Life in Development – Second blog post

An office is a very artificial environment. It is a space that one shares with people that you may or may not have things in common with for nine hours a day, seven days a week, fifty weeks a year. That is an incredible amount of time. I have had the privilege to spend those hours at Alliance for Justice with people who truly care about social justice issues and whom I have been so fortunate to get to know. In the beginning of the summer, I made a goal to learn how to network. While I may not have formally asked someone to be my mentor yet, I have learned a lot about my colleagues and their career paths and I’m really happy with that development.
This entire summer has been one of growing but professionally, I think the thing I am most proud of so far is the improvement in my writing abilities. When I was looking for internships for the summer, I would often be asked for a writing sample. Because most of my writing is academic in nature I would end up sending in papers about really obscure topics. Now, part of my job is to proofread my supervisor’s work and I have even been permitted to contribute to some grant reports we have given. I have a better understanding of grant writing and really what it means to have professional writing experience. This will certainly allow me to transition to looking for a full time job in the spring.
One of my other big goals was to learn how to take criticism better and then to apply it effectively. I have found my supervisor’s strategy of giving me comments on my assignments instead of having very formal evaluations to be very effective. My writing and research has improved and I have gradually been entrusted with more responsibility. A few weeks ago I was even able to produce my own writing for a report to a foundation. I was able to staff one of the biggest events we did this summer, our Justice First Luncheon at the National Press Club. The luncheon was a fantastic learning experience because I was able to see how a large scale event is planned. As I did the minutia of confirmation calls, stuffing name tags, and depositing checks I was able to develop my organizational and scheduling skills. I will gladly bring these back to campus in the fall while I am planning the Brandeis Debate Team’s tournament.
Throughout the process of the luncheon, I was able to further my academic goal of figuring out how nonprofits apply the theory of social justice to practice. For example, we specifically sought out union made goods and vendors that had a good reputation for workers rights. On a more macro level of examining social justice, I’ve been impressed with how many women are in leadership positions at AFJ. As a Women’s and Gender Studies minor, I learn about how women are constantly underrepresented in business, government, science, etc. This is clearly a social justice problem because if those voices aren’t heard then that is a whole half of the population that is not getting a say in the political process. Even though we have a long way to go before women are truly free from prejudice and discrimination, it gives me a lot of hope in to see such an important organization with women at the helm. If you want to see more ways that AFJ tries to advance the cause of women’s rights, you should check out our documentary about how many states are currently trying to loosen protections on a woman’s right to choose. It is called Roe at Risk.
I am having a truly amazing experience here at AFJ, and we are actually looking for a fall development intern. If you want to find out more information, check out our idealist listing.

One thought on “Life in Development – Second blog post”

  1. I don’t know how your writing was before, but you do write well! Given the prompts for these blogs, making the entries sound personal and natural is hard (at least for me). Congratulations on the luncheon success and writing progress 🙂

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