Post 3: The value of working from behind—What does my work mean to Ashoka?

Our virtual farewell meeting

My internship with Ashoka came to an end last week, and I’m already missing it! It’s hard to describe how grateful I am for the experience because it has meant so much to me in so many different ways: I got to see people helping each other altruistically and wholeheartedly; I gained so many insights regarding the field of nonprofit and social entrepreneurship; I learned how to communicate better and work productively; and I grew so much as a person. There are just too many things I can share, but in this blog, I want to focus on what my project and my work means to Ashoka.

The reason I want to talk about this particular topic is that, from the first sight, it doesn’t seem like my work has much to do with the impact Ashoka is making. In fact, I’ve also questioned the value of my work multiple times throughout the internship. However, in the end, I did see the significance of my project. I want to use this as an example to remind future interns to not get frustrated when you don’t see the meaning of your work at first.

As I mentioned in my first post, Ashoka is a global organization with offices in many countries. In Ashoka, collaboration between different offices is very common. For example, the Changemaker Companies (the department I worked in) often collaborates with the Paris office on developing and managing partnerships. However, since Ashoka is so big, people in different offices may not be familiar with each other’s work, so they often need to spend extra time at the beginning of each collaboration, which can slow down the progress of the actual project. That’s why many key departm­­­­ents of Ashoka all have their own space on this platform called Confluence, where people in other offices can learn about their work and download relevant resources. So, my project was to build such a space for the Changemaker Companies so that in the future, Ashokans from other offices could feel more knowledgeable about our work before collaborating with us.

Besides developing the Confluence space, my project al­­­­­­so involved rebuilding Changemaker Companies’ public and private SharePoint folder. Each department in Ashoka has its own SharePoint folder so that people in the same team could work on one deck together. People also kept all their past documents and decks in the folder. However, since everyone has access to edit the folder, Changemaker Companies’ SharePoint folder ended up being really messy and disorganized with a lot of overlapping and outdated documents. My job was to design a structure for the folder and reorganize all the documents so that it’s easier for people to locate materials. I also created a systematizing plan for tracking all the changes and updates made to the documents so that the administrator can better manage the folder in the future.

As you can probably tell, all of my work was internal-facing and none of it was associated with Ashoka’s external programs (the ones that are “actually” making impacts). However, no one can deny the significance of working on internal development, as it’s the backbone of every well-functioning organization. If all of Ashoka’s external programs and partnerships are the leaves of a tree, its internal development/management must be the trunk and branches.

In the field of non-profit/social justice–in fact, in every field–it’s impossible for everyone to work on the front line. We may only see the people on the front line and look up to them and think it’s glorious, but we must not forget the contribution of people working behind who deserve the same amount of respect and glory. Therefore, future interns, if you got assigned a task of a nature similar to mine, don’t complain or give it up right away. Take a moment to think about it; it might just be the trunk of any tree, the foundation of any impact.

Post 3: Social Justice and the importance of research

I truly enjoyed working with Dr. Yule and her team at Boston Medical Center this past summer. Last summer, I was an intern at MGH in one the psychology labs and it was not the experience I was looking for or expected. I now realize that my experience last summer was not representative of research and after my internship this summer, I am considering a career in research. Not all research experiences are the same, and not all work environments are the same, and it is something I wish I knew before I started this summer and before I generalized research experiences. But the reality is that you can’t know what a work environment will be like until you’re already there, in my case, doing the research.

While in this position this summer, I gained a deeper understanding of social justice work. Social justice is all about distributing resources fairly and treating everyone equitably. But sadly, when we take a look at today’s world, this isn’t happening in many places. I also learned the causes and consequences of social injustices from talks with psychiatrists, mental health counselors, coworkers, and from the research we were doing. We all need to work as a team to work towards dismantling all these barriers around health disparities, and this is exactly what Dr. Yule and her team are aiming for.

Before starting this position, I did not see how social justice was relevant to research, but as I began to work on projects with my coworkers, I realized that social justice work takes many forms. Many of these health issues that I talk about in this blog and in my previous blogs are often overlooked. It is the reason why social justice work is crucial in underserved populations to aid the growth of communities. The projects I worked on show how important research is during the times that we are living in, especially on evidence-based treatments. Despite how research has shown their efficiency, some providers are reluctant to use them. Research also demonstrates how important it is to address minority populations who lack access to health care, which could be due to structural racism. As a result, we see language barriers in place and people living in high crime and poverty neighborhoods, among other factors.

Earlier this year, my primary investigator received a grant from an ongoing initiative that the NIH has called “Helping to End Addiction Long Term.” This is an effort designed to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. It is also an effort to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction, and to enhance pain management. As part of this project, I worked on a task that included assisting with implementing screening for substance use disorders in behavioral health by identifying which screening tools and questionnaires have been translated into Spanish and Haitian Creole, and assisting with Spanish translation. Translating the screening tools into these languages is due to the hospital having a lot of Spanish and Haitian Creole-speaking patients. If we don’t have screening tools available in their language, we cannot help these patients and they are more likely to go untreated. This creates a barrier for them when accessing care that they wouldn’t otherwise face if they were native English speakers. This is why we need to work together to help them overcome these barriers to treatment. Once we are done with project, other researchers will be able to use the translations and other patients will be able to be treated.

A “Thank you” e-card signed by Dr. Yule and her team

I also worked on a systematic literature search focused on screening for substance use in behavioral health clinics. It is important to identify individuals with psychiatric disorders who have a co-occurring substance use disorder to address the disorders that are coexistent in treatment. While there is already a policy-level mandate to systematically screen patients for substance use disorders and deliver brief intervention to treatment and referral to treatment, the majority of the efforts have been concentrated in primary care. Substance misuse is at a higher rate in behavioral health populations, and therefore it is an entry point in getting people who might have a substance use disorder. A decision needs to be made because many people that need to be screened are not being screened. This gives the opportunity for clinicians to intervene early and be able to help their patients before it takes a toll on their patient’s overall health.

I also hope that this systematic review is able to inform other researchers about the importance of implementing screening in settings outside of primary care. We are also using another systematic review on treatment outcomes in adolescent girls to get a better sense of what is out there, in order to inform future research to provide better gender-specific treatments in the future. Lastly, the Department of Public Health will be able to make better informed decisions in terms of policies for medication management in residential treatment programs through another project we worked on and presented to them. All this work impacts social justice reform because, with systematic screening, we will be able to help patients who fall through the cracks in health care, and with systematic screening in place, it won’t be possible that someone who truly needs help will be left out.

Some advice I would give to someone else who wants to pursue an internship or career in my organization is that you have to be self-motivated. Also, if you can try to pick a good team, do so. Don’t be afraid to contact people if you have a question. Some people are always hesitant to do this. However, it’s good to ask if you are ever in that position how they did this or how did they get there. People do like to share their experiences.

Signing off from Seaside Sustainability

Through my work with Seaside Sustainability this summer, I met a lot of my goals, but not in the ways I imagined. I wanted to learn about non-profit work, which I imagined doing through event planning and development work. Instead, I got an interesting look at how this organization itself ran during this time, especially their internship program. It was interesting to me how autonomous this was and how well they have their remote infrastructure set up with their use of Trello and G-Suite.

I was hoping to get a better idea of what type of environmental work specifically I would most enjoy doing in a non-profit. However, I found it difficult to clarify my career interests in this internship, in part because I didn’t have the chance to work with many professionals in the field, since at Seaside I was working almost entirely with other interns. However, a major thing I did clarify about my career interest this summer is the type of organization I would most like to work for in the future. In the beginning of the summer, I also interned with an organization called Envision Frederick County, which is an organization that works on civic engagement and not just environmental issues, but I got to help them with some environmental programming. One reason I really enjoyed that experience was because their mission really aligned with my passions and worldview with regards to social activism. On the other hand, Seaside, although they are an environmental organization and they do a lot of great work, doesn’t have the social justice focus I feel really strongly about. Therefore, I learned that in the future I should search for any organization that has a mission I feel passionately about and a strategy that makes sense to me and that might benefit from my expertise, even if it’s not an environmental organization. 

For other students interested in environmental work who are looking for an internship, I would also recommend broadening your search to outside of environmental organizations. Depending on what specifically you want to do, lots of different organizations can help you gain skills that you can use in environmental work in the future. As for advice for future Seaside Sustainability interns specifically, I’d say don’t be afraid to ask questions. That advice goes for anything, but especially at Seaside, there is not a lot of orientation or explanation before you are given responsibilities, so if you get confused, ask the project manager or your intern manager if you don’t know who to ask.

Even though this summer didn’t go as I imagined, I am proud of what I accomplished. I advocated for myself when I didn’t have enough work and wasn’t getting enough out of my first work assignments. I’m also proud of the blog posts I wrote. I really enjoyed this project because I got to write about what I find important. However, I did face challenges throughout the summer and it was at times hard to stay motivated through all the turbulence happening around the world. Therefore, I am most proud of the resilience and grit I demonstrated to myself by finding ways to learn and grow though the difficult circumstances.

Post 3: Signing off

My last day of working with Answer the Call was this past Wednesday, July 29th. The World of Work experience was a unique experience, considering my position allowed me to work remotely from the comfort of my own home! Prior to COVID, I (as well as many others) expected to enter a physical office space and interact with co workers on a face-to-face basis. With COVID-19, everyone’s creativity skills kicked in, as we all had to adapt pretty quickly to working remotely.

In terms of social justice work, I feel that I have learned how to work with families who are usually forgotten, as well as keeping the memories of their loved ones alive. The families that Answer the Call deals with lost a loved one due to a Line of Duty Death, whether it may be fighting a fire to 9/11 to COVID-19. Assisting the families of fallen first responders holds a special place in my heart as these men and women put their lives on the line to protect the City of New York. The tragic event of 9/11 is still in conversation today. Many of the families that Answer the Call serves lost loved ones who were first responders on that gruesome day.  

Answer the Call has had an impact on me in many positive ways. Being able to work with colleagues who were very supportive and understanding with COVID was an amazing experience. Each and every single project that I was assigned was explained in great length, which was super beneficial. Furthermore, being able to work alongside my colleagues and raise funds for families of fallen first responders was truly an amazing experience that I will never forget. The families of Answer the Call were told that their loved ones would ever be forgotten, and Answer the Call honors this promise each and every day. 

In terms of advice to choose an internship or career, I would recommend that you should conduct vast amounts of research on the organization that you want to intern with. Being able to establish a connection or an interest with an organization is a vital factor. Reaching out and introducing yourself ahead of time is a great way to have your foot in the door. I established my early connection with Answer the Call back in August of 2019 when I sent an email about a fundraiser they were hosting for 9/11. That conversation then led to the discussion of potential internships, and here I am today, writing my final blog post for my WOW fellowship! 

Working with the families of fallen first responders is an honor. Being able to honor those that sacrificed so much is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The family members of those who have fallen sacrificed so much, and Answer the Call has been able to assist hundreds of families with the support they need. I would like to thank Answer the Call and the Brandeis WOW Fellowship program for making this wonderful experience happen. 

Signing off,

Joshua Feld 

 

FYI, this link is from an interview I conducted during the internship.

Meet Our 2020 TCS NYC Marathon Team: Mary Sullivan

 

 

Post 3: Wrapping up the Summer at the CARE Lab

Interning at the CARE Lab this summer has been a really educational experience for me, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work there. The two goals I set for myself in my initial post were both very much met—the first was to gain career related skills and experience, especially first-hand through my own research project and by working on other ongoing research projects, and the second was to hone my collaboration skills and work with (and learn from) experts in the field I plan to pursue. For the former, I have already begun an independent project looking at the relationship between distress intolerance, affect, and cognitive control. Through this process, I’ve been getting first-hand experience in how to brainstorm and plan a project, conduct literature reviews, formulate aims and hypotheses, and more. I’m still in the early stages but will be continuing through the rest of the summer and into the fall semester. Additionally, I’m still working on the cognitive control training study (which is where the data for my independent project comes from) and have almost finished aggregating data; I just have two more cognitive tasks to comb through and then it’s on to more analyses! It’s been really interesting to be able to learn by doing during this internship, rather than learning the theory or general how-to from a course. As for the collaborative goal, I’ve been meeting regularly with my supervisor to discuss the work I’m doing, next steps, professional development, etc., which has been really helpful and has certainly fulfilled that for me.

My work at the CARE Lab has made me more interested in impulsivity and cognitive control, especially in a clinical population like the one at McLean.  This is likely an area that I would pursue in a lab when I apply for graduate school, so it’s been awesome to begin to refine what part of the field I want to research later on. I’ve also come to realize that I enjoy statistics and data analysis more than I thought I did; I never disliked it, but I’ve learned that it’s actually something I’m good at and want to do more of. I’ve been doing a lot of coding in R this summer which has been really fun for me, and because of all of this I’ve decided to take Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) Application this fall semester to learn another statistical coding language. But overall, working at the lab has confirmed my interest in getting a PhD in clinical psychology and going into the field.

One piece of advice I would give to someone pursuing an internship at the CARE Lab, or the BHP at McLean in general, is don’t be afraid to ask for more to do! There are always  many tasks that need to be done, and it’s good to take the initiative to ask for more rather than sit and wait for a task to be given to you after you’ve finished whatever you were doing. I would also say that it would be helpful to come into the internship with some level of statistics knowledge, as that will make performing data analyses easier. In terms of advice for someone pursuing in internship in  psychology research, I would recommend getting experience in both a clinical setting and a non-clinical setting, as while they are related, they have different focuses.

Out of everything I’ve done this summer, I’m most proud of the analysis work I’ve done for the cognitive control training study, as it has earned me the ability to be a co-author on the journal article once we start the writing process. This means that, depending on when the paper is submitted/published, I’ll have the opportunity to be published before I graduate, or right after I graduate, which will be an accomplishment to be proud of.

Post 3: Wrapping Up My Internship at the Valera Lab

As I mentioned in my first blog of the summer, I had two primary goals coming into my internship at the Valera Lab: to learn more about the neurobiological manifestations of traumatic brain injury, and to learn how to work in a collaborative environment with other researchers. In regards to the first goal, I would say that I did not learn as much about the neurobiological manifestations of traumatic brain injury as I helped to conduct the study whose results will show the manifestations, and the study is still in progress. However, I gained an understanding of how traumatic brain injury caused by intimate partner violence affects women on an everyday basis from interviewing the women. In regards to the second goal, I most definitely learned how to work in a collaborative environment with other researchers and enjoyed it so much, too. I have found that I prefer to work with people rather than work alone, and even though I never met my co-workers in person, I am going to miss working with them so much. Hopefully once COVID is over I will be able to meet them! Here is the photo from my first blog post, of the clinical research coordinator Annie, my co-intern Sarah, and myself. Not pictured is my other co-intern, Olivia, and the lab director, Dr. Eve Valera.

This internship has brought me clarity in regards to what I want to pursue next. I have previously considered going into research, but now I can actually see myself becoming a neuropsychological researcher. I would love to research the neuropsychology and behavior of people who commit acts such as terrorism or sexual assault. 

From interviewing study participants, I have felt much more confident in my ability to be compassionate in listening to and validating people. Along with that, I learned how to process the difficult experiences that I hear and facilitate conversations in a trauma-informed manner. I have also learned how to write in a scientific convention! It is not as common-sense as you may think, it is often very formulaic and strictly-structured. However, once you learn the conventions, scientific writing becomes much easier.

If you are interested in an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School, I highly suggest finding a lab whose work you are genuinely interested in and reaching out to the lab director. I ended up in this internship because while I was conducting a literature review in my prior research position, I came across Dr. Valera’s moving work and reached out to her – and here I am now. I think that the same goes for any research institution similar to MGH / Harvard Med. These positions are never handed to anyone, you will need to work for it by expressing your interests and excitement to learn about the lab’s work. 

It is hard to say what I am most proud of from this summer, but if I had to pick one thing it would be my co-intern and I’s independent research project and accepted abstract on transgender individuals experiences of traumatic brain injury caused by intimate partner violence. There is plenty of information and studies suggesting that transgender individuals experience health issues at rates disproportionate to cisgender individuals, however there is virtually no research done on their health specifically. I believe that this incoming generation of researchers will finally give sexual, racial, ethnic, and all other minority groups with unique health issues special attention. Along with the staff that conducts research, the content of the research itself deserves diversification proportionate to the greater population.

Thank you so much to Brandeis University’s World of Work (WOW) Program for helping make this impactful and educational experience possible.

— Maddy Pliskin

Post 3

Working in the social justice field has been one of my career goals for the past couple of years. As the days pass by, I learn that one must be committed and dedicated to this work, regardless of the targeted group of people or type of services. Take the Black Lives Matter movements for example. Portland has been protesting for 73 days in a row and counting. People are still donating and becoming allies. People who engage in social justice work, especially people of color, are the reason we have progressed as a society throughout the decades. Granted, there are several issues we still need to tackle. Most importantly, people who engage in social justice work are not here to receive recognition or a paycheck. They are here to make change.

That being said, a lot of people entering this field come as interns or volunteers. I am amazed at the dedication that people have to continue pushing an important agenda towards changing immigration laws. The people I worked with at my internship were often volunteers that cared enough about their community to continue working towards the nonprofit organization’s goal.

George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests erupt around the ...

When starting my internship, I was aware that I was a novice and had no previous experience working for a nonprofit or working in the immigration field. Every day, I was eager to learn something new and wasn’t hard on myself for not knowing the simplest things. In other words, I don’t wish I would have known more about the immigration field before starting my internship and I don’t believe it was a setback at all. I was here to learn and my supervisors were aware of that. However, one thing I wish I would have learned was how to make the best out of your internship, such as building relationships and networking. 

One thing I would like to say about anyone who wants to pursue an internship or career in this field is that the work is very rewarding. It is a type of job that makes you get up from bed on a Monday morning. I’m aware some young adults choose their careers very carefully and are afraid of choosing the wrong career because they don’t want to be “stuck” with this job for the rest of their life. However, if I were to be committed to entering this field, I would be more than happy. Though my internship was only temporary and short-term, it taught me life-long skills and knowledge that will help me navigate any post-grad plans and career plans. 

Not only am I thankful for my internship, but also to WOW for providing me the support to start my post-grad career goals.  This is only the beginning for me.

Post 3: Social Justice and Being Bold in Psychology

People typically think social justice work refers to hands-on activities, helping others or serving as an activist at protests or working on campaigns. Yes, these are important social justice roles, but there is a wider range of methods to promote and stimulate social change. Previously, I struggled with understanding how conducting psychological research was really a form of social justice because it is difficult to internalize that you are making a positive difference when just sitting at a computer, reading and writing. However, I chose to work as a research intern for Rogers Behavioral Health because I realized that disseminating effective treatments truly works to further social justice because most people do not know of evidence-based treatments for mental disorders, like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or trichotillomania. The website for Brandeis’ Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion explains that, “Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are psychologically and physically safe and secure.” (Bell, 2013, p. 21). Assisting in the writing of chapters that explicate research (often using common language) on evidence-based treatments enables me to help distribute the resource of knowledge to the general population. Yes, there are still many barriers to achieving social justice in the field of mental health treatment, but disseminating knowledge is a first step that I am proud to take part in.  

Venn diagram illustrating social justice in the field of psychology

My supervisor, Dr. Martin Franklin, has many responsibilities as the Clinical Director of Rogers Behavioral Health in Philadelphia, as well as in his private practice and other career endeavors. From conducting research and treating patients to presenting at conferences and going on book tours to promote his writing, Dr. Franklin is always busy working to help individuals and the world of psychology as a whole. Therefore, my work as a research intern assists him in various aspects of the research process, such as reading through previous studies and chapters, as well as writing literature reviews. Since I am completing these often time-consuming tasks, Dr. Franklin can spend more time on his other responsibilities.  

Dr. Franklin’s latest book: “Treating OCD in Children and Adolescents”

Reporting to a busy supervisor often requires a great amount of independence, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. I always complete my work on my own and Dr. Franklin trusts me to get my work done in a timely manner. He is not the type of person to give many hard deadlines or keep me on a rigid schedule, which I appreciate, but it definitely requires independence and confidence in my work ethic and abilities. I did not anticipate this high level of independence as an intern, but I am happy about it. Independence often breeds confidence, which are both important skills to develop. I would advise others pursuing careers in my field to be bold.  Boldness can involve reaching out and introducing yourself to someone in a high-level position, or asking questions, or taking on challenges in stride, and acting confident, even if you have not fully internalized this confidence yet. “Fake it til you make it” is a popular saying that has some truth behind it, but I prefer to say, “be bold til you make it.” Pushing yourself to be brave and step out of your comfort zone is not “fake” — it is being bold in order to achieve success.

Post 3: Until Next Time, UFE!


I wish I would have known how much I would miss United for a Fair Economy as my internship comes to an end. As I complete my last days at UFE, I am grateful to reflect on my experience. I initially thought that as a remote intern, I would not be able to get the full experience that I would have otherwise gained if I was physically there, but it has been the complete opposite. I got to learn tremendously from the staff, and experience UFE culture and what it’s like to work at nonprofit. My experience with UFE this summer has been special and meaningful.

The staff and I during team building!

One of the many meaningful things I’ve learned and experienced with UFE is how important it is to have a healthy work and life balance. UFE values personal health and taking time off to rehabilitate. This value has helped me transform the way I approach working to including more healthy practices that have helped me become more productive. Additionally, I’ve learned that it is your passion that drives your work. Working for social justice can get tough and even frustrating, but as long as you have a passion for social justice, you can get through all the hard times. UFE has a work environment that embraces challenges together, and it’s very collaborative. Working at UFE has shown me what to look for in workplace culture in a potential post-college job, and made me consider working full time at nonprofits. I have also expanded my interest in social justice and started to plan out the rest of my academic journey at Brandeis.

thank you note sent from UFE!

Additionally, I learned that there is not one primary solution to achieving social justice. There are multiple solutions, and as an agent for change, it’s essential I find the path I am most passionate about and do my best to help with the mission. For example, United for a Fair Economy looks at economic justice holistically. Each staff member contributes their expertise to the organization’s mission through education, development, and communications. I have even been able to share my passion for education equity and its relation to a fair economy through UFE. I’ve also learned how valuable and important it is to have a set of unwavering values in a nonprofit. I noticed that a lot of the work, like communication with donors and applying to foundations for funds, all comes down to “do they have the same values?” and I think that is part of the beauty of working at UFE. It’s definitely mission-driven.

Specifically, being the development intern, I learned a lot about resource mobilization and how a lot of it comes down to tracking all data and building relationships with donors. The bulk of my work has been working in the database and updating donor information. I’ve also done foundation research, made thank you calls to donors, and organized donor-advised funds. It is essential to always to build good relationships with donors and to seek out new relationships. In nonprofits, it’s important to be extremely organized and always seeking out funding from foundations. I am grateful to learn about how to finance nonprofits.

A gift from UFE!

My advice for working in social justice and working at UFE is to keep learning and develop self-efficacy. UFE is a unique workplace that encourages learning together and asking questions. Each staff member has a story, a path, and work that is inspirational and can teach you a lot and help you form your own path. I had the opportunity to sit in a lobbying meeting with Mike Lapham for the second stimulus package. That was a great learning experience to understand negotiation. And from speaking to Jeannette, I got to learn about the power of strength and self-efficacy and how that can lead to success. Always be willing to do what’s right, even if the task is a little daunting.

Thank you, UFE, for an incredible summer! (PS: Check out their State of the Dream Report !)

Post 3 – Interning at Image Insight Inc.

I set out into the summer with what I thought were some fairly broad and undefined learning goals: I wanted to gain experience doing machine learning, and I wanted to experience a professional environment, particularly a software development-oriented one.

Although the remote nature of my internship did not allow me to become as intimately acquainted with office life as I would have liked, I was still able to learn a lot about what day-to-day interactions are like, what working as a team in this kind of setting is like, and, most importantly, about machine learning. Being given the opportunity to push my own boundaries regarding this particular skill was really rewarding, as these are industry skills that will greatly benefit me going forward.

This internship provided clarity in terms of my career interests. I have been interested in software development for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to see how my academic interests would transfer to the real world. I have learned how to interact with both peers and supervisors in a professional setting, which will greatly benefit me in the near future, as I progress along my professional journey.

To a student intern who was interested in obtaining a position with my host organization, I would advise them that even if things seem like they’re moving fast at first, it’s only a matter of time before your level of relative unfamiliarity wears off. Once I figured out my place and role on the team, I was able to quickly move forward with my personal project, which furthered my understanding of what I was supposed to do. 

To someone interested in a computer science internship, I would advise them to keep their head above the water. The field itself moves fast, and changes can be both imperceptible and sudden at the same time. There is enormous demand for computer science jobs and interns, so if you pay attention and are competent, plenty of incredible opportunities will come your way. 

This summer, I’m most proud of the contributions I’ve made at Image Insight. I had hoped to bring new insights and methods of analysis by reinventing their wheels, and I think I’ve done precisely that. One regret I have is that I was not able to fully finish one component of my assignment using machine learning, and had to implement a statistical approach to overcome this roadblock. Yet, by and large, this has been a summer of exploration and of learning. I’m very proud of my learning and contributions, and excited to take this experience with me moving forward.

Me working outside

Post 3: Final Thoughts :)

I have learned that in the world of work, organization is everything. Working for IfNotNow, I was able to be successful because of its existing structures and the order those structures helped maintain. For example, my supervisor is the northeast field organizer, so she was already prepared to direct people in different cities to coordinate with the national organizers. This consistent communication between local and national leaders of IfNotNow made my job more organized because I knew how to make sure that what people in IfNotNow Boston did for the campaign would fulfill the national goals. This organization also ties to social justice work because without consistent communication, our goals and strategy could have easily gotten muddled in the fast pace at which political issues, specifically issues around annexation, move. We often had to come up with different contingency plans depending on what was happening in Israel, the West Bank, and the United States. Organized communication is key when dealing with sensitive, intense social justice issues. 

I think the great thing about grassroots organizing is that everyone who gets involved, in whatever capacity, is important. I was the leader of the Boston hive’s (a hive is just another word for chapter) anti-annexation campaign and I think having me as a specific person to be the area’s point person was positively impactful. If people had questions about how to get involved or what sort of resources they could offer, I was the one to whom they would be directed. This made it easier for the campaign to move along locally, and having one main coordinator helped keep the hive in line with the national campaign. 

I wish that when I started I knew how much a social justice campaign can make a difference! Looking back on the summer, what IfNotNow did had a huge impact on how American politicians are thinking about conditioning aid and how Jewish Americans are thinking about annexation. Even though our constituent meetings felt small, seeing headlines about how the elected officials we had talked to were in favor of our demands felt huge. Those moments were validating because I knew that our work was significant. I think if I had known what a gratifying feeling those moments would bring then I probably would’ve stressed less about what kind of impact my work this summer would have.   

I would tell someone who wants to pursue an internship or career in Jewish social justice organizing that it is imperative to put up proper boundaries. I mean this in a few different ways. First, with remote organizing, I would recommend sticking to a strict schedule that allows you to separate your time between work and fun. Part of this includes making a clean space where you can work, and not checking your email after a certain hour of the day. Second, when organizing within small communities, it is important to make sure that, if you’re organizing with people you have personal relationships with, you check in with them and talk about where the professional relationship ends and the friendship begins. This way, we can have better conversations with our communities about important issues such as annexation, while keeping our personal relationships intact when discussing potential emotionally taxing topics. 

The logo of IfNotNow

Overall, I am so happy to have had the opportunity to work for IfNotNow and see how a social justice organization works. I hope to continue to explore this field, and now I have a new outlook to continue that journey. 

 

Post 3: Ending My Summer with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office

Over the course of this summer, I went from having very little idea what I wanted my life to look like post-graduation to having a relatively clear plan for the next few years. All of the staff within the DA’s office has been enormously helpful in helping get me here. One piece of advice that stuck with me came from an ADA who said that she only recommends going to law school if having a JD is the only thing standing in the way between you and what you ultimately want to do. I expected I would likely end up going to law school, but I also knew that this isn’t a path I would want to embark on without a very specific vision for what came after. Now, I feel much more confident taking these next steps.

It goes without saying that COVID-19 fundamentally changed every aspect of the world of work, likely forever. I am extremely grateful for the readiness of my supervisors and the rest of the staff to completely restructure the program and ensure we still had a great experience. Like many, I have found my work style is not very compatible with working from home. This was one of the most significant challenges. However, by establishing a routine around my work schedule, I was able to stay productive. Once again, through discovering the ways I don’t work best, I have a better idea of what I am looking for in a career going forward. I look forward to someday being able to go into the office and meet everyone in person.

Another challenge I encountered lay in the content of the work. Much of what the MDAO does, by definition, requires confronting some of the most difficult aspects of the human experience. With crime often comes immense violence, pain, and loss for those involved, and for a highly empathetic person, this world can be really difficult to immerse oneself in every day. It sounds a bit cliché, but I have increasingly come to realize that fundamentally caring about people isn’t a weakness in this line of work. Far from it. This attribute, especially in social justice work, can make an individual a more effective agent in helping work toward a more just system for everyone.

I cannot recommend the MDAO’s internship program highly enough. I think any junior or senior considering going into the legal field would benefit immensely from the experience and connections it creates. The staff is extremely supportive and happy to offer advice and guidance. This is not the kind of internship where you will be in charge of coffee runs; everyone I have done work for has ensured that the tasks they gave me are meaningful and that I see how they fit into the bigger picture.

______________________________

Here’s a link to the docket and filings for Ryan, et al v. ICE, et al, District Attorney Ryan and her fellow plaintiffs’ lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). I was lucky enough to get to listen to oral arguments for the case in the First Circuit Supreme Judicial Court!

This is a slide from a training, “Identifying Racial Elements in our Prosecutions.” We have had weekly trainings on systemic racism that have included very productive discussions.

Post 3: Wrapping up My Internship at TRII

Reflecting on my experience as a research intern for TRII, what have I confirmed about social justice work is the difficulty of doing nonprofit work in the field of immigration law. In this field, the majority of the attorneys are working pro bono, while the regulations are changing rapidly, and there is a massive surplus of immigrant clients. Especially during the COVID-19 period, government regulation regarding the asylum application was tightened up to an extreme level. For example, my current research task is focused on how COVID-19 has created a public health issue for asylum-seekers.

This is only one of many examples showing the vulnerability of the immigrant community. The workload of social justice groups has been increasing, while the working capability of ours has also been affected negatively by the pandemic. For example, since the outbreak, TRII has shifted much of its focus to the housing crisis in immigrant communities. Many of the undocumented immigrants are facing the risk of being kicked out of the house by their landlords.

My experience as an intern for TRII has been a positive one, but my contribution has also been limited by multiple factors. First, doing everything virtually has limited my interaction with clients and coworkers in the workplace. With all the courts delaying opening, many of the cases the institute was working on were frozen. Therefore, I have not been doing what I originally expected to do, including getting in-person experience observing lawyers dealing with immigration cases. Second, because I am not a professionally-accredited immigration case representative, my participation in specific cases has been limited. Without the pandemic, I would possibly have been able to shadow more client meetings. But, with the pandemic going on, I could not directly help as many clients as I intended.

If I were to give advice to people who are interested in immigration law or social work in general, I think whoever wants to get involved in this field should be aware of the difficulties and frustration you would encounter. The reality and the future of the field are not the brightest looking forward, but this is also where the help is most needed. With more restricted legislation and funding, representing clients and winning cases is becoming more difficult. In order to get the best out of the internship experience, you should be careful when choosing what kind of organization for your internship. Nonprofit organizations in the field of immigration law focus on different aspects of immigration laws. For example, some organizations specialize in public health and some specialize in women’s rights. Therefore, choose an organization that best matches with your interests.

As I am wrapping up my internship, this experience makes me believe that I want to continue to work in the field of public and social policy. I am planning on going to law school, and when I become a lawyer, I can better serve social justice causes in communities that need the most help.

Post 3: Learning about Justice from the Sierra Club

While working remotely for Sierra Club’s Massachusetts Chapter this summer has been a challenging, often isolating experience, the internship has also been incredibly rewarding. I applied to Sierra Club’s political internship program in late January, weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic upended everything, with the hopes of better understanding how policy-making intersects with environmental justice and activism. In the first weeks of work, after being assigned to Erika Uyterhoeven’s State Representative campaign in Somerville, I really struggled with being confined to staring at my computer screen, in my house, an hour away from her district, while the rest of the campaign staff got their hands dirty building a grassroots movement. I had envisioned myself working in Sierra Club’s office or the Massachusetts State House, helping candidates and elected officials create and pass the critical environmental policies we need for a sustainable and livable future. Instead, I was sitting in my bedroom making phone calls and writing emails for a campaign fifty miles away.

Campaign volunteers making calls for Erika. (I’m in the bottom row, second from right)

However, I quickly became invested in Erika’s platform and, despite my challenges, began truly enjoying the work I was doing. Erika is a lifelong activist and community organizer who has spent her career fighting for affordable housing, vibrant public education, healthcare for all, racial and economic justice, and–most relevant to my interests–a bold and substantial approach to mitigating climate change. As I spent my days calling voters and volunteers, drafting social media and digital content, fundraising, conducting policy research, and writing about the need for a progressive voice in Somerville, I learned that I was a part of something bigger.

Although my days were exhausting, and it sometimes felt like I was doing inconsequential “busy-work,” I came to realize that the time I was putting in was actively contributing to building a better world. Social justice work is making change, and while I would prefer it to be a quick and painless process, pursuing justice takes time, energy, and a movement of people. By fighting so hard to elect Erika, a candidate whose values I believe in, I played a small role in making real change. If she is elected, I know she will fight for justice, give a voice to the oppressed, and work tirelessly to solve the challenges that our state, country, and world are facing. As a part of her movement, I also have a part in the outcomes she will create.

In reality, the work I was doing was not insignificant. Over the course of the summer, I made close to two thousand phone calls for the campaign, having hundreds of conversations with voters and advocating for Erika and the values she represents. I was named the campaign’s “Social Media Coordinator,” responsible for brainstorming, drafting, and curating daily posts on each of Erika’s platforms. These posts included fundraising asks, volunteer recruitment, sharing press releases, and announcing policy positions. I also created content for her webpage, wrote emails, applied for endorsements, and helped manage campaign databases.

The diversity of tasks I was assigned also gave me numerous opportunities to learn, as I was exposed to the complex and dynamic challenges of building a grassroots campaign. Each day was different, and while I was primarily interested in finding solutions to environmental issues, I was required to read about, research, and understand all of the policy areas that make up Erika’s campaign. Environmentalism cannot happen in a vacuum. Rather than simply protecting the planet and its biodiversity, we must also protect people and human rights. I grew to understand that environmental justice cannot be achieved if it is only focused on the environment and not also on the other issues our communities are facing. By working on this campaign, I learned a lot about what it means to pursue social justice.

Although this summer provided me with huge opportunities for personal and professional growth, I wish I had begun with a better perspective of the emotional burden of social justice work. The effort required to build a movement and advocate for your beliefs, especially when all of this is done virtually, during a pandemic, can make change feel impossible and hard work feel fruitless. However, by advocating for Erika, a Sierra Club endorsed candidate fighting for environmental justice, I am also fighting for environmental justice. This justice may be realized gradually, but without the movement of people behind it, change cannot happen.

Post 3: As my internship comes to an end, the world keeps on moving…

Faces of some of the many very hard working lawyers, social workers, paralegals, and interns at the monthly immigration unit meeting.

I’ve only been privy to some of the goings-on at a single nonprofit, so I certainly cannot speak for the world of work as a whole, nor for social justice work in general. However, I have learned quite a bit about what it looks like to operate within a legal nonprofit that, despite its considerable resources, brainpower, and passion, still has to work within the confines of a system that is pitted against its clients. I’d imagine this can be said for a lot of organizations similar to Legal Aid. Social justice work cannot exist without injustice. The impetus for the work is necessitated by a lack of that which nobody should have to fight for: basic respect, compassion, and protection by one’s fellow citizens and the government. Social justice work, from where I stand and from the little exposure I have had, seems to be about working simultaneously within and outside of the systems at play to ensure the humanization of the clients. 

I’ve been asked to write about what impact I’ve had on the organization in the time I’ve been there. I always struggle with this question. It’s not how I like to think. But, I’d say, in the short run, I’ve opened up space for the lawyers I have worked with to focus on tasks that only they are capable of doing. In the long run, I hope I will make the jobs of those at the organization a bit easier by mending the world they have to navigate with their client in some way. And it’s not an easy world.

One thing I’ve only begun to understand is how much let-down there is in this line of work. I was the person who discovered, due to some clerical error in the nebulous vacuum that is USCIS ( United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), that the visas we were preparing for a family of seven were going to take six years longer than expected. I discovered that a DACA client I was working with was actually ineligible for this status. I read the emails of a staff attorney desperately trying to get the casket of a young client she had worked with back to his mother.

There are barriers at every turn, yet there are also tremendous rewards. I’ve reassured many people, signed them up for benefits, listened to and documented their stories, and hopefully have made them feel heard. The other night I was interviewing the son of a woman who had suffered domestic violence, to hear his perspective. He’s fifteen. I explained that this would be the last time we would speak because I was an intern, but that his mommy ( he calls her mommy 😊) would be in very good hands. He looked at me and said “Oh nooooo, don’t go!” in a playful but earnest tone. In that moment, to have some confirmation that he and his mommy felt helped and heard was amazing. You can’t help everyone. So many things are out of one’s control; even the most senior of lawyers say that. But to know that there are concrete ways to make life better for some people helps to soften the blows and invite in hope. 

My advice for someone interested in this internship is to just give it a try. Call someone, e-mail someone, apply. It doesn’t have to be something you are 100% certain you will like. That defeats the purpose. A friend called me to talk about nonprofit work because he thought he might be interested (Like I’m some expert! No way!) and I had very few concrete answers for him. That’s when you stop thinking, and just start doing. Something. There is no other way to learn, especially in the nonprofit world.

If you’re interested in immigration, a great place to start is TRII (The Right to Immigration Institute). I’m still trying to connect more with the Waltham community, and this is a sound way of doing that and getting some truly hands-on experience not afforded to many undergraduates.

Blog post 3 – The journey coming to an end

It has been a great 2 months working for Nobee and the journey is coming to an end. This makes a great time to look back and reflect on what I contributed and achieved with my internship.

My goals at the beginning were to learn real programming skills, build projects, and get hands on experience with the software development cycle. At Nobee, I built an actual Ruby on Rails project and adding/modifying various functionalities to an existing one. From that, I believe I got quite good hands-on technical experience with Ruby on Rails. Furthermore, by joining in with the discussion and brainstorm, I was exposed to the internal operations and the communication process of a fast-paced startup. Overall, I would say my defined learning goals were met.

This internship has given me a glimpse into the life of a software engineer. There were some stressful times around deliverable deadline but, in all generality, the job is really interesting and has a decent work balance (this source says most work 40 hours work week but sometimes software engineers have to work evenings and weekends to solve problems). I have been enjoying learning a new programming language and solving problems. Therefore, this internship has definitely confirmed my interest and career choice as a software engineer. Also, this year and the current pandemic situation also provided a prospect of a remote software engineer job. It is by no means perfect and definitely an adjustment than working on-site. However, it is shown that working remotely as a software engineer could totally be viable.

Working remotely

All in all, I enjoyed my experience working for Nobee. The team comprises of smart and energetic young people and communication is dynamic and comfortable. My supervisor was super helpful, really devoted to help me solve my problems. My advice for future interns at Nobee as well as interns in general relates to communication. If you are running into a difficult problem or unclear instructions, the best thing to do is to discuss with your supervisor. The process of talking and explaining the problem to the supervisor is already the first step to tackle the problem. On top of that, sometimes a simple hint from the supervisor can connect that final dot in your thought process. My advice is not to hesitate to contact your supervisor/project manager and further discuss the problem while of course, making sure that they are available and happy to help.

Post 3: Wrapping up in the Governor’s Virtual Office

As for goals, I wasn’t able to accomplish the major ones, however, that is only due to the virus. Because of the virus, we are not able to work within the actual office in the state capital. It would have been there that I would have been able to meet a lot of cool people and made a lot of connections. That aside, I would still call his summer a success simply because of the fact that I spent my time working to help the constituent of this state. I would not really say that my goals changed.

This internship did not so much clarify but reassure my career choice. The constituent work is not as close to legal work as I would like but it’s still within government and we still do great work. Therefore, I figure if I enjoy this, then when I get a step closer to working in the field of my career, I will be even happier to be there. That said, during my time in this workplace I have discovered that I am adaptable. In the beginning, there was some trouble with getting my account set up. On top of that, when I did get my email, I found that I was not able to access the app that the rest of the team was working on. However, I stuck with it working through Gmail with my supervisor. There were also various processes that I had to learn in order to help constituents such as creating a case and often times drafting responses myself to send out in emails. I also learned that I need to work a little more on my communication skills. In that, my experience was sort of similar to the last half of the spring semester. Working online is just a bit more inconvenient than being in the environment and actively participating in your work.

If I had to give advice to someone who wanted an internship here I would highly recommend it. First off, everyone in the office is so nice. Rory was always there to help me when I needed despite everything through the virus. Jamal gave me great advice when I went to the office over winter break for some training. Secondly, it was a great experience in the sense that you learn so much about local government. Everyone pays so much attention to national politics but in reality, they know little to none about who is running their immediate everyday life. On the flip side to that, you learn a lot about how the local government works in response to the constituents who do take advantage of their power.

This summer I am most proud that I put my foot in the door. This internship is the first that has anything to do with my career choice. That in itself makes it all worth it, even if I did not get the full effect. I also met some very nice people that I hope to continue connecting with over the years to come.

This is a picture of the number of emails I have to go through. http://www.ctcapitolreport.com is the website we use to stay updated about things happening around the state.

When a journey comes to an end…

This summer working on the Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging Laboratory of Columbia University (UEIL) has been an amazing experience. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to make my summer during this strange time a productive one. I have certainly achieved a lot more things than I hoped for. Helping in the development of such an interesting research was truly an incredible way to invest my time and energy in, while at the same time improve myself as a scientist.

One of the reasons I wanted to pursue an internship this summer was that I wanted to experience working in a lab setting, in order to decide if that could be a viable career path for me. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was not able to physically be in the lab. Consequently, I did not get the chance to perform experiments in person or practice using lab equipment. Despite these difficulties, I had the opportunity to study how to analyze data and I became proficient in MATLAB. I learned how to write my own algorithms, which most of the time is a rather creative job.

During this internship, I was required to work on my own, which taught me some crucial skills about working independently, but made me realize that I really enjoy being part of a team and collaborating with other people. This summer, I also cultivated my ability to set goals and manage my time accordingly in order to achieve them. Through this experience, I learned more about myself and my abilities, but I’m set on a course to challenge myself even more.

To anyone interested in pursuing an internship at the UIEL lab in the future, I would say that you should be ready to work hard and dedicate a lot of their time into this research.  Another piece of advice I would like to pass on is the importance of finding a balance between struggling by trying to work through the difficulties on your own and asking for help. By forcing yourself into a situation where you have to think a problem through by yourself, you’re enhancing your critical thinking skills and challenging yourself. That way you learn to research and think outside the box when it comes to finding solutions to your problems. Some more advice I would like to share, is that you should make sure you are interested in the research of the lab you choose to work with because researching and studying about the lab’s research will take most of your time as an intern.

I am beyond thrilled to have worked for the UEIL lab and I am proud of my accomplishments this summer. Contributing to the prestigious research of this lab was something I was not expecting to be able to achieve in such a short amount of time. All those months of preparation, learning MATLAB on my own, and studying research papers were worth every second of my time.

Wrapping Up My Internship

Over the last few months, I continuously worked to help move forward the research on the mysteries of space dust near the Andromeda Galaxy, with the additional goal of learning more astronomy and programming. Throughout the summer, I consistently accomplished new goals, both research-related and personal. As I progressed my goals evolved, allowing me to continue challenging myself while learning along the way. My communications with my supervisor helped me adapt and change course when needed in order to best meet my goals.

 

This internship gave me first-hand experience with the effort and challenges associated with conducting research full-time. As my supervisor explained to me several times, unlike assigned homework, there is not always a correct answer associated with the problem. Research requires an open mind and a willingness to explore every detail with intense concentration and focus. Completing this internship entirely remotely was an added challenge to this project, however I learned more about myself due to this situation. Although I enjoyed this internship and found this work very interesting, I learned that I work much better when working in a team. My productivity definitely increases when I’m able to work through issues and bounce ideas off of my peers.

 

If I could give advice to a future student looking into completing a similar internship, I would first ask them what they are interested in and why. It is very important to understand exactly what piques their curiosity in order for them to maintain passion for their work. Showing up to work every day with a desire to continue unlocking the mysteries associated with their project will allow them to push forward even when the going gets tough. When they are stumped and not sure how to continue, their interest in the subject will help them prevail and think critically about the proper ways in which to move forward. Additionally, it is very important that they have a willingness to accept constructive criticism and an ability to learn from their mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes during research, but those that can find and learn from them are the most successful. Finally, I would explain that being an open and reliable team member will help everyone accomplish more together, as they will create a successful give and take relationship.

 

Through all of the difficult and stressful parts of the internship, the most rewarding part was the recognition from my supervisor about my gradual, but huge increase in ability to work independently and produce quality results. The learning curve for this internship was very steep, but as I continued working each part began clicking more quickly. As a result of my perseverance my work and subsequently my confidence improved. Looking back at the beginning of my internship to now, the entire process of struggling and learning left me with a a feeling of gratification.

(needs image) Post 3: Social Justice at MCSW

I was afforded the opportunity to explore my passion for social justice this summer because of the World of Work fellowship. Although policy has a substantial impact on the everyday lives of many, it is common knowledge that this field is not as lucrative as other disciplines. For this reason, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, much like other government commissions, doesn’t have the resources needed to hire interns like myself. Instead, they rely on unpaid interns to carry out their operations year-round. Social justice work is pivotal and necessary, yet, it is often overlooked and taken for granted. Furthermore, such work arises out of a great need for change, like every great movement, followed by a turning point in legislation and then society.

Social justice acknowledges that the scales of life are imbalanced and tipped in favor of a Eurocentric and male majority, largely leaving out women, people of color, and impoverished individuals. As a result, many in these communities succumb to the systemic injustices of legislation, institutions, and perceptions that oppose those who are marginalized. The most memorable social justice movements have countered societal norms, like the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage movement, Brown v. Board of Education, and Obamacare just to name a few.

In the time I’ve been with the MCSW, I truly feel as though I have contributed meaningful work on the issues of maternal health, economic equality, and topics concerning women of color. I have been given a number of assignments aimed to track the progress of health-centered legislation, specifically maternal health and menstrual equity. Most recently, I wrote a letter on behalf of the MCSW to Senator Karen Spilka for the support of bill S.1332, widely known as the Midwifery Bill. The goal of this legislation is to expand and provide better avenues for holistic, out-of-hospital birth for families across Massachusetts.

In the same manner, I wrote in support of An Act to Ensure Gender Parity and Racial and Ethnic Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions, a bill that would require all commissions to reflect the diversity of our commonwealth, in addition to ensuring equitable representation in public boards, Moreover,  I’ve been able to provide administrative support by organizing data and researching a variety of issues. One of them was creating a memo about women in Massachusetts that experience domestic abuse, and trying to come up with ways for the MCSW to support organizations dedicated to this work.

Before starting at the commission, I wish I would’ve known more about the legislative process on a state level and federal level. I found myself having to familiarize myself with new terminology, the process of passing a bill, and other caveats of policy work. Irrespective of that, I had the chance to learn about policy at a very peculiar time as COVID-19 rapidly altered the world. I was able to witness how priorities shifted to the extremely neglected needs of our most vulnerable populations. While this proactivity was necessary and needed, it exposed the extent of neglect our leaders and institutions have subjected these communities to, and there is much more work to be done.

Post 3: Finishing Summer at Love4Bukwo

My site in Bukwo

The summer is over, and now it is time to start thinking about the upcoming school year and the additional challenges that COVID is bringing to my final year on campus. Coronavirus is definitely a challenge that has thrown a curveball for everybody. Originally, I had plans to be over 9000 miles away from my home in Arizona in Bukwo, Uganda. Circumstances led me to conduct my internship virtually from home this summer.

World of Work (WOW) is an extraordinary program that provides students with opportunities to participate in a wide variety of fields during the summer. Without WOW and Hiatt, I never could have imagined working with Love4Bukwo this summer. Love4Bukwo is a nonprofit that is creating accessible healthcare for the people of the small town of Bukwo, Uganda. The organization is built upon reducing socioeconomic inequalities facing the Ugandan community. As Love4Bukwo focuses on providing equitable healthcare to community members, their foundation is bringing justice to the people of Bukwo and the inequalities they face through healthcare.

Love4Bukwo is still working to create a fully functional hospital as they have run into complications throughout their journey. As I was involved with this origination virtually, I was tasked with working on various projects. I participated and helped the organization with a wide variety of assignments. I helped my organization write a USAID grant, and worked on several different aspects of creating policies for the hospital. Working to create policies for the hospital, is essential as it creates a foundation for how the hospital will run and function upon opening.

Having the chance to work directly with an organization like Love4Bukwo was an extraordinary opportunity this summer. Something that I quickly realized while working with my internship was how elaborate it is to create a hospital. The amount of behind the scene work that goes into creating policies and procedures to ensure an operational hospital was astounding. I had no idea the amount of work going into addressing inequalities in small rural under-developed communities in the Global South. Working to address the healthcare inequalities that the people of this town face is such a large-scale project that the founders of Love4Bukwo have taken on. They have already built the facility and are working on expansions from around the world. They have to create policies and procedures, transport equipment, and medicine to the site, while also still hiring staff and physicians.

When I was searching for an internship for the summer last spring, I had no idea where to begin. But I found the best way to find an intriguing opportunity of the summer is to look at where you want to be in the future and selectively apply to programs that focus towards that goal. The best thing to do is really utilize networks and ask peers and colleagues for help. The connections that you build now will help you to be able to effectively reach out for new opportunities later down the road.

Post 3: Looking Back at My Internship

The world of work is volatile and invigorating. In these unprecedented times, the world of digital work can be seen as limited, and in many respects it is. Communicating with colleagues becomes a bit more difficult, but this forces you to become creative. In the same vein, you have to be creative with social justice work.

Though I was not hands-on with every social justice initiative I saw at my job, I made note of many of them. Social justice work makes you sit with injustices and inequities, sometimes knowing that you may not have to find solutions all on your own. What you can do is try to understand why they exist and validate that they do exist.

When I started to learn more about IEPs (individualized education programs), I realized that the root of the issue of how they are administered in schools cannot be squarely blamed on just one person or one thing. The public education system and the massive amount of students it houses makes it difficult for IEP evaluations to be individualized and truly reflective of every last student.

Through my role, I was able to see the difficulties of having digital speech therapy. There are some inconsistencies with technology that cause distractions that you would not necessarily find in in-person meetings. It exposes areas in therapy that can be further developed to accommodate more people. 

Before I started my internship at My Speech Matters,  it would have been helpful to have known a bit more about the standard strategies that speech therapists use with children, in particular. The reason why I would have liked to know more about them would be to compare how well they work virtually. I did, however, have an opportunity to learn more about a wide range of strategies after observing several sessions over time. Learning how to assuage a child’s temper or gauge their attention over the computer requires adjustments. As mentioned earlier, they may be dealing with sensory overload in their environments or not accustomed to remote sessions. I would have appreciated knowing how different things needed to be handled given varying circumstances.

Lastly, to anyone looking to pursue a career in the speech pathology field, I would say it is as fulfilling as your mission. I believe that if you have a passion for helping individuals to work towards achieving social-emotional skills and goals, then the speech pathology field would be fulfilling. It is also a field in which imbalances in care and implementation of strategy are present. I always wonder who does and does not have access to speech pathology resources and ask why.

Working at My Speech Matters this summer has given me insight into my career in the sense that it has allowed me to envision the space I want to cultivate and provide for my community. It has been an invaluable experience in the sense that I have been exposed to many things that the field is working on and many ways that the field can do better. As I go through introspection about how things will progress in the field by the time I enter it, I still know that many things will need work.

The Final Countdown

“My brain is like two supercomputers working together to process one million zillion signals.” –Anonymous Student

end of summer reflections

As I near the end of my internship with The Quad Manhattan, I am reflecting on my initial goals: To learn and implement new skills of my own; learn how to map a child’s progress and structure a case study; make connections with other students and professionals in my field; get a taste for the worlds of social work and school psychology; and learn how to properly support kids who are struggling.

Over these past two months, I have learned and implemented many strategies to help my students calm down and remain engaged throughout the day. In this sense, I definitely got to work with children in more of a psychological capacity. The case study, rather than being an academic paper as I’d expected, was an end of summer report geared toward the parents. I’m glad that I gained real-world experience communicating with parents and writing something that will help my students’ success in the coming year. 

I was also pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to shadow occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists during their sessions with my students, which helped me observer how these services worked in practice. I gained further experience as an educator as well, leading a psycho-social lesson on turn-taking for my Core group. Overall, as an intern, I did more teamwork than I thought I’d do, especially with the online format. It was really helpful to have that support from my core team, and I feel like I made a lot of great connections with other students, educators, and therapists. I definitely got closer with my kids than I thought possible over Zoom and will be sad to leave them.

A drawing that I made over Zoom with my student during choice time.

Working with The Quad Manhattan solidified my interest in social work and opened me up more to the possibility of working in a school. I would still like to do social work, but I am considering a school social work track, as I really enjoyed working with educators. This internship also pushed me more toward the idea of taking a gap year before getting my Master’s in Social Work (MSW). I learned that while taking classes is valuable, real-world experience is more fulfilling for me and just as important for someone in my field.

My takeaway is that if you’re going into counseling or social work, you don’t need to work in a lab at Harvard (unless you really want to); you need to gain real-world experience by interacting with your target population. You will never know what to expect until you meet the people you intend to serve. If you’re interested in being a Psychosocial Intern at The Quad Manhattan, don’t do anything else in addition to this internship. It’s a full-time job and you will need down time in order to give your students the support that they need. If you end up at The Quad Manhattan, be ready to adjust your students’ goals no matter how robust they seem, and remain open to suggestions from your peers.

I enjoyed so many aspects of my experience with The Quad Manhattan, but I’m proudest of what my students were able to accomplish this summer and the role I played in helping them. My hope is that my work will leave a lasting positive impact on their well-being, and that I can continue to help others in similar ways.

Reflecting On My Internship Experience with Ecomingling

Interning with Ecomingling helped me achieve academic, career, and personal goals. Before the start of my internship, I outlined some of the goals I had hoped to accomplish throughout the course of the summer. These goals included enhancing my environmental knowledge, constructing a clearer understanding of the types of organizations and occupations that exist in the environmental sector, and honing my written and verbal communication skills. I feel proud and grateful to have satisfied each of these goals throughout the course of my internship!

My internship definitely allowed me to clarify my career interests. As previously stated, one of my pre-defined goals was to broaden my understanding of the environmental field as a whole. Ecomingling’s central project currently is the establishment and development of Israel’s first and only anti-plastic coalition, consisting of 10 Israeli NGOs, organizations, and businesses. Forming relationships with and learning about each of these members furthered my understanding of the environmental sector as a whole, and thus, helped me to clarify potential career interests. 

Each of these coalition members are vital to the well-being and growth of the coalition as a whole. Therefore, a lot of my internship duties required me to be in communication with each of these coalition members. Through this communication, I spoke with various environmental leaders in Israel and  was able to establish professional relationships with many interesting people and organizations. In addition to communicating with the coalition board members, I also connected with the various social media campaign managers of each coalition member organization. The relationships I formed with the other social media campaign managers taught me a lot- not only about social media management, but also about the different moving pieces of the entire environmental sector in Israel! 

Just a couple days ago, I was lucky enough to virtually meet with an incoming intern who will take over my role with Ecomingling. Speaking with him felt very significant because I conceptualized and verbalized everything that I learned this summer. After explaining the general internship duties, I also gave him a small piece of advice: ensure that you are genuinely interested in the “why” of Ecomingling. I explained to him that I believed my internship was so successful because I cared deeply about the “why” of Ecomingling- its mission to accelerate sustainability across the globe. I told him that being empowered by the larger picture propelled me in my work and motivated me to do it well. He agreed with me and explained that he felt the same way, which made me feel both comfortable and excited to leave my job in the hands of such a capable and enthusiastic newcomer. 

I am very proud of so much of the work I accomplished this summer: creating Facebook pages, drafting and publishing thoughtful and interesting posts, researching how differing national plastic policies affect those nations’ marine debris, researching where Ecomingling should expand internationally, communicating well and learning from various individuals in the environmental sector, establishing positive relationships with other Ecomingling employees, and so much more. However, I am most proud of one thing: working for an organization that helps make the world a better place. Ecomingling strives to make the earth sustainable and healthy for all living things and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to their mission. 

Here is an image of a post I made to a Facebook group with over 270,000 people. It received 25 comments! 

Here is an image of the spreadsheet I use to plan out the posts I make to Facebook. 

Click here for a link to the Ecomingling facebook page!

Click here for a link to the Israeli Plastic Pollution Prevention Coalition Facebook page, which is the coalition created and developed by Ecomingling!

Final post!

I most definitely feel that I achieved my defined learning goals this summer. My academic goal was to “gain hands-on experience in journalism and thus apply my studies as a journalism and American studies student to real life.” In fact, I feel that I achieved this goal far more than I expected to. I did not anticipate how much I would get to write about and explore American history and I believe that in actually applying the past to current events and situations, I gained really valuable insight and perspective on many of the issues I’ve studied the last two years. 

My career goal for the internship was “to gain professional experience working in a national magazine setting and to come out of the internship having published more of my own writing.” I’ve published 11 articles, and have been really lucky to be able to stay on in the fall as a contributor for Ms.— so that number will continue to grow! While I didn’t get to experience an in-office work environment, I do still feel that I learned about general policies and practices within the field (such as how to pitch a story, how to edit, how to learn particular style guidelines, etc.).

Finally, my personal goal for the internship was “to improve my own journalistic and nonfiction writing and gain experience writing with an activist lens.” Thanks to my wonderful supervisor, I feel that my writing skills have greatly improved since the beginning, which I am really proud of. I also got the chance to work as a feminist, and in the process, learned a lot about journalistic ethics and professional writing in general.

Surprisingly (to me at least), I don’t feel that my learning goals have changed. I think I went into this experience with really clear insight and I worked hard to reach those aims. Thanks to the generally well-thought internship, and my supervisor’s support, I feel that I really did accomplish what I set out to do.

Undoubtedly this internship has helped me clarify my career goals and interests. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in journalism before going in but coming out, I feel even more confident and is now considering branching out into more news reporting. All of my journalism experiences so far have been with magazines, mostly digital magazines. I have really loved the pace and style required for this kind of journalism as well as the wide range of genres I can write in. That being said, my few forays into more “newsy” reporting (such as this article) have piqued my interest. I definitely would like to explore this field further.

I would highly recommend spending the summer as an editorial intern with Ms. Magazine. Most importantly, my supervisor was endlessly supportive, thoughtful and helpful to me and the other interns. She took time to get to know each of us (even in a remote setting!) and once she did, made an effort to give us assignments she knew we would care about and learn from.

In terms of more general advice about interning in journalism, I would say take initiative. If you have an idea for an article, don’t hold it in. Pitching ideas to my boss this summer was an excellent experience and practice for the future (more advice— learn how to pitch really well!). It was also really exciting because I was always so invested and eager to write pieces that were entirely my idea from the start.  

The article I am most proud of is this article. 

I got to do two longer interviews for the piece and learned a lot about synthesizing research and interviews into a cohesive and flowing strong story. In general, I am just really proud of the ways I pushed myself out of my comfort zone these past few months. My very first piece was one that I pitched, which was exciting in itself, and I made an active effort throughout the internship to try different things and learn as much as possible. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity, in part because I was able to grow in this way and challenge myself while loving every minute of it.

Post 3: Looking back — An Amazing Summer

Almost three months have passed since I started my internship at BRAVE for Veterans, Inc. I witnessed the change in myself. At the beginning of my internship, I knew little about my supervisor, the field of veteran service, and the employment market for veterans. Though I still have a lot to learn, I am surely much more familiar with my work than before. While gaining new skills from my learning experience, I have been helping BRAVE research into the latest circumstances of veteran employment and also potential employers planning to hire veterans.

What I didn’t know at the start was that I actually learned a lot from my supervisor, Mr. Leroy Ashwood. By working closely with him, I found out that he is more than a successful social entrepreneur. He has a deep passion for his career advocating for veterans and a genuine attitude towards people regardless of their background, which he considered essential to his work. He showed me important qualities of a dedicated social worker, and I will keep them in mind.

Having attended virtual conferences and listened to podcasts about veteran service, I was amazed by the tight community of veterans and their family members. Building and maintaining connections are especially important.

I’ve been looking into the statistics provided by the Department of Labor focusing on the unemployment rate of veterans. This is part of the research for the upcoming project that helps veterans find jobs. With the latest July data just released, I learned that the overall unemployment rate of veterans last month is about ten percent, which is significantly higher than the percentage of July 2019. The virus really makes a lot of veterans lose their jobs. As I divided the data by different age groups, I found out that veterans aged 18 to 24 have an especially high unemployment rate, with 18.3% unemployed. Young veterans struggle to settle down at the start of their career.

I also looked into employers interested in hiring veterans. I then made sheets and tables including useful information, along with reports analyzing and summarizing the data. I am sure this will be the basis for the talent search project that will provide support to veterans looking for well-paid jobs.

Statistics about Veteran Unemployment Rate

Looking back at my experience so far, I wish I had known that I can be more proactive and give some constructive feedback about the projects I will be working on, instead of simply following instructions. I think this would be a good way for me to dedicate more effort to my internship and therefore gain more knowledge and skills from it. I also wish I had realized earlier that it’s important to have a fixed schedule when I take online classes and work at the same time. That would have helped me remove unnecessary distractions and become more efficient. If I had a chance to give advice to others who want to work at BRAVE or in the veteran service industry, I would say the key to nonprofit work is usually your determination or how much you care about what you are doing.

Post 3: That’s a Wrap! My World of Work with JDI

As summer comes to a close and I begin packing my things to leave Boston, there is much to reflect on with my experience interning at Jane Doe Inc. These last three months have highlighted my capacity for an all-virtual internship I didn’t know I had in me before! I have met so many amazing people that have dedicated their lives to sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and advocacy, expanded on my personal internship workload, and connected with various professional networks. 

The world of work during a global pandemic has challenged all my pre-existing notions of how an organization operates under pressure. During this time, professional spaces like JDI have needed to transform and accommodate their company staff virtually to comply with public health and safety measures. At the beginning of summer, I viewed the adjustment to my remote workspace as temporary, one that might take me a few weeks to settle into. In hindsight, this wasn’t the case. Adjusting to the new “normal” of a virtual work environment is something I, along with everyone else, did consistently throughout the summer. It is something we will all continue to do in the coming  year. Every day I worked, I was choosing to adapt and challenge my ideas of a conventional workspace. This has led to heightened open-mindedness about what work could look like in the future. As I enter into my second half of college and consider more seriously my prospects and goals for after school, my capability and understanding for a virtual work environment will definitely be factored in.

Behind the scenes planning for the Multiple Truths Event. I created a 9-Week Plan for myself and my coworkers at the beginning of summer to outline our work up until the day of the event!

My internship with JDI emphasized the values of social justice and responsibility above all. With a focus on sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and advocacy, I learned a great deal about the field. Social justice work means amplifying the voices, stories, and demands of those who don’t have a seat at the table (or who are not even allowed in the room). It entails active listening, understanding your own positions of privilege and power, and using your platform to equalize the playing field as much as you possibly can. I’ve tried to incorporate all of this and then some into my work at JDI, which consisted primarily of planning and holding a virtual event panel. “Multiple Truths: Survivorship in the 2020 Elections” was held on August 6 via Zoom Webinar, and after months of preparation with the rest of the JDI staff, I had the privilege of moderating a panel discussion with four brilliant, incredibly experienced leaders and activists. What started with a small idea in the back of my brain turned into a space that had over two hundred registrants and hosted over one hundred real-time attendees, accessibility features (including an ASL interpreter) and the most powerful voices and stories I have ever heard. The event was also recorded and will be posted to JDI’s social media channels for all to view!

A snapshot of the virtual event! Pictured is me, the four panelists, and an ASL interpreter.

I hope this becomes a project an intern takes on every summer and the space created for sexual assault survivors continues to grow and flourish. Interning for an organization that focuses on domestic violence/sexual assault work strengthens my belief of how important it is to contribute to this work. It is also constant work; the fight for sexual assault survivors and amplifying their voices and stories never ends. Thus, my advice to someone who wants to pursue an internship with JDI or anywhere else that does prevention work is that pacing yourself is a must. This work can be heavy at times, and I encourage you to do what feels safe and best for you first and foremost. JDI is an organization that values hard work and collaboration, but also emphasizes maintaining boundaries, respecting others’ limits, and practicing self-care.

Thanks to the Hiatt WOW Fellowship, Boston has been my home while interning this summer! After work hours, I had time to go to museums (like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) that reopened and follow social distancing/safety guidelines.

I’m so thankful to have been a part of this organization and to contribute in the ways I did in the last few months. I cannot recommend interning with JDI enough, and I will definitely miss it! 

If you would like to learn more about Jane Doe Inc. or find out how to get involved, click here.

Reflecting on my Internship Experience

While reflecting on my learning goals from the beginning of the summer, I believe that I have satisfied them. Not only has my writing improved as the summer went on, but I also believe that my ability to read with an editor’s, critiquing eye has enhanced. Compared to the beginning of the summer, I now write my coverage much more quickly and in a concise manner. At the beginning of my internship, I had a hard time condensing an entire story to a two-page synopsis. This skill has improved greatly to the point that I think that I have become a more concise writer who is able to express her ideas directly and to the point. In regard to my editing skills, I have learned the difference between reading for pleasure and reading for problems. When you are reading with the intention to find lapses, holes, and problems within the story, it shifts the way you read and understand. I have learned that if I actively read a story with the hope to make it better for the next person that reads it, I have the creativity and eye to find things that I would have previously glossed over. Therefore, I have learned a great deal from my internship. On top of fine-tuning my reading and editing skills, I have learned what kind of stories and writers are out there and what makes a story unique and noteworthy.

In regard to my career interests, this internship has taught me that publishing is a field that I would love to pursue. I thought I knew for sure that I wanted to stick with books, but this internship has also exposed me to the world of screenplays, film, and tv shows. These are fields that I have discovered that I am equally interested in. In the workplace, I now feel more confident in my writing knowing that esteemed writers have read my comments and agreed with them. This will make me a more successful worker. It has given me a boost of confidence knowing that my writing and ideas are valid and fit in within an established workplace.

To anyone interested in an internship in this industry/field, I would give the advice of not being intimidated by the size and length of some of the projects. It can be intimidating to receive a 500-page book and expect to read the whole thing quickly while also brainstorming comments. In this scenario, it’s important to accept that it’s okay to read quickly, jotting down significant notes and plot moments as you go.  I would also give the advice of trusting your own ideas because an author might find value in them.

example comments

As a final reflection on my internship, I am most proud of the fact that some authors read and agreed with my suggestions. I am proud that my ideas could come to fruition in a finalized project while knowing that I played a role in that very publication.

Post 2: Reflecting on the Importance of Civic Engagement in Legislation Reform

Interning for TRII has provided me with an opportunity to observe and participate in civic engagement. I mentioned in my first blog that I was assigned the task of conducting research on recent changes to the law proposed by the Department of Homeland Security. I have also been doing research on future asylum seekers who would be negatively affected by the rule change. Based on this research, I have been helping the Institute to prepare its comments on the rule change. After I completed my individual research and finished my own comments, I was assigned to organize a writing workshop on behalf of TRII to mobilize more people to write and submit their comments by the deadline to support asylum seekers.

FB event I created

This is truly an experience where I was able to utilize the network I developed at Brandeis and the organizational skills developed from running the Brandeis debate team: I organized and prepared resources essential to writing professional and effective comments, and I reached out to hundreds of people at Brandeis and beyond. The event ended up drawing people from across the state who did not know about the proposal. Watching them learn about the issue and submit their comments was fulfilling and inspiring.

Helping to organize this event reminded me of what I learned about civic engagement in my classes Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: Legislative Framework with Professor Breen and Deconstructing War, Building Peace class with Professor Gordon. Although those classes share different content, they both emphasized the importance of civic engagement in terms of legislative reform at the national and international levels. The mobilization of the public is key to frame the policies that fit the best interests of the public. And, from my intern experience, I observed that probably the most severe obstacle toward that is to get people involved in the first place. Many people didn’t know about the proposal, or they lacked the knowledge to post a valid comment. It becomes especially difficult when the government only allows a limited time period to accept comments from the public. Therefore, it becomes really important for third party players, such as non-profits, to use effective means to mobilize the public.

Pamphlet I created to help people to submit their comments

For the upcoming project, I was assigned to help mobilize the public to comment on a draft report formed by the Commission on Unalienable Human Rights established by Mike Pompeo. The report, after being finalized, will have a significant influence on U.S. foreign policy on the matter of human rights. The public has only fourteen days to make comments on it, and I am looking forward to helping organize more workshop events in the future to help raise awareness. Although the internship was initially supposed to be more legal-issue oriented, considering the effects of the pandemic, I find that doing advocacy work is meaningful and helpful as well. For the rest of my internship, I still wish to participate in specific immigration cases if I am given the opportunity.

Blog post #2

During my time at Brandeis, I have learned to have a deeper appreciation for the values of community and lifelong learning. The university believes that “[e]very individual has a vested interest in the well-being of the community, and, therefore, an obligation to stay informed, to make positive contributions, and to offer assistance to those who need our help.” With Answer the Call, I have been able to do just that: be part of a community, a family. The families I work with all have a bond that could never be broken, being that they want to honor their loved ones who sacrificed their lives for others. 

I’ll never forget my first tour of Brandeis. The sense of community and camaraderie on campus was very high on that fall Sunday afternoon. Then, a year later, arriving on campus, I was able to experience the friendships and bonds built amongst friends and professors. Just like in the first responder community, these bonds can never be broken. 

Lifelong learning has various components to it. Whether you are learning in or out of the classroom, enriching your mind with education and new experiences can increase your intelligence. In regards to lifelong learning, Brandeis believes that “[e]ach of us is both teacher and student; we regard each moment as an opportunity to share a learning experience with others, and we accept challenges for the advancement of the community as a whole.”

Both of these components are significant because they help broaden my understanding in terms of how to assist with families who have lost their loved ones in a Line of Duty Death, as well as how to honor their legacies. Families that lose their loved ones will need a lot of support, whether that be financial or social support. Being able to witness this with Answer the Call has been such a wonderful opportunity, and I have recently extended my internship to early August, instead of ending next Monday! The organization itself creates a bond between the six hundred families it serves, as well as those that are current first responders and want to raise awareness about the organization. We also see actors such as Pete Davidson promoting the organization by frequently discussing it in various interviews. 

With this internship being virtual, I have been able to connect with colleagues and families via Zoom and other telecommunication methods. Answer the Call has been nothing but helpful in terms of working with my schedule, as well as adapting to the virtual workspace. With this, projects and assignments that were supposed to be in person transitioned to a virtual work space.  

Just like at Brandeis, the events created by Answer the Call staff provide families with the opportunity to have some fun, while also connecting with other families who have been through similar experiences. The bonds of these families can never be broken, and I am proud to be part of establishing these connections with the families of those who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty.

Post 2: Halfway through my internship at the Valera Lab

I can’t believe I am more than halfway through my summer internship at the Valera Lab. Although it is virtual, I still have been gaining understanding of conducting clinical research and being able to help conduct it myself, too. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am sad that I am not able to work in person with the lab staff, especially my wonderful co-interns Sarah and Olivia. However, we have managed to bond during training and conducting our own independent research project which explores the prevalence of intimate partner violence in transgender women.

I have been incredibly impressed by the lab’s ability to completely re-focus their efforts due to the pandemic. We adapted the in-person protocol to be administered online, and the transition was seamless due to efforts of the lab staff. Instead of using blood marker, hair cortisol, balance, and neurocognitive tests as primary data, we are now using qualitative accounts in conjunction with remotely administered neurocognitive and balance tests. I have enjoyed doing the work but must say that it has gotten very difficult to work from home. It is very easy to get distracted and feel motivated when you are not in a work environment. However, I have been doing the best that I can.

The World of Work is much more exciting than academic life. I believe that learning happens best in a practical, applied experience, and I have gained so much by being in this environment. I have also learned much about working with people while working at the Valera Lab. Through interviewing study participants about their abusive relationships, I have learned how to be compassionate and sympathetic, while maintaining a professional demeanor.

This internship has greatly impacted the trajectory of my academic and professional careers. Before beginning my work at the Valera Lab, I didn’t seriously consider clinical research as a potential career. However, from this experience, I have felt extremely interested in pursuing a career in neuropsychiatric research. I believe that research of this manner makes an impact on the population being studied, and my dream is to highlight and utilize the social justice underpinnings of scientific and public health research.

During this experience, there have been moments where I found myself wishing that I studied psychology and neuroscience, as an academic background like this would enrich my learning in lab. However, I believe that everything happens for a reason – if I hadn’t studied biology and public health, I may not be in this research position right now. And as an incoming junior, I still have time to take neuropsychology classes at Brandeis. I am hopeful that going into those classes with the background that I already have from conducting neuropsychiatric research will give me unique viewpoints and advantages.

MRI Technique Enables Visualization of Brain in Motion ...

Again, I would like to thank Brandeis University’s World of Work (WOW) program for allowing me to do this very impactful and meaningful work.

– Maddy Pliskin