’s birthday. The purpose of Mandela Day is for everyone in South Africa to take 67 minutes of their day to serve others, in honor of Mandela, who served the South African people for 67 years (27 years in prison, and 40 years outside of prison). For more information on Mandela Day, click here.

Another extracurricular that we do in the afternoons is Sky Farms. Sky Farms is a project that Streetlight Schools and Bjala Properties (our partners, mentioned in my previous post) started on the roof of the building next door to the Centre. There, we teach the kids about growing food, about how plants work, and they get to see the entire process. Right now, we have onions, spring onions (scallions), cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, herbs, cherry tomatoes, and more. For more information on Sky Farms, click here.

Today we even had a Treasure Hunt in the park outside of our building. The kids picked up everything, from old bottle caps to pinecones, leaves, acorns, each of which were different and unique (as all of the trees in that park seem to be different kinds). They had a lot of fun, and it was also a valuable experience for the tutors as it provided an amazing opportunity for the learners to take the lead and show us new things.

At the end of each day, no matter what the activity, the learners all sit around one of our classrooms and receive juice and biscuits as a reward for doing well. All in all, I am really excited about the coming weeks of the holiday program and I’m looking forward to all that we learn in this new setting, spending time in the Centre all day.

Week One, Company One

I’ve been with Company One Theatre for exactly two weeks now, and while I know this blog post is supposed to focus specifically on my first week, I just had to wait until after the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of The Americas Conference I attended this past weekend so I could include it in this post (it was, as expected, an incredible experience).

But first things first: the first week. As soon as I started at Company One, I was thrown into the thick of things as I spent my entire first weekend helping organize and run auditions and callbacks for our next season. I’m working mainly with the casting director this summer, and my main projects involve the audition and callback processes for the company. Basically, I do what I did that weekend– help prepare for and organize the actual auditions– and I also work in the office (photo below) to do things like organize resumes and headshots and format audition notices, on this lovely street in Back Bay lined with theaters, jazz clubs, and delicious-smelling restaurants:

Company One is the resident theater at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA)

So, casting is my main focus. But, I’m also doing general office work and will be helping out with tech week and the performances for our summer show, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, by Natsu Onoda Power. Those duties vary a lot; for instance, I’ve worked on the program for the show, I’ve done inventory and organized the books and plays we’ll be selling in the lobby during the show, and I’ve applied for a liquor license (again, for the company, so we can have a bar at our performances, not for me).

And then, last Wednesday, my supervisor turned to me and asked, “Alison, do you know what dramaturgy is?” To which I embarrassingly said, “Kind of… dramaturgs do, like, research… right?”

“… Why don’t you go to this dramaturgy conference this weekend?”

And I did, I went to the LMDA annual conference in Boston. Not only did I learn a huge amount about dramaturgy and theater, but by the end of the conference I realized how much more I have to learn. Dramaturgs do do research, by the way, so I wasn’t technically wrong in my hesitant answer, but they do so much more and their duties vary so widely. From providing actors and directors and designers with the information they need to accurately and truthfully present a play, to helping plan a season for a theater company, to reaching out to communities and connecting the audience to the performances, to setting up interactional lobbies during shows– and so much more– dramaturgy is an under-discussed, under-appreciated, and incredibly useful job in the theater industry.

I got to go to a variety of talks, such as  “hot topics in dramaturgy” (which included philosophical dramaturgy, post-memory dramaturgy, living as an artist, and a poetic response of what it means to be a dramaturg), a panel on the relationship between dramaturgy and academia, a key-note speech given by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Wesley Morris (photo below), a networking panel, a panel on the future of theater, and a talk on dramaturgy and diversity. I was especially thrilled that I got to go to the dramaturgy and diversity talk and discuss how to make the theater more diverse in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ability, because we, the theater world, are so far from being accurately representative of our actual population right now.

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Wesley Morris as the keynote speaker at the 2014 LMDA Conference

And that’s also one of the reasons I wanted to work at Company One this summer; the theater works to produce diverse plays that represent our population and increase accessibility to theater– and having theaters with goals like that (as, honestly, all theaters should have), are so important.

I’m so glad I was able to use my Brandeis connections and find out about the internship at Company One (I contacted an alumna who had interned there before e-mailing in my resume and cover letter), and I can’t wait to see how much more I learn about professional theater, non-profit theater, diversity, art, and the business of theater in the next eight weeks at this company.

Alison Thvedt, 2015

Starting off my Summer at AVODAH

I only just started my work at AVODAH, and I can already see that my work will directly affect change. AVODAH is organisation which fights to strengthen the Jewish community’s fight against domestic poverty in the United States. We run two a programs: a service corps, and a fellowship. Our corps members are stationed in four US cities: Washington DC, Chicago, New Orleans, and our main office, where I work, is in New York. All of these cities suffer from poverty, and that’s where we can best affect change. Our corps members work for legal aid firms, social work agencies, public health institutions, family agencies, and other social institutions that aim to aid those in need. While they work hard to fight poverty, they also receive leadership training and development, hear from speakers, and they live together in a house so that they can be fully embraced by social justice. The houses serve as centers of thought and support for our corps members to thrive in their work, and living together allows them to grow together in their work, through the Jewish values that they all share.

While fighting poverty through a Jewish lens, we also prepare the next generation of Jewish communal leaders, who appreciate our tradition and want to make change. Our fellowship serves to spread the AVODAH magic among those already in the non-profit work force. Fellows enter a professional development program, that instils Jewish ideas and ideals into the anti-poverty work that’s being done. While all of our corps members and fellows do different work, they all have a common goal: to end domestic poverty in the United States.

I found my internship on Hiatt’s website B.Hired. B.Hired is a job/internship listing built for Brandeisians, and sure enough, I found a job perfect for me and my Brandeisian identity. At AVODAH I am the recruitment intern. I work closely with all the AVODAH staff, and my main responsibilities are threefold: strategizing how best to reach out to individuals who may benefit from our programs; intensive research into contacts at universities, Hillels, and other social justice non-profits; and establishing relationships with these individuals, not only to advertise and recruit for our programs, but also to transmit the same ideals that drive our work and mission, into the minds of others.

I already have been exposed to many different aspects of non-profit work. In the short time I have been at AVODAH I have attended two organisation events. The first event was an educational program on faith based community organising. We learned about how we can band groups together to affect change through common goals and a common faith tradition. The second event was donor relations related, and in preparing for/ working at it I was able to learn even more about non-profit work. I hope to come out of my time at AVODAH having learned about the workings of non-profit management, but even more so, about the many different ways to combat domestic poverty in the United States. I already feel myself contributing to that effort, and I hope my time at AVODAH proves to be both educational and enlightening.

– Ariel Kagedan ’16

My First Week at PlayRock

This summer I am working as an intern for PlayRock in Seoul, South Korea.  PlayRock is a theater that aims to increase awareness of discrimination in society through the art of theater and seeks to utilize the therapeutic value of theater. Through theater, PlayRockbrings attention to marginalized groups in society, and effectively brings the public’s attention to these groups and helps those marginalized people by means of drama therapy. Amongst marginalized groups, PlayRock mainly works with marginalized teenagers and also teaches theater classes for alternative schools. With these students, PlayRock produced a children’s play called “A Star and Us” which encouraged children to accept each others’ differences.

Since PlayRock works with marginalized people, PlayRock tries to be as accessible as possible for people who do not usually go to a theater. For example, PlayRock has performed on the street, at town halls and at local public schools. In this way PlayRock has lowered the barriers for local residents so that they can enjoy theater. In addition to this, every summer PlayRock tours and performs a play in rural towns where there are no cultural facilities such as a theater or museum. This summer PlayRock will tour Gangwon province, which shares a border with North Korea, with the teenage North Korean refugees.

At PlayRock I am working on the North Korean refugee theater project. I recruit participants, organize meetings with the organizations, conduct research regarding drama therapy programs, and most importantly, assist in the counseling sessions for North Korean refugees. Right now, I am focusing on contacting North Korean refugee organizations, schools, religious organizations and social workers that work with North Korean refugees to get advice on what I should keep in mind when I work with North Korean refugees. I have had great opportunities to meet North Korean refugees and have learned a lot about their experiences in South Korea. Many refugees have told me how much they hate it when people ask their opinion about political issues regarding North Korea and when people treat them as if they do not know anything just because they are refugees.

Besides recruiting, I am talking with refugees in order to tailor the program to their needs and interests. North Korean refugees do not usually have an opportunity to get an art education since all the educational programs for them are focused on vocation or standardized college entrance exams. While discussing this issue, I learned about refugees’ school life and, by understanding them better, I have started to build relationships with them. During this summer, I hope to build solid relationships, learn how to better understand marginalized people from different backgrounds, and also how to build trust with them.

Overall, I am truly enjoying my time at PlayRock and am grateful that I have the chance to work with great people. My supervisor has thoroughly trained me in communicating with marginalized people and how to prepare for counseling sessions. I also met interesting people outside of PlayRock by attending meetings for NPOs and NGOs in Seoul with my supervisor. Meeting various people who are working for civil society inspired me a lot and has helped me in building a network. I hope the connections I am building now will lead to greater conversations about my future career.

– Sohyun Shin ’15

Getting Ready for Takeoff: Prework for ETE Camp in Hinche, Haiti

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From personal experience, I have learned that access to education is one avenue that can completely change the destiny of an individual and a community. Shaina Gilbert (Brandeis ’10) also knew this when she started Empowering Through Education Camp in Hinche, Haiti in 2008. When she started the camp she thought it would serve as a one year event and never expected that through the help of donors, volunteers and the community, it would be running for six consecutive years.

ETE camp is made up of over 150 of Hinche’s most vulnerable youth and is focused on preparing them to become future leaders by strengthening their academic skills, increasing self-confidence, and actively building community and parental support. Through critical classes like Math, Literacy and Leadership Building, academic skills are strengthened. By promoting teamwork and leadership the self-confidence of the students is increased and works to better many areas of their lives. Finally, active community building and parental support is created by connecting them with respected community leaders such as the mayor, and planning community-wide events that allow parents to witness the development and potential of their children through education as well as hosting an afternoon adult English learners class.

For the first part of my internship, I have been working on preparation work for the four week camp to come. The camp is set to begin with an Open House on Sunday, July 6th with the first day of camp beginning on the following day and running until the final Closing Ceremony on August 1st. Prep work has included inventory, data entry, curriculum development, researching cost efficient supplies and grant writing. In order to be ready for the many excited campers inventory and data entry needed to be done to ensure that there were enough supplies such as notebooks, pens, pencils and hand sanitizer. During the month of June, I also worked with Shaina, who is currently a teacher in Boston, to help develop the curriculum that we will be using during ETE Camp 2014. It is important that in order to ensure that ETE Camp continues to run smoothly in years following, financial research for the most cost efficient supplies and grant writing needed to be taken care of. During the length of the camp, I will be co-teaching English classes as well as leading leadership and extracurricular activities. Finally, staff bios were put together for ETE Camp’s website about this year’s staff including one about me.

I found out about ETE Camp through a friend and Brandeis alum who attended and helped fundraise for ETE camp in previous years. When he told me about his experience and how the camp came to be, I knew that it was something I needed to be a part of. He put me in contact with Shaina and after speaking to her about the work that she has been doing I was blown away by her drive and the stories she shared with me about the children who she has worked with. So far my experience just in making preparations has proven to be even better than I had expected and I cannot imagine what it will be like upon my arrival to Haiti on July 4th. I am so excited to meet and begin working with the wonderful and intelligent children of Hinche who will be attending this year’s camp. I have spoken to other volunteers and have heard only amazing things about the passion and love these children have for learning and for life. This will truly be a life-changing experience and I look forward to learning how to develop my teaching and leadership skills as well as what it takes to run a camp such as this one. More than anything, I am looking forward to learning all that the children have to teach me both about their community and about life. I hope and believe this experience will be one of mutual growth and learning and I am counting down the days until take off on Friday, July 4th!

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Amanda Pereira