Mid-Point Post from UMB Campus Center

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

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

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

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

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

photo (2)

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


Starting off at the Consortium

This summer I’m interning at the Umass Boston Consortium on Gender Security and Human Rights. There’s a lot to unpack on this long title alone and, as an intern, the discoveries haven’t stop after fully understanding what the Consortium does or how it operates. As a member of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, the Consortium is devoted to building knowledge about gender and security to inform policy-makers and practitioners all around the world, as well as to develop feminist perspectives on human rights and peace-building. It even helped passed the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, a landmark resolution that finally acknowledged the role of women in prevention and resolution of conflict. As an International and Global Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies double major, I am so excited about this organization’s mission and I don’t think I could have found something more suitable for my interests!

The Consortium’s ambitious mission comes along with only 3 paid staff members and only one small office, but over 20 summer interns from a variety of backgrounds, all sharing an interest in international development and gender analysis. With this much work to be done and the exciting combination of people’s strengths and backgrounds, we started the week off learning about the importance of working as a team. At the Consortium, this often means that while smaller groups may be working on specific projects, a variety of softwares and communication tools are used to maintain a cohesive team that moves forward as a whole in achieving its goals.

After having learned a whole lot about research softwares such as Zotero, project management softwares such as Smartsheet, and everything about the Consortium’s formatting conventions (as well as almost 30 people’s names!), I am very excited to start working on my projects. I am currently in the Consortium’s website development team, and we’ve been working on enhancing the research hub that the Consortium makes available to practitioners that don’t have access to academic databases. It’s been really interesting looking through different databases such as JSTOR and World Cat and picking out what we think would be interesting and valuable for the Consortium’s own search tool. I can’t wait to see it all come together and to test our new advanced search tool for myself!

One of my favorite things about the Consortium is the staff’s concern with making the intern’s experience as enriching and educational as possible. The Director has even taken extra time to assign me to a specific research topic because she wants to make absolute sure that my work will put me ahead of the game when I start writing a senior thesis. I feel so lucky to be working with people who never fail to take into consideration our needs as interns and college students. Right now, my potential research topics will probably be in the area of feminist critiques of human rights discourses, gender mainstreaming in international organizations or education, gender and conflict. I can’t wait to find out exactly what it will be and report back!


In the meantime, here are some pictures of my past few days at the Consortium:



I’m very lucky to have other fellow Brandeis students, Emily and Iris, working with me at the Consortium every day!



This is the seating-area of the Umass Boston Campus Center. The interns often get together here for lunch breaks when it’s too hot to go out in the lawn.

-Karen Lengler, ’15


This is how the Consortium’s home page currently looks like. It’s a huge improvement from what the Consortium had previously and I’m excited to make it even better with the website development team!