Blog Post 3: Thank you WOW!

Of the past 15 posts on @womensfundwmass, I have made nine of them!

I have finished my 10 weeks at the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM)! It has flown by, and I feel so lucky to have secured this internship and the amazing funding through WOW. 

In my first blog post, I detailed my three goals: to learn more about non-profits, to become more confident in my creative decision-making and get more experience being involved in research. I can confidently say that I have fulfilled these goals and so much more. I am leaving with concrete work experience in the field I hope to pursue after graduation, hard skills involving research and community engagement and practical skills regarding teamwork and social issues. I don’t think my priorities changed over my internship, but I do think my goals were fluid and expanded, which allowed me to gain all of the above from my time at WFWM. 

Leaving this internship, I feel more intrigued about the possibilities of the non-profit world. I have loved working in the gender equity field but that has fueled my interest in what non-profits in other sectors look like, specifically in LGBTQIA+ rights and disability justice. I think that is what I have learned about myself most this summer – that I want to discover more and get out of my comfort zone. I want to see more of what I can accomplish, whether that’s in another dynamic job in the same field or something completely different. 

The advice I would give to another student at the WFWM or in the same field is the same – meet people! By far, the most fulfilling part of my 10 weeks at the Women’s Fund was working with such a strong and inspiring group of women. I had only met my supervisor, Kelley, before starting my internship and had no idea that I would be joining a group of individuals with just as much passion and drive as she has. Meeting individually with each member of the staff has been extremely rewarding, and I would recommend pursuing these 1:1 connections with anyone and everyone. 

Overall, I am really proud of myself for getting this internship and this grant. I had to work hard to even get this placement and continue to work hard in my position. I am leaving these 10 weeks feeling more confident in myself and my future. Being a rising senior, the “real job” chapter is on the horizon and I was really nervous about being ready. I am definitely feeling less scared now and more excited about the future.

Post 2: Another great month at The Women’s Fund :)

Now, it’s been about a month and a half of working at the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. It is strange to think about how I only have a few weeks left. I’ve been doing research of my own and looking at others’ research over the past weeks, and it’s been very fulfilling. Some of this research has been going into infographics on our Instagram. Attached below is the first slide of an important graphic I made on reproductive justice, which has become a large chunk of what I’ve been thinking about and working on.  Check out the full post on @womensfundwmass!

The main difference I’ve found has been how self-motivated my internship has been. Besides a few meetings a week, I am primarily working alone, sitting at my computer for approximately 5 hours a day. This has been surprisingly different from Brandeis academics. Even though there is a lot of self-starting in my classes, the lack of due dates in my internship has forced me to find out what works for me in terms of being productive. I’ve always been a fan of lists, but keeping myself accountable to write lists every morning (especially through the Trello that my supervisor and I share), has helped me immensely. I hope to bring these newly polished organizational skills back to my academic life. 

Additionally, I have appreciated the way that the World of Work opportunity has made my brain work in a different way. Instead of producing work that is entirely based on my own effort and can be often seen as a representation of my intellect, I have been able to be less anxious about the work I submit to my supervisor. Therefore, I have been able to put my full effort into actually creating work I enjoy, instead of becoming fixated on a future grade. 

It’s hard to entirely list out all the skills that I’ve learned during this time. Since I’m in it right now, I can imagine that most of the skills I’ve gained will be realized after I’m done and working somewhere else. That being said, I have noticed that I am more confident in my creative choices, which was one of my initial goals going into this internship. Being able to trust myself is extremely important and it’s definitely been something that is missing in my professional life. Additionally, running professional social media accounts under a supervisor that is knowledgeable about marketing and content creation has given me skills that I am so thankful for. Plus, those skills will help me immensely in my senior year job working at Hiatt (woohoo!!). 

It’s been so lovely to see all the work done by all the other WOW recipients and this summer will be one I will not forget.

Post 1: My first month at the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts!


For almost a month now, I have been lucky enough to be the Communications and Research Intern at The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM). With the goal of increasing gender equity in the region, WFWM is thoroughly invested in the well-being of all those who identify as women in the four regions of Western Mass. Through grant-making, partnering with local organizations, and facilitating leadership programs, WFWM has achieved incredible change throughout Massachusetts and has strong goals to continue this success. While the office was previously located in Springfield, the entire staff is working remotely so I am doing the same. Luckily, my few worries about a virtual job (zoom fatigue, disconnect from other workers, feeling like I can’t ask questions) have been proven wrong, as the six other staff members have figured out an effective strategy using the Microsoft Office suite to stay connected and productive. 

As the Communications and Research Intern, my job encompasses a large number of tasks. Overall, I assist the Community Engagement and Research Manager with her duties involving social media/marketing efforts and the new research she is aiding in. So far, this has involved looking through their social media accounts and finding ways in which they can improve their reach and accessibility. Largely, I have spent my days editing their series called “Wait…What!?” which is a bimonthly zoom seminar in which they invite local people, activists, and experts to talk about social issues that are currently in popular culture, adding a local lens to it. For example, just a few weeks ago there was a fantastic episode entitled “Reproductive Justice and the Future of Roe v. Wade” which included two women speaking about the many different ways you can procure a safe abortion (even through telehealth!), the dangers of “crisis pregnancy centers,” and how to order abortion pills online. Given the news this week, I believe this is a wonderful episode to watch, especially with the information specific to Massachusetts within it. 

While my last month has been filled with primarily video editing, there are several things that I am looking forward to in the next month and a half at WFWM. Firstly, my supervisor is very involved in one of the Women’s Fund’s new initiatives, the Greater Springfield Women’s Economic Security Hub. This project is focused on collecting community-driven research data to discover obstacles to women’s economic security. In the next few days, once the research portion is complete, I will begin to help edit and refine the report. Additionally, I will hopefully get to conduct my own research as I plan a social media campaign for the fall. Lastly, while this internship is remote I have had the opportunity to go to one in-person event thus far to take photos and there will be a few more in-person programs that I am looking forward to. 

Looking back on my goals (listed below), I feel as if I have already made a dent in completing them and I can see a clear path to accomplishing them by the end of the summer. 

Academic Goal: Learn how to conduct and manage research, and how to present it clearly.

Career Goal: Make tangible connections in the non-profit world to enhance job prospects for a career in the non-profit industry after graduation.

Personal Goal: Build confidence in decision-making and expand upon creative pursuits and skillsets.


-Esther Daube-Valois, Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts Communications and Research Intern