One thing I have learned at Brandeis—especially this past year—has been the importance and joy of working in a group setting with my peers. Given the virtual nature of the school year, I think many professors felt that it was important to create group assignments for students to develop relationships. Before the pandemic, however, this was still a foundation of my learning experience at Brandeis and helped me develop important skills in working with others to complete a goal. Aside from formal group assignments, working with friends and peers to ask questions about assignments or lectures has been a vital way for me to succeed in my assignments and get the most out of a class.
At my internship with Genocide Watch this summer, almost all of my work is done in collaboration with at least one other intern. I am currently working on a Timestream presentation (similar to a PowerPoint) on the ecocide in Brazil under President Jair Bolsonaro with two other interns—who have been fantastic to collaborate with—in order to learn more about a new issue that we were not familiar with at the start. Having them on my team has been incredibly helpful, not just in learning about the atrocities, but also learning the Timestream platform (which is not very user-friendly). Once this project is finished, it will be posted here. I am also in the planning stages of a project that will be done in collaboration with a few of the other interns to map atrocities committed by the U.S. government against indigenous populations.
Outside of that formal group setting, I get to work on three different teams: Advocacy, Alliance, and Research. Each team has a group meeting every week where everyone shares what they have been working on and what their goals are for the next week. These meetings are incredibly helpful, not only to keep myself accountable (it is incredibly helpful in a virtual internship to have other people to keep you accountable to finish projects), but to also have a space to ask questions and get inspired by the incredible work that my fellow interns are pursuing. I have also developed a number of relationships with my fellow interns and often work with them, in an unofficial capacity, to read over each other’s work and ask each other questions. This has been extremely helpful, not only from a work perspective, but also to get to know the other interns, which can be difficult when working virtually.
The importance of working with others in the context of genocide prevention has been obvious from the beginning at my internship. Genocide Watch knows that it cannot successfully prevent genocide on its own. We work with many other organizations in the Alliance Against Genocide and with governments to ensure that our work has the greatest possible impact. The ability to work with others in a productive and meaningful way is a vital skill in life to ensure meaningful work in the context of social justice. I know that developing this skill both at Genocide Watch and at Brandeis will be significant in my future professional endeavors.