Post #3: Pediatric Epilepsy Clinical Research Internship at Boston Children’s Hospital

As I begin to wrap up my summer internship, I started to reflect on a few things during my time as a senior pediatric epilepsy research intern. Prior to starting my summer internship, I defined a few learning goals that I set out to accomplish. I wanted to learn the basis of status epilepticus and encephalopathies. I learned this by taking lessons on how to read EEGs, recognizing different classifications of seizures, and learning how to read various EEG reports. Research-wise, I aspired to utilize PowerChart and REDCap and help research assistants enroll patients in clinical studies throughout the summer. By working hard on various projects and seeking mentorship from experienced members of my lab, I was able to achieve all of my goals. In addition to these goals, I was also able to mentor and train the summer interns as well as participate in the fall internship application process. Both of these experiences strengthened my skills in leadership, professionalism, and learning how to stand out among a pool of highly qualified applicants.

As stated in my previous blog post, this internship has reaffirmed my passion for going into medicine. Working at Boston Children’s Hospital and getting to know the patients and their conditions inspired me to take more interest in career fields such as pediatrics and neurology, which I would like to learn more about in the future. While I was able to learn how to conduct various tasks, I was also able to learn more about myself in the process. From this experience, I learned that I like clinical research, leading a team, and learning more about how epilepsy manifests.

If I could give some advice to a student interested in this internship or internships in clinical research, I would advise students to apply to as many internships as they can and not be afraid to ask any questions throughout the process. I find it important to really be involved in a lab that studies what you are interested in! This makes the learning process super fun and motivates you to learn more! While in the process,  is important to be knowledgeable about the internships you are applying to. This means you should read more about what research the lab is involved in so you can demonstrate your interest during your interviews. Some essential qualities to have if you are interested in clinical research those such as having strong leadership skills, collaboration with your team, respect for the patient’s privacy, and being flexible with different changes of plan.  

This summer, I am most proud of learning how to read EEGs, successfully completing multiple projects, and utilizing leadership skills to mentor the summer interns.  I am also very proud of being part of a team that is striving to implement new changes in the lab by advocating for more equitable resources for all backgrounds within the hospital and the academic opportunities currently running. I am excited to have been given the opportunity to continue to work in the lab throughout the academic year and learn more about epilepsy research. I am very grateful to the Loddenkemper Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, the Hiatt Career Center, and my family for believing in me and constantly supporting me throughout this internship. I am sad this summer internship is coming to an end, but I am so happy to continue to be part of the Loddenkemper Lab and help make a difference in the field of epilepsy research. See you next time!

Nandini 🙂

#3 – Ending my Internship with the Integrity Institute

When I began my internship at the start of June, I was excited, but I thought the two months and change of work I would be doing wouldn’t go by quickly. Yet here I am. Summer is ending, and with it, I am concluding my time with the Integrity Institute in the capacity of a Research and Communications Intern. 

When I think of what makes the Integrity Institute special, I have trouble assigning the title to one entity. As I end my time as a member of the staff, it is clear that everyone, both members and staff, are highly talented. Each staff member made a gesture of some kind that improved my internship experience, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. While the Institute’s staff is still in the single digits and growing, they can achieve whatever is set in front of them.

I just gave myself a perfect segway into what makes the institute so remarkable: its members. I may have given the institute’s members a brief introduction in my previous post, but I would love to give them more recognition in my final post. The institute’s members are talented tech professionals with a background in trust and Safety and/or integrity work and who use their valuable time to volunteer for the institute. Members will lead discussion groups, contribute original research, and develop content such as the podcast, which I had the pleasure of spending the majority of my time on. 

The Trust and Tech Podcast, led by Alice Hunsberger and Talha Baig, is a unique piece of media. When I started this internship, I repeatedly questioned how I, as a Philosophy major, could contribute to helping a think tank. This podcast was the answer. This podcast not only taught me about the world of tech policy but also helped me think about the problems that technical advancements such as open-sourced AI may cause for the world. In this way, I could expand my field of view on ethics and general issues of morality.

I have enjoyed my time on the podcast to the degree that I asked to remain on the team through the fall semester. Luckily, Talha said yes, and I have been “promoted” to Senior Producer of the podcast. As an editor and producer of the podcast, I have enjoyed the responsibility of being the final set of eyes on the episodes before they are published. I look forward to the different kinds of learning I will be able to experience this fall in this position. 

This internship has been a vital step in preparing me for the future. My position with the Integrity Institute developed countless interests, some of which I had no prior knowledge of. I now look forward to returning to classes with the opportunity to turn those interests into skills by taking Computer Science, Math, and Politics classes. While this internship currently doesn’t serve as the moment when I found the career I want to immerse myself in for the rest of my life, I feel very pleased with what I accomplished and thankful for the opportunity.

An interview with my boss —— The Right to Immigration Institute

As my summer internship at the Right to Immigration Institute is coming to an end. I decided to interview my boss, Professor Doug Smith. This interview provided invaluable insights into the nature of his role, the challenges he faces, and the future prospects in the field. In this report, I will share the key takeaways from the interview and reflect on its impact on my understanding of social justice and advocacy.

Doug Smith’s responsibilities as the manager of a non-profit immigration law firm are diverse and demanding. His daily tasks range from overseeing office management and community outreach to engaging in fundraising efforts and supervising a caseload of immigration and human rights cases. Furthermore, he plays a critical role in coordinating the efforts of diverse groups, such as retired lawyers, students, refugees, and community leaders, to contribute their expertise and support the firm’s mission.

The position requires a unique skill set that encompasses legal knowledge and political acumen, as well as a range of practical skills like interviewing, negotiation, trial practice, counseling, and non-profit advocacy. Doug’s ability to navigate through these complex responsibilities underscores the importance of versatility and adaptability in the realm of social justice and law.

One aspect that struck me during the interview was Doug’s genuine satisfaction when the office is bustling with activity and the team is working harmoniously together. The tangible impact of their unique advocacy approach on clients and the community served as a source of motivation and fulfillment for him. It became evident that the work they do not only matters to him personally but also positively impacts the lives of those they serve.

However, Doug also candidly expressed the challenges and frustrations that come with the territory. Securing funding and recognition from certain organizations is an ongoing struggle for the firm. Additionally, dealing with students who join the organization sourly to boost their resume and don’t put in the work poses an obstacle to the advancement of the firm’s goals.

Regarding compensation, Doug revealed that he currently receives no salary for his role. While he mentioned that clinical professors and legal services shop managers typically earn around $100,000 yearly, it was evident that the nature of his work transcends monetary incentives. This selflessness and dedication to the cause of justice exemplify the higher purpose that drives individuals in the non-profit sector.

The career development path in this field appears to be unique for each individual. Many initially start by assisting the firm and then proceed to law school, other job opportunities, or further education. Accredited representatives, like Doug, who play a key role in the firm’s work, remain a rare but essential aspect of the field.

Doug’s optimistic outlook on the future of the field, particularly for accredited representatives, was inspiring. He believes that their role in promoting access to justice will significantly contribute to the field’s growth and development. This positivity reinforces the importance of maintaining hope and commitment when navigating challenges in the pursuit of social justice.

Doug’s career path was remarkable and served as a testament to the transformative power of experiences. From labor and community organizing to law school and teaching positions at various law schools, his journey reflected a profound dedication to breaking down barriers and making justice accessible to all.

Interestingly, Doug emphasized that while law school provided necessary prerequisites and legitimacy through a bar card, the most valuable skills and knowledge were acquired through experiential learning and real-life practice. This insight challenges the traditional notion of education and underscores the importance of practical training and learning from real-world encounters.

In conclusion, the interview with Doug Smith was an enlightening and transformative experience for me as a college intern. His unwavering dedication to justice and advocacy left a lasting impression on me. I am now more motivated than ever to pursue a career that positively impacts society and fosters meaningful change. The challenges he faces also underscored the importance of perseverance and adaptability in a constantly evolving field. This reflective report has given me deeper insights into the complex world of non-profit immigration law and reinforced my belief in the power of advocacy to effect real change in the lives of individuals and communities.

Reflection on my time at Avodah

With just two weeks left of my WOW fellowship, the time is coming for me to say goodbye both to Avodah and to summer. Working at Avodah and becoming a part of their genuine and welcoming community has truly been a privilege. I chose Avodah partly because of the network I felt I would build by working at such a tightly-knit nonprofit, as even though my boss is located in New York, there are headquarters in Chicago. Unfortunately, my plan to work in person was foiled due to a serious injury that left me on bed rest for the first part of the summer. After my injury, I was deeply afraid that I would not be able to work in the same capacity, and even if I did manage to work, I was worried that I would not enjoy a fully remote position. Thankfully, I am proud to say that I proved my worries wrong. While my condition was certainly not ideal, I worked hard to adapt, integrating my physical therapy into my lunch breaks and scheduling my check-ups with my surgeon early in the mornings before work–a tough feat for a night owl! Instead of a summer sulking while on bedrest, my internship provided me with a remote outlet. More than that, it showed me how supportive and understanding people are at Avodah, something that I truly hope will remain throughout my work experience.

Interning at Avodah helped solidify my desire to work in the social justice nonprofit field. While last year I also interned at an incredible nonprofit, Chicago Community Loan Fund, Avodah’s focus on social justice and educational programming was especially meaningful to me as it combined my interest in academia and nonprofit work, the two fields I am currently torn between in my quest for a fulfilling career. Being able to see the difference my work makes is incredibly rewarding, and I know that feeling will only increase in more hands-on positions. By scrolling through my Asana (a collaborative to-do list resource that I highly recommend), I can see just how much I accomplished this summer, from database building to searching for prospective candidates. Additionally, I have seen how my internship has impacted Avodah, from the “high-fives” I have gotten from coworkers thanking me for assisting them on projects and bringing new insight, to the applications received from candidates that I sourced and contacted for the Jewish Service Corps

Although my time as Avodah’s Brandeis intern is coming to an end, I am excited for the future student who will fill my role next summer! If I could give them any advice, it would be to exceed what is asked of them and bring whatever unique skills and knowledge they possess to the table. For instance, I was able to go beyond my job description and assist Avodah in creating social media graphics since it is an area I have interest and experience in. I encourage future interns to fully partake in their company and to feel empowered to speak up, as even though it can be intimidating, you were hired for a reason! By embracing a confident mindset throughout the internship, you will be able to not only succeed in what is asked of you but go beyond and leave a positive impact!

Post 3: Reflections on the State House

Prior to the start of my internship, I had written down a number of goals for myself to hopefully accomplish by the end of the summer. Those goals included strengthening my research and writing abilities, learning more about the legislative process, developing my analytical and organizational skills, as well as my confidence in communicating and networking with various people – legislators and staff – in the State House. 

I believe that each of those goals has been met in ways I did not anticipate. For example, I was able to strengthen my writing skills by learning more about how to be concise and clear when writing shorter pieces such as memorandums, policy briefs, and legislative testimony. The ability to write these kinds of documents is an asset in governmental work given how often they are utilized. I learned very quickly, through discussions with my boss as well as visits to the House and Senate chambers during formal sessions, about the legislative process and the ways in which a bill is discussed, debated, and voted on before the House and Senate respectively. Moreover, on the first day of my internship alone, I shook hands with Representatives Natalie Higgins and Joan Meschino, two members of the Caucus of Women Legislators. These became strong connections as I learned to navigate my way through the State House. 

Above all, I believe that my greatest goal – that of growing more confident in myself and my contributions to discussions and projects – was achieved in my own way. By this I mean learning to reach out to legislators to speak with them one-on-one about their pathways into government, or asking questions during our legislative intern speaker series before groups of 60 or more interns. 

While this internship has been incredibly rewarding and informative, I have also realized the multiple facets to working as a government employee, especially within the state legislature. There are as many trials in state politics as there successes. And I believe that a strong internship such as this one, will show both sides of the coin, the good and the not so good. This is not a negative assessment so much as a realistic one. A quote I wrote down from an intern seminar sums this up quite well: “change is a process, not an event.” 

This internship has also taught me a lot about my own habits and abilities in the workplace. I have learned to acknowledge that I have strong questions to ask and that I greatly enjoy connecting with people in a vibrant social and professional setting such as the State House. I hope that my future career opportunities offer as many gateways into building connections with others.

To any interested in an internship with the women’s caucus, or in any other state legislative office, I strongly encourage taking advantage of the connections you would have at your disposal. There are a number of voices, stories, career pathways, and perspectives from staff members, legislators, caucus directors, and even other interns to learn from. The network of possible relationships within the State House is vast and holds a plethora of helpful information. All it takes is a 20 minute conversation in an office, or a coffee meeting! 

Above all, I am most proud of my independence this summer and my ability to adapt to several new settings. I spent several months in a campus apartment with new roommates, learned to navigate the commuter rail system and the inner city MBTA. I made friends and connected with other interns whom I hope to stay in touch with in the future. I spent time working on and researching a project on women’s incarceration for the caucus’ legislative efforts. And I walked into a golden-domed building three to four days a week with a newfound feeling of confidence and pride, and am grateful for what this summer has given me.

Instilling imagination and inspiring impact

I grew up with an artist for a mom and not only did I enjoy watching her paint or her lessons in drawing perspective, but I always loved making art in all its forms. I would make collages, write poetry and always doodle. Even to this day I doodle in the margins of my sketchbook or when I take notes in class. As the only creative intern at Brown Joy, I have only realized how much more interested I am in all the dynamics of being on a creative team, sharing my ideas and working in digital design. Having worked alongside my supervisor, Ms. Brown, I have gained confidence in communicating my ideas effectively and creating boundaries for self-care to ensure that I am not  overwhelmed.

Since I began my journey with the Brown Joy Team, I would have never imagined the knowledge and creativity I would be gaining from my time. While one of my many goals, to learn more program and software skills concerning digital art was not achieved due to its irrelevance in my current role, I had so much fun learning about digital design and marketing. From creating pitches for business partners and networking with Back to school programs to celebrating Brown Joy and its customers with social media posts, I have been so amazed at the success of the sales and the rate of engagement on social media and beyond.

Some other goals I had included building a stronger connection with members of the Brown Joy Team including the CEO, Miss Charminta Brown, who has not only encouraged me in my academic endeavors but has offered support beyond me being an intern such as looking at my resume and offering guidance in my career interests. I am very confident that I will continue to maintain contact with Ms. Brown outside of the internship and reach out with updates and questions especially as she is a successful Black woman running her own company and not to mention mom.

I have worked on many projects throughout the summer and I am most proud of creating a workbook for kids about design thinking. Design Thinking is a solution based thinking to solving problems we have in our world today. There are several companies like Netflix, Apple and Disney that incorporate this into their model and creatively for their products and Brown Joy wants to share this with kids. Towards the end of my internship I began working with Ms. Brown to create a workbook for kids aged between 7 to 13 to come up with their own ideas and essentially stimulate their creativity, imagination and innovation. I really love how the workbook turned out. I must admit during some days I did have some creative block so being able to work on the design and complete everything on time was really exciting.

I have also started to work on a pitch to Abbott Elementary, yes, the amazingly witty ABC hit series about teachers in Philly. I can’t give out too many details but this is something that is in the process of being created as it is important to acknowledge the series as many other network shows are on hold due to the writer’s strikes. I also want to say as a potential future screenwriter I stand with the writers strike and it is important that everyone working in the film and entertainment industry is treated and paid fairly!

And finally I would highly recommend this internship to any level college student interested in marketing and digital design. I did plan on having a more active role in drawing characters and while I was not able to work directly with making the stickers designs, I had an equally important (and fun) role in creating posters, social media posts and working on marketing materials that are not only used currently but also for the future. My advice for anyone who wants to work for Brown Joy as a creative intern or in a different capacity is to be yourself! I say this because Ms. Brown is an awesome human being, she is really understanding and empathetic so you should not feel the need to impress her or over-exert yourself. Just be you authentically and use your unique perspective on life to inform how you create. Working at a company that makes products to create diversity means that kids of color are the priority so I would encourage students of color in particular to apply or send their resume along because your voice matters. We all know what it was like for us as kids and not always seeing ourselves represented in stickers, on T. V or in literature.  Working for Brown Joy is just one of many chances to work to create a more positive and diverse future for kids everywhere!

Coming to an End

As a legal studies minor with aspirations to be a lawyer, I had hoped that my internship this summer would give me the chance to apply knowledge from my legal studies classes outside of an academic setting, gain experience in a new field of law, and improve my communication skills with clients. I am now proud to be able to say I met these goals. Attorney Gbehan, the lawyer who I have been working with this summer, has thrown me straight into real-life, challenging, highly applicable legal situations that would typically require much more experience. I had the chance to use words that I vaguely remembered from my classes while drafting documents for or meeting with clients. I was able to see firsthand not only what they meant, but also what their purpose was in the world of law. The attorney also threw me into situations where I had to give clients case updates or ask them questions for forms with very little information about their circumstances. I had to be very adaptable and quick-thinking in order to obtain all of the necessary information and make clients feel confident in the firm. As I developed these abilities, my communication skills with clients improved greatly. 

Because this internship immersed me so quickly and completely in real legal work, it allowed me to very well understand what a career in law might be like. Because my firm consisted of only the attorney and I, I was able to gain insight into all elements of case processes instead of just one specific element within a bigger firm. I enjoyed thinking flexibly and employing problem skills to deal with case nuances, piecing together the necessary information to move forward with a case, and getting to know several different types of clients. However, working in such a small firm spread an extremely large amount of responsibility onto very few people and meant that I was working with fewer people than I would have liked. For my long-term career, I perhaps see myself working at a larger firm.

I am extremely proud of myself for being able to keep up with my demanding workload. Attorney Gbehan told me that legal internships are often very “sink or swim,” and I feel that I successfully demonstrated that I have the ability to “swim” in challenging environments. I have been pushed beyond my comfort zone, forced to ask questions, think critically, adapt quickly, work under pressure, and write with a completely new voice and style. I have now made it to a point where I am not only able to manage these demands, but have even grown used to them and been able to anticipate what my next tasks will be. I have always thought of myself as a follower who takes direction well, but had never fully realized my leadership and advocacy potential until this summer. I learned that I am able to take initiative, stand up for myself and my opinions, and figure out tasks on my own. I have even learned that I am capable of leading others, as I largely supported and trained another intern at the law office when she started four weeks after me. I remember this intern asking me for advice about the internship. I told her that it could be difficult, demanding, and even overwhelming at times, but if she persevered and just did her best, she would be surprised just how much she was capable of. Now, I would still give prospective interns the same advice. If you give yourself the chance to succeed, you just might surprise yourself.

3 – Reflecting on My Time at the American Economic Liberties Project

Last Friday, I concluded my internship with the American Economic Liberties Project. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity to do meaningful work and immerse myself in the world of antitrust policy. 

In my first post, I defined my goals for this internship to be to learn as much as possible about corporate power and monopolies, as well as to understand the ins and outs of activism work and how nonprofits like AELP function. I’d say that, by and large, I’ve attained these goals – and something that is rather emblematic of this fact is that I catch myself applying what I’ve learned to examine examples of monopoly and corporate power in my own life. For instance, grocery shopping is no longer simply an endeavor to secure what I need to eat for the week – it’s also a case study into the illusion of choice caused by decades of grocery consolidation, and an examination of how these large retailers contribute to food deserts and play a role in shuttering mom-and-pop businesses. Ever wonder why you rarely see small, family-owned grocery stores nowadays?

This internship has also helped me solidify my interest in pursuing further opportunities at justice-oriented organizations or in various forms of advocacy. I’ve realized that I enjoy work that is centered heavily around research, writing, and communication – it was an immense privilege to be able to learn while working this summer (though this can be said about most internships in general) and to share my knowledge with the general public through producing written content.

In terms of my workplace identity, I’ve also learned that self-sufficiency and accountability are a few of my strengths. I was concerned at the start of my internship that, because it was fully remote, it would be difficult for me to motivate myself without others holding me accountable. However, because the work I was doing was interesting and fulfilling, I found that this wasn’t really an issue. Just as my self-motivation and sufficiency was beneficial to my experience, however, I found that it also led me to hyperfocus on a task at hand, at the expense of taking the time to speak with and get to know more people at the organization. As such, networking is something I’ll strive to prioritize in the future.

For folks who may be interested in an internship with Economic Liberties, here are two pieces of advice I can offer based on my experience this summer: First, don’t be afraid to speak up, ask for help, and have the courage to learn. Everyone at AELP, besides being incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their work, is always willing to help and have a conversation about just about anything. More generally, in terms of working in this field or perhaps a nonprofit in general, understanding your own capacity is key. There’s always a million things going on in the world of antitrust enforcement, and while it’s important to keep up to date with relevant activity, cases, and investigations, it is completely okay (and necessary!) to temporarily block out what isn’t relevant to you so you can focus on a specific task at hand. This can certainly be hard to do, but I believe it’s important to honor your own capacity and know when you can get involved in or pay attention to something new, or when you have to dial in and focus exclusively on one project.

Overall, I had a great time with AELP this summer. I’m proud of myself for the vigor with which I approached this internship and how much I threw myself into the work. As with all new positions, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by a sense of unfamiliarity or inadequacy. However, coupled with a supportive and flexible working environment, I think my commitment to learning as much as possible made my time at AELP an incredibly rewarding experience.

3- Reflecting on My Summer With GPRP

Over the summer, I definitely feel like I was able to fulfill the goal of gaining experience in clinical research. I never really considered a career in this field and am still not sure if it is the path for me, but it has been a great opportunity to learn from so many people at the Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program (GPRP) who have such diverse jobs and experiences. 

I think my time at GPRP has definitely clarified my career interests. I’ve learned to appreciate the importance of clinical research, even if it isn’t necessarily a career field I would want to pursue. Instead, I’ve grown more interested in gaining experience in neuroscience wet lab research or more computational and statistical work as it relates to neuroscience. Additionally, my internship has solidified my interest in working with people and patients so it has sparked a potential interest in pursuing a clinically-related career, such as becoming a therapist.

While working at GPRP, I’ve learned a lot about myself professionally. I’ve learned that I can multitask on a variety of projects and enjoy the flexibility and diversity that this brings to my work days. Additionally, I’ve grown more comfortable advocating for myself and pursuing different opportunities in terms of projects and mentorship from members of the lab.

For students interested in an internship at GPRP and McLean, I would recommend talking to coworkers and other staff members under the division you work in since everyone has such unique educational and personal experiences that they bring. One of the most valuable experiences has been talking to the research assistants at GPRP since they are all within a couple of years out of undergrad so they can act as great mentors for lab-related work and they offer insight into different educational paths people take in the psychiatric field as they apply to different graduate and Ph.D. programs. 

For undergrads interested in science research, I would say having an openness to a variety of different jobs and careers is really beneficial since there are so many options someone might not know of or consider if they’re focused on one specific area during college. I never thought of pursuing a career in psychiatry, especially working with geriatric populations, until my time at GPRP. 

Overall, I would say I’m most proud of adapting to a new workplace environment in a field I didn’t know much about or considered pursuing before this summer. It has also been impactful to be a part of research studies and clinical care that is benefiting the geriatric community, especially as it relates to dementia.  

I am very grateful to the WOW Fellowship for allowing me to explore a career in geriatric psychiatry and clinical research this summer. I’m excited to expand on the skills I’ve gained from WOW while I continue my time at GPRP this fall semester and in future jobs!

Post 3 – Wrapping Up My Summer with HooRWA

As my summer internship with the Hoosic River Watershed Association comes to an end, I’ve taken time to reflect on my experience here. When I started here, I wanted to learn what it is like doing work in the environmental field and how what I have learned in my classes can be applied. Looking back, this was a great experience for that. I have a much deeper understanding of what work in the field is like, and it has given me a news perspective on everything that I have learned at Brandeis. My internship went beyond what I would expect to be doing in a job like this, and I’m very grateful that it did.

A bridge over a river.

This job has helped me to narrow down what I want to do in this field. When I started, I didn’t know where I wanted to go in the environmental field, but I know now how much I enjoy field work and testing, and that is where I would like to go in my future. I know that wherever I may end up, this experience will help me.

This summer has helped me to learn what work I enjoy as well as what work is important. My favorite part has been the field work, but I have also learned the importance of community-building. Working with the local community is important for any organization, but especially for environmental organizations. The priority of groups like ours is to help the people that live in our area, and having public participation and educational programs is essential for that. I’m grateful for HooRWA for giving me a greater understanding of this. Working here has impacted my view of environmental work greatly.

Though my time with HooRWA is arriving at its end, I hope that there will be many more interns after me that get this great opportunity. If I were to give them advice, I would tell them to keep an open mind and step into the parts of the field that they aren’t familiar with. Having this wide a view of the field is essential for anyone going into environmentalism.

It’s harder for me to say what advice I’d give to someone going into the field, as I still have much to learn about that as well. I think I would advise one to take new opportunities and risks, as that’s the only way we can improve both ourselves and the place we’re trying to protect.

There are a lot of things that I’m proud of this summer, but if I had to choose the one I’m most proud of, I think I would choose the map I made of our riverside trail. Not only did it take a lot of work and learning to make, but the maps will be going up by the trail next week!

A map of a bike trail and footpath along the Hoosic River.

I want to thank HooRWA for giving me this opportunity. This has been a wonderful summer and I look forward to applying what I’ve learned further in the future.

3- Final Days at CCNL Reflection

Upon starting my internship at the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at UGA I hoped to get hands-on experience with the research process and practice with presenting research findings. Now that this experience is coming to a close I have not only gained an understanding of what being a researcher is like, but also many hard and soft skills like interacting with patients, troubleshooting the tools and methods of an experiment, how to code in R, how to set up, run and clean data of an EEG, and the thought process behind creating research questions and designing studies. 

One of the great parts I discovered about research is frequent adaptation and constant learning. Technology is growing rapidly, psychology is a relatively young field so best research practices change, the types of questions asked are constantly adapted to previous findings, and a lot of tasks in data analysis that used to be done primarily by people are transitioning to being done through algorithms. I have known for a long time that I love to learn, but this opportunity has shown me how much I value learning as a way to be engaged in the work I am doing. The goal of research itself, even, is to learn. 

The most valuable things I learned relating to my career path came from my assigned research presentations. Most weeks I was given a few readings from my mentor relating to the background of the tools or disorders we were working with, which I followed up with reading a few semi-related articles of my choice. I then presented my findings to my mentor and her other intern. Getting a lot of freedom to choose these areas of research helped me identify areas of research I am excited about, like Autism, Executive Function, and Theory of Mind. This will help me not only in knowing what jobs to apply for but also what I might want to focus on in academics or create my own research on. 

For anyone wanting an internship in psychology research, I would recommend finding somewhere with other researchers with various levels of experience and particularly a mentor who is excited to teach others. Having people around me who are at different places in their education and research journeys allows me to learn both from people who have a lot of expertise and also from people who can closely relate to the novice experience and provide models for how to improve in the short term. My mentor’s excitement and skill at teaching allowed me to feel comfortable admitting what I didn’t know and asking questions. At this lab and many other psychology research opportunities being adaptable is a very important skill. I was able to find success by noticing where I was needed and filling in the gaps. This was particularly important during data collection where we had a limited amount of time and participants to keep comfortable. 

Testing Room set up 1: Plug for EEG connection 2: Monitor currently performing a timing test 3: Participant chair

This internship has been a fantastic experience thanks to my fabulous mentor, Beryl Huang, and the number of things I got to learn. When thinking about what I am most proud of I think about what was most difficult or scary for me. Two things, in particular, come to mind. I am proud of my ability to still enjoy myself when troubleshooting was frustrating or particularly long, and my ability to interact naturally with participants. I know these skills will not always come easily to me, but I am proud to find success when it happens.

Reflections on an Unforgettable Internship

As I reach the end of my internship with Women On Top, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible journey of empowerment, growth, and inspiration that this experience has been.

From the very beginning, I had set defined learning goals for myself, aiming to contribute to Women On Top’s mission of expanding its programs and services. My role as a translator allowed me to be a bridge between languages, cultures, and experiences, breaking down barriers and ensuring that the empowering messages of feminism and gender equality reached women from all walks of life. Witnessing the remarkable impact of collective efforts in creating positive change for women has not only fulfilled my original goals but has also inspired me to continuously strive for more.

Throughout my time in the workplace this summer, I have learned a great deal about myself. Witnessing the resilience, strength, and determination of the women we served has taught me the importance of empathy, understanding, and active listening. I have discovered my ability to be an effective advocate and ally, and I now have a deeper appreciation for the nuances and complexities of feminism. This internship has not only empowered others but has also been transformative for me personally, encouraging me to embrace diversity and create a more inclusive and empowering space for all.

To students interested in an internship in women empowerment and education, I would advise them to seize the opportunity without hesitation. My personal experience of working with such a dedicated and passionate team has been an enriching experience. It offers a chance to be part of an organization that truly makes a difference in the lives of women, creating an environment where personal growth and meaningful contributions go hand in hand. In general, I would encourage students to pursue internships that align with their values and aspirations, embracing a cause that they are genuinely passionate about will provide a sense of purpose and drive throughout their journey.

As I look back on this summer, what I am most proud of is the positive impact we have made on the lives of the women we served. Witnessing their stories of triumph over adversity and knowing that I played a small role in amplifying their voices fills me with immense pride. The collective effort of everyone involved has been nothing short of inspiring, and I feel grateful to have been part of such meaningful work.

In conclusion, my internship with Women On Top has been an unforgettable journey of empowerment and growth. It has solidified my dedication to advocating for gender equality and uplifting women’s voices. The experiences and connections made here will continue to shape my perspective and drive me to make a difference wherever I go.


Reflecting on my time at Lemelson-MIT

As my internship at Lemelson-MIT draws to a close, I find myself contemplating the profound impact it has had on my personal growth and future aspirations. When I began this program, I stated that my goal was to “enhance my knowledge of ethnography and the strategies involved to identify and understand large systemic issues.” While I feel I’ve completed and fulfilled that goal by learning the qualitative strategies that come with ethnographic research, I came out of this internship with so much more than that. As I’ve stated, this internship was completely remote, so I worried about the connections I’d be able to make in a virtual environment. However, collaborating with my peers and engaging in group work became a pivotal learning experience, surpassing previous encounters in different settings. Our last week entailed writing up our research report and getting it prepared for publication. Considering this huge task was to be completed in one week, we needed all hands on deck. My co-fellows and I each took various leadership roles and responsibilities to produce an engaging and thought-provoking report. This experience was difficult, but immensely rewarding to see our hard work come to fruition. As someone who has always dreaded group work and group projects, I now go into them with a different perspective and value the ability to work with my peers to collectively accomplish our goals. 

Furthermore, this internship has proven instrumental in shaping my career interests. While I’m still unsure of the path I’d like to take, I now know how interested in pursuing research I am. I learned the value of delving deep into a concept and topic, and how much information you unknowingly discover. Embracing qualitative research opened my eyes to its intrinsic value and the communicative aspects that make it so compelling.

To prospective students considering an internship at Lemelson-MIT, I offer this advice: be prepared to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and work diligently. However, you will be supported by exceptional mentors, instructors, and fellow interns along the way. Many of us entered this program with limited familiarity with ethnographic research, however, we’ve all come out of this experience with an immense amount of knowledge of ethnography and its diverse applications. This experience provides an invaluable opportunity to engage in firsthand observational research and fully grasp the importance of qualitative studies in the field. 

Reflecting on my time at Lemelson-MIT, I take immense pride in my open-mindedness and adaptability throughout the program. Entering with minimal expectations and knowledge of the content, I fully embraced the fast-paced environment with hard work and determination. Undoubtedly, I cherish this experience above all else, as it has granted me lifelong friendships and connections in just six weeks. 


Post 3 – Reflecting on my Experience at the New England Aquarium

After spending two months with the New England Aquarium this summer, I am confident that I have achieved my goals for this summer. For my education goal, I was successful in gaining a better insight into ocean conservation and ways in which communities can come together to promote ocean sustainability. For my personal goal, I was successful in improving my public speaking and interpretation skills. Each interaction I have had at the aquarium made me feel more comfortable socializing and guiding the conversation to talk about climate change and community action. For my career goal, I was successful in networking with fellow staff members across the aquarium. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with aquarists, environmental educators, and executives that are passionate about ocean conservation. I had the chance to meet Elizabeth Scott, the vice president of the Development Department. I had the opportunity to learn more about other ways the aquarium promotes ocean conservation and the value of educating the public about it. I believe that conversation helped me realize my passion for environmental education. Not only am I getting the opportunity to improve myself, but I am also making a big difference by conveying the importance of ocean conservation and community-level actions. I believe this has clarified my career interest in environmental education, and I hope to pursue that career after I graduate from Brandeis. One of the things I learned about myself in the workplace is that I find myself to be a collaborator, especially with people who share a similar passion to me. As I said in my first blog post, collaboration is the main skill that is vital for my position. Communication is key as everyone is trying to learn together. 

I am grateful for landing this internship with the New England Aquarium because it is a very competitive internship, especially for the summer. For those who are looking to take on an internship at the New England Aquarium, my best piece of advice would be to prepare your application well in advance. I started my application a couple of months before the deadline and during that time, I had people review my resume, cover letter, and application questions. I also used this time to research the aquarium including their mission and the kind of work they do. Getting to know the organization will prepare you for future interviews and will help you clarify how your interests tie into the internship positions. For those who are interested in working in the environmental education field, the best piece of advice I have been given is to know what you are passionate about and why you are passionate about it. I was successful in my internship because I found my passion in education and I knew why I was passionate about it. I believe that as long as you convey this passion to other people, you will find lots of success in future positions. 

I am very proud of my ability to convey conservation messages and community-level actions to protect our environment. Going into the internship, I was a little nervous to socialize and initiate conversations. Now, I can put my nervousness aside and be confident in socializing and conveying the conservation to people. Not only am I improving my public speaking skills, but I am also guiding people to become advocates for ocean conservation. Seeing people motivated to take action and protect our oceans because of the work I am involved in makes me proud to be an intern for the Conservation Learning department. I hope to continue this in the future whether at the New England Aquarium or another organization after I graduate.

Final Days at Wolfe

Hi everyone – It’s crazy to think that my 10 week internship is finally coming to an end. It feels like yesterday when I moved into my apartment in the city and had my first day of work. Coming into this internship with very little background knowledge, I knew that it would be a challenging experience, but be very rewarding if I pushed myself to learn and build new relationships everyday. In my first blog post, I said that my two main goals were to have a better understanding of the healthcare industry and be able to learn more about the financial side of the healthcare field, and I can happily say that I achieved these goals. Even though I still have a lot to learn, I am proud of how far I have come in such a short amount of time. The biggest thing I learned about healthcare, and research in general, is that you can always go another layer deeper into an analysis – there’s always something else you can dig up to make sure you have accurate/ unique information. Since I can be a perfectionist sometimes, it is frustrating to know that I can’t do everything, but it keeps me motivated to keep creating interesting work.

Working in equity research this summer has made me a lot more aware of the financial world, and how all of the moving pieces in a bank tie together. I think that in the finance world, I am still not 100% sure where I will end up, but I know that equity research is now one of my top picks for a full time job because of its sector expertise and attention to detail that I really enjoy. One thing that I know for sure is that I will be sticking with healthcare, no matter what field I branch off into. I’ve always enjoyed the science / health side of things, so learning more about that space has been really exciting.
The advice I would give anyone aspiring to be an equity research analyst is to be open to learning. Everyday you will be doing something new, and you have to be adaptable and not be stubborn when you have to go back to square one on something you’re not sure how to do. It can be frustrating getting to know something super well and then get pushed to another task, but in the long run it all works out because you will become knowledgeable about the space as a whole. The other piece of advice I can give is that you have to be prepared to work. This job comes with long hours, and it can be very draining if you are not mentally prepared for it. Personally, the time usually goes by pretty fast because there is always something new to do / research. I think overall you get out what you put into it, so if you are willing to learn and be proactive with the people you work with, you will have a successful summer.

If anyone would want to work at Wolfe specifically, I would highly recommend it. They are a boutique bank that specialize specifically in their research department, so there is no better way to get hands-on experience surrounded by some of the top analysts on Wall Street.
I think personally the thing that I am most proud of this summer is stepping out of my comfort zone by living in a completely new city at a job I had no experience with. There was definitely an adjustment period, but I knew that this was an opportunity I couldn’t give up. Both in the office and in New York, I think I have taken advantage of everything this opportunity has given me, and can’t wait to have another similar experience next summer!

Post 3 – The End of My Internship with the Child Mind Institute

During my internship at the Child Mind Institute, I achieved all my learning objectives. Initially, I was apprehensive about working in the clinical side of psychology, where I would be supporting children with ADHD and Autism in enhancing their social relationships, academic performance, and self-esteem. I was concerned about my qualifications and whether I could meet the expectations set by my internship. However, I was determined to enhance my knowledge of clinical psychology and mental health counseling. After ten weeks, I was amazed at how much I had learned. By creating behavior plans tailored to each child and monitoring their progress, I witnessed significant growth in their behavior, attention, focus, and confidence. Most importantly, I witnessed their self-confidence transform completely. My learning objectives evolved as I focused more on changing the lives of the children I was working with.

Moreover, my internship helped me identify my career path. I am confident that I want to pursue a career in psychology, where I can help people develop self-confidence and become the best version of themselves. Although I enjoyed working with children this summer, I realized that I may want to work with other age groups as well. I want to focus my career on changing the lives of many individuals and helping them recognize the importance of believing in themselves. Professionally, this may entail pursuing graduate school or higher education to specialize in a particular field of psychology, such as developmental psychology or social psychology.

I have learned more about my role in the workplace and the importance of intent behind my work. I have learned the significance of working together to help a child succeed and the amount of communication necessary to provide individualized attention to each child. I needed to rest and recharge during my downtime, as all my focus and attention had to be on the children I was working with while implementing their tailored behavioral treatment plan. I am grateful that I am constantly willing to take on new tasks. I believe this quality will be beneficial in the future, as it allows me to try new things that I have not previously done in the workplace. Additionally, I have learned how much my enthusiasm and energy matter and are valued in a challenging workplace. My coworkers would approach me frequently to compliment me on the energy I bring and how I approach everything with enthusiasm.

To any students interested in a role as a Counselor at Child Mind or in the psychology field, I highly recommend this experience. Throughout the process, do not doubt yourself and know that you can make a difference in a child’s life. To the children I counseled, who are either 5 or 6 years old, I know they will enter this school year with the behavioral coping skills and tools they need to succeed. Throughout it all, I am most proud of knowing that I put my heart and all of my energy into this internship. I never took it easy, which is what I believe contributes to my love of the field. The psychology industry, specifically a role in developmental psychology, can be overwhelming due to the pressure you may feel on the influence you have on a child’s development. However, my advice, if you are interested in pursuing this role, is to know that you can do it and seek out psychology organizations such as Child Mind to determine if this is the right fit for you. I am aware that my career goals may change over time, but I am confident that this is something I want to dedicate my life to.

A Fulfilling Experience at MGH

Hello! My name is Vaishnavi Bulusu and I cannot believe my time at MGH has come to an end. I have had an amazing experience this summer in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine at MGH.

This summer, I have met and exceeded my learning goals. Prior to this internship, the most clinical experience I have had was shadowing a physician at a local vascular clinic in my town. I am grateful to say that I have gained invaluable skills and additional clinical experience at MGH. Not only have I been able to shadow physicians in the intensive care unit, I have also been able to watch morning rounds, screen patients and interact with them for clinical studies, and even present the clinical case of a critically ill patient at a lab meeting. Aside from the clinical aspects of my internship, I have also formed strong and professional relationships with everyone in my lab, especially with my mentor. She has taught me so much about the field of medicine and clinical research, and I am thankful to continue receiving advice and guidance from her. 

This internship has helped to reaffirm my goals of attending medical school and becoming a physician. It has broadened my perspectives on the different specialties of medicine, and has given me different options to consider in medical school. For example, I originally believed that anesthesiologists only worked in the operating room, delivering anesthetics to patients undergoing surgery. While this is the case for some anesthesiologists, it certainly is not for all. There are multiple subspecialties of anesthesia, including critical care, cardiac anesthesia, and many more. I have been exposed to the different roles and responsibilities of anesthesiologists, which has allowed me to understand this field on a deeper level. I had never considered becoming an anesthesiologist, but after learning about respiratory care and its importance in the intensive care unit, I am more open to exploring this field in my post-grad life and beyond.

Here are some main takeaways and advice for students who may be interested in working as a clinical research assistant or at a hospital like MGH:

  1. Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone! As someone who is typically more introverted and shy, I found that my most meaningful and enriching experiences were when I initiated conversations with other members of my lab and asked questions. As a summer intern, people will understand that you are there to learn and expand your mind. When I asked questions and shadowed procedures I did not think I would enjoy, I learned information that I found extremely useful and interesting.
  2. Understand the importance of cultural competency and empathy when working with or reading about patients. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and have different stories. Learning how to interact with patients in a kind and respectful manner goes a long way in medicine. As a future healthcare provider, my goal is to reduce any social, economic, and ethnic disparities as much as possible to ensure patients feel comfortable and heard. 
  3. Be kind to yourself! Working in a high stress or acute setting can be physically and emotionally taxing, and it is important to take care of yourself. I initially struggled with imposter syndrome and feeling like I did not deserve to work at such a prestigious teaching hospital. However, with time, I realized that I had worked just as hard as everyone else in the lab to make an impact in the field of clinical research. Additionally, everyone in the lab was incredibly welcoming, which helped curb my feelings of imposter syndrome. Prioritize taking time for yourself and know that you deserve these opportunities!

Overall, I am most proud of actively contributing to the lab’s work on nitric oxide delivery in critically ill patients. I have learned proper manuscript skills, gained clinical experience, and met the most dedicated and passionate physicians and researchers. In terms of new things I have learned about myself, I found that at the end of the day, I enjoy interacting with people and also learning about anatomy and physiology. That is why medicine is beautiful-it is the true intersection of both. Thank you to Hiatt and MGH for fostering my academic and professional growth this summer! 


Blog Post #3: What I Learned About the Subtle and Unexpected Challenges of Prosecution

I learned through my internship at RCAO about the emotional element of prosecution. My education at Brandeis framed the legal system as a philosophical and intellectual duel between the attorneys, so I always saw litigation as a relatively dispassionate, rational, and scholarly pursuit. The reality of prosecution, however, is far more emotional than I originally anticipated. Every day, a victim comes into the office and breaks down while in a meeting with their prosecutor. The prosecutor, at this point, must help the victim collect themself while also trying to extract vital information. This is a delicate task because many of these victims bravely publicize moments of their life that are intensely painful and traumatic for them. So being a good prosecutor does not merely depend on the ability to evaluate and construct an abstract argument, but also a supremely challenging exercise in personal skills.

Specifically, the human element of criminal justice complicates matters for prosecutors in two ways. First, the effects of secondhand trauma weigh down prosecutors themselves. Studies show that professions which involve the daily experience of dealing with other’s trauma (i.e. attorneys and councilors) lead to negative health outcomes in those professions. Among other negative health outcomes, attorneys experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and addiction than the general population.

The emotional aspect of prosecution is further complicated by the formalities of due process. Many victims, for example, feel uncomfortable being in the same space as the defendant, particularly victims of violent and sexual crimes. Yet, the litigation process requires a victim to have some (albeit minimal) contact with the defendant. Some defendants have a right to attend depositions involving their case, although this can be negotiated between the attorneys. A victim also must share a courtroom with the defendant during a trial. Prosecutors, in fact, customarily ask the victim to identify the defendant at the beginning of their testimony. These painful experiences dissuade many victims from pressing charges and slow down the litigation process for those who do.

Continuing on this note, advice I would give to someone looking to pursue an internship like mine is to pay attention to the small details of legal interpersonal skills. My supervisor at RCAO, Rusty Chadwick, exemplifies these skills immaculately. Over a 30-year career, he has litigated hundreds of trials as both a defense attorney and prosecutor, and he has won an impressive percentage of those cases. Rusty uses humor, a relaxed posture, and a calming tone of wisdom in small meetings with clients and police officers. They become disarmed and relaxed which allows Rusty to get the information he needs to proceed with the litigation. When speaking in front of a judge or jury, he has an eloquence, assertiveness, and gravitas that leaves an indelible impression and strengthens his argument. Perhaps most importantly, Rusty is an invaluable and open (with what little free time he has) resource for his colleagues, who respect and see him as a leader. Rusty gets so many visitors that he had to reorient his office, with my help, to create more room for colleagues to enter his office and ask him for advice. The small detail of reorienting his office certainly speaks volumes about his mastery of the small interpersonal skills that make him such an effective litigator.


Goodbye Stepping Forward Counseling Center :(

It feels strange writing my last blog post about my summer at Stepping Forward Counseling Center (SFCC). I am thankful that I had a fulfilling internship and that I learned so much from my campers.

My learning goals at the beginning of the summer included gaining more knowledge about different kinds of therapy and experiencing what it was like to work with kids who have severe mental and/or behavioral struggles. I learned about different kinds of behavioral therapy in the camp and participated in activities that were infused with therapeutic exercises. My favorite kind of therapy was DBT or dialectical behavioral therapy where the campers were able to focus on their emotions and accept themselves for who they are.

In terms of hands-on experience with the campers, I had more responsibilities and opportunities as time went on. I was asked to swim with a camper who has medical issues in the pool to ensure his safety. He soon warmed up to me so that he was willing to listen to my advice when he lost points for his behavior. When one camper was sent to the breathing room for his behavior, I was asked to sit and chat with him so that he could calm down and join the group.

This internship helped me realize that I want to be a therapist and work with people every day. While I was already interested in being a therapist, I had some lingering doubts. I feel energized and gratified after spending my days listening to people, helping them, and learning their stories.  I am not sure if I want to be a therapist for kids or adults. While I have always loved working with children, I think that a lot of the therapies tend to be behaviorally focused. My favorite kinds of therapy are more psychoanalytical and emotion-related which is more common for adults. By learning more about therapy for kids at SFCC, I realized what kind of therapy I like more, and I will research more on what population I want as clients.

This summer, I found that I liked to express my creativity within the workplace. When three of my campers wanted to draw instead of playing soccer, they were told that they had to participate in an activity that involved movement. I asked if I could lead them in improv games, and the clinical director said yes. The campers loved trying out vocal exercises, running around as characters, and performing scenes.
I would advise a student who is interested in becoming a therapist to take advantage of whatever experience they can gain working with different clinical populations. You may realize that you want to work with a different population or that you don’t want to work with people all day. It’s helpful to have these experiences early on so that you can learn more about what you want.

I am most proud of my connections with campers who had severe emotional and behavioral struggles. There was one camper in particular who had many behavioral episodes due to traumatic family history. He loves being silly, and I realized that I could motivate him with humor and references to his favorite singer and movies. I often can tell when he is about to begin having behavioral problems, so I go over and chat with him to make him feel better. I am so happy that I can be a supportive adult figure for him. The SFCC program is so vital for campers who have learned to distrust authority figures as it introduces them to caring adults.

Final reflections on my summer at the JPLA

This summer internship in Montreal has been meaningful both professionally and personally. I came to the Jewish Public Library Archives hoping to get hands-on archival experience, and I came to the city of Montreal hoping to explore a new city and get acquainted with a new culture. My summer met and completely exceeded my expectations!

I gained a much better understanding of archival operations and of the opportunities available in an archive. I can confidently say that I have experience with archival processing, and with handling a collection from its acquisition to its final stage in the catalog. I am also more familiar with the various positions in an archive and how they can function and interact together. I have also gained more general non-profit experience. I learned how much I value working with like minded individuals and in an environment where I feel I can be my full self at work.

This summer internship has invigorated and propelled my love of delving into a project that contains minutiae and details—I realized my attention to detail is an asset. I learned just how important metadata is to libraries and archives, and how much I really do love learning and sharing my learning. I can see myself continuing to work in a university library or other type of archive or educational center

I am not only proud of my professional accomplishments, I am also very proud of myself for navigating life in a completely new city! I pushed myself to go to events by myself and to try to meet people, and I did! Montreal is a city of festivals in the summer, and I was able to manage balancing my work with my social life.

My final work for the summer can be seen here: Moshe Shaffir fonds, Shoime Wiseman fonds, and Moishe Dickstein fonds.

JFREJ: An Internship and a Community

My time with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. It has taught me a lot about the inner workings of nonprofits, especially development and fundraising. It has been really interesting to see how my passion for equality and Tikkun Olam can be turned into a career of social justice work. I am inspired by the idea that I do not have to compromise my core values for a career. The most surprising aspect of my internship has been the validation I have felt as a Jew within the community that JFREJ has created for me. As a patrilineal Jew, I do not always feel welcome in Jewish spaces. JFREJ has helped me internalize the idea that there is no “right” way to be a Jew. I am grateful for the incredible people I have met and I am excited to continue being involved with the organization throughout the year. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend JFREJ’s Summer Membership Assembly, where staff and members gathered together. It was a wonderful experience where I felt very welcome despite never meeting most of the people previously. I feel very lucky that my internship has not only provided me with important experience, but also an amazing community.

To any students interested in working with JFREJ: do it! The staff is incredibly supportive and working at a leftist organization means you are surrounded by people who are understanding. Although working at nonprofits can often cause feelings of burnout, I have felt so comfortable communicating my needs with my coworkers. I have learned so much about development and nonprofits in general, and everyone is very open to answering any questions you have! And to any students interested in working with a nonprofit in general- it can be hard work but is an incredibly rewarding career path and there are so many options within it. When I tell people I plan on working in the nonprofit sector I usually hear quips about how I won’t make any money and all that. Don’t listen! Not only is it not entirely true, it is important to let your morals and passions guide how you spend your life. There are so many different types of nonprofits, so do not get discouraged if your first experience is not entirely fitting.

Overall, I am the most proud of my willingness to step up and try new things, the thousands of dollars I raised for JFREJ, and my ability to ask questions. I am also proud of my time management and ability to remain engaged during remote work. My team has been amazing, and I am so lucky to have had such a supportive group of coworkers that made me feel appreciated for my hard work throughout the summer. I know now that although the development area of nonprofits might not be for me, I have enjoyed the interpersonal communication aspect of my internship.

Post 3: Ending my internship at MGH

Hello everyone! This summer I had the amazing opportunity of interning at the Cardiology department of Massachusetts General Hospital. I am very grateful for this opportunity since it allowed me to achieve all the goals I set this summer. One goal being the desire to gain research experience. This goal was completed as I learned various research techniques and performed many experiments on my own. I learned how to perfect my column chromatography technique and even use Combiflash machine which does regular and reverse columns on its own.

Pretty column!

Going into this internship, I was very nervous about handling any kind of instrument or leading any experiment on my own. Fortunately, I was able to gain a lot of independence and confidence in my abilities. Another goal I set up for myself was the desire to form connections. I wanted to be a part of the scientific world, especially at one of the best research hospitals in the United States. Through this internship, I was able to meet a huge number of people and obtain their insight on several different topics. I met medical students that provided tips about the medical school application process and how to correctly study for the MCAT. I met people who recommended different programs to try after I graduate. This internship also allowed me to explore the cardiology department. I have loved every single topic I learned in this field and thus now considering pursuing it. Now when I apply to medical school I can look for specific programs that better align with my current interests.

Additionally, this opportunity allowed me to learn a lot about myself. I learned that I am a bit of a slow worker since I enjoy getting good yields and pure results. I also discovered that I would like to work in a space that has more people because my lab was usually empty which made it difficult to ask questions and interact with others. I also realized that having a long commute made the experience less enjoyable. Having to commute and wait for the train was extremely draining, especially after a long work day. In the future, I would love to live near my job to make it less draining.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the opportunity I was given this summer. Some advice I would give to someone interested in this position is to commit to the position, be willing to learn and listen to everything that people tell you. This internship requires a lot of learning which had to be done sometimes outside of the hospital. This includes reading long research papers and completing a lot of training to be able to handle chemicals/animals. Nobody is checking to see if you are actually reading the papers or paying attention to the training but I believe that actually committing to the job makes a big difference. The knowledge gained from these activities is apparent and it shows your mentor and coworkers that you care. Being willing to learn from others is also very important. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear that the way you learned things previously isn’t actually the most efficient. Learning from others will allow you to learn new skills and be more prepared. Listening to what people tell you is especially crucial. Dr. Akam always mentioned things that she thought might be beneficial to me. She would tell me to reach out to certain doctors who worked at the admissions department of Harvard Medical School or attend an event to hear about a program I might be interested in. By listening carefully, I was able to learn a lot about topics that will help me in my career.

Unfortunately, this internship is coming to an end, but I am very happy with everything I gained this summer. I am especially proud of how much I learned and all the fears I overcame.

Last Internship Update at NCL!

Wow! The time has really flown by, and I have already completed the final days of my internship at the National Consumers League. I am so grateful for my time working there, and the skills I have gained as a result of it.

I believe that I completed my learning goals set at the beginning of the summer. A huge goal of mine was to just gain professional experience, and I would say I accomplished that! Working within a team in a professional setting has taught me more about Work Life and I am grateful for that exposure! While this internship really broadened my horizon, especially to the world of advocacy work, I do not think I necessarily want to be working in health policy specifically.  I did however love the advocacy role of my internship, and I believe I would want to pursue other jobs within an advocate role sometime in my future career. I found that I tended to be focused on how women and health intersected, within my role. I think should I continue with advocacy work, I would focus on women and menstruators and the issues they are facing as a group.

I think this internship really showed me my strengths and weaknesses. This summer has been one of self improvement and growth, and my internship undoubtedly contributed to that. It highlighted for me, both, what I excelled in, and what I still need to work on regarding my professional skills. I also realized that as convenient as remote opportunities are, I would prefer to work in an in-person setting. I don’t want to be missing out on that environment, and preventing myself from growing even more.

If I were giving advice to someone taking this position in the future, I would stress time management and also communication! Especially because of it being remote, there is chance for miscommunication and not being on the same page, so being prompt and attentive is a must! For someone going into this industry, I would say, put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to put your ideas out there, and make your presence known! Consumer advocacy work is all about fighting for the people, and you can’t do that unless you’re willing to put yourself out there and get into the work.

This summer, I am most proud of my growth and self-improvement. Taking the time to invest in myself has been so valuable, and has made all aspects of my life better. Constantly growing and learning has allowed me to do better work both in and out side of my internship. My internship allowed me to have the structure to focus on myself. I have learned so much about myself, what I want to do, and how I can grow and learn more this summer. Going into this school year, I am more refreshed and ready than I have been in a long time. I am grateful for everything this internship has taught me, and the skills I will have forever because of it.

Thank you for following along my blog posts, it has been amazing to write about my experiences this summer!

– Grace Lassila

3) Wrapping Up My Time With the Integrity Institute

It feels like it was just yesterday that I was starting my internship with the Integrity Institute, and I am now in my final weeks as an intern. Looking back at the goals I set for myself at the outset of this internship, I feel that I met several of my goals. I got to learn about the culture of a non-profit organization and a think-tank all the while learning about some of the ethical conversations happening within Big Tech. One takeaway from my internship is that change is common and that there are several moving pieces within a think-tank. Prior to my internship, I was not acquainted with the culture of a think-tank; I feel that this internship provided me valuable insight into what a think-tank looks like.

During my internship, I learned how vital communication is in developing ideas and the overall success of the think-tank. My goal of establishing a sense of unity with my team was partially met. There were times throughout my internship that I wondered if my experience would have been different had I been working in-person, but I am overall appreciative of my colleagues who made concerted efforts to get to know me and supported me throughout my internship.

This internship has also helped clarify career interests. Prior to this internship, I do not think I would have envisioned myself working in the tech sector. However, this internship opened my eyes to ways that individuals can make contributions in Big Tech without necessarily having a comprehensive background in coding or machine learning. I still have a desire to attend law school after college; I am leaving this internship even more interested in exploring internet and privacy law.

Not only did this internship illuminate professional interests, but it also aided me in learning about myself in the workplace. I am a diligent worker so I can get work that I need done remotely, but I think that this internship helped me realize that if I am working remotely, I need to be surrounded by a team with strong communication skills. As the adage goes, communication is key. In reflecting upon my internship experience, I realized how much I value communication. Perhaps going forward I will explore in-person internships, or if something is a remote opportunity, I will inquire further about the communication culture of the respective organization to see if it fits my style.

With regards to advice I would give to a student interested in an internship, I would say embrace the opportunity with open arms and go for it! It has become increasingly difficult to get an internship, so if there is an opportunity that sounds remotely intriguing, consider applying. The worst someone can say is no, and with every experience, one will undeniably walk away having learned something new. 

Further, throughout my internship, I gleaned the importance of flexibility as I had the opportunity to take on a myriad of different tasks. This was made possible in large part because I consistently reached out to colleagues to see how I could get involved. In essence, show that you are eager and willing to learn on day one. Obviously, there comes times where one may need to set boundaries and decline taking on tasks, but generally speaking, accept anything that comes your way. Oftentimes we grow the most when tasked with projects that seem rather unfamiliar at first, so try to be open-minded and say yes to all new opportunities.

More specific to remote work and interning with a think-tank, I would say that being proactive is critical. A lot of growth is dependent upon how much effort you put into the process, so setting up one-on-one meetings with colleagues and reaching out for feedback is poignant. Similarly, if you face roadblocks during your internship, make time to collaborate with those who you feel supported by. If you are someone interested in interning with a think-tank, I would advise you to consider how a think-tank operates. In this type of work, things tend to move rather quickly and you are likely working across disciplines. If you like to wear many hats at once and immerse yourself in research, a think-tank may be the right fit for you!

A photo I took right before a meeting with a colleague. Please excuse the many tabs–I was busy at work!

Overall, I am proud of the initiative I have taken throughout this internship. From the very first days of my internship, I reached out to colleagues and tried to integrate myself within the team. I think that doing so influenced the trajectory of this experience. It is bittersweet that this internship is coming to an end, but I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

Post 3: My Summer at QSECC

Throughout my summer internship with the Queer Sex-Ed Community Curriculum, I was able to achieve most, if not all, of my original learning goals. I mainly wanted to become an expert in newsletter writing and social media management for the organization, and I believe I met this task. In fact, I recently sent out the end-of-July and noticed that our mailing list subscriber count officially reached over 200 people. Seeing quantitative evidence of my effectiveness in this role means a lot to me and makes me proud of what I have accomplished. 

As far as clarifying my career interests, I believe I was correct in thinking I would want to work for a queer organization. I love the inclusivity and accepting nature of the organization as well as our ability to speak openly with each other about somewhat controversial issues. The LGBTQIA+ movement is also very dear to me which has not changed. Thus, working within this field allows me to have an impact on a social movement that I aim to support. 

However, I did learn some very important factors of the workforce for me to keep in mind moving forward. The main aspect of this internship that I would change would be how closely I worked with my supervisors. I think that moving forward, I would want more guidance in my positions. This internship was very self-driven, however, I believe I would have preferred to have outlined tasks and jobs to complete rather than developing everything from scratch independently. I also look forward to an in-person opportunity in the future to see if this helps my feeling of involvement with organizations.

For anyone looking to get involved in the non-profit industry, I would recommend finding an organization that focuses on a movement you are passionate about. Most organizations are relatively small meaning you will do a lot of work and research on one niche area. If this area is not one of interest, then this work will not feel as fulfilling. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. The people at your organization will love to talk with you about ideas you may have or answer any questions that come up. 

This summer, I am most proud of my increase in newsletter writing ability. Before working for this organization I had not created a newsletter from scratch, and now I feel very confident being able to do so. I am also proud of the initiative I took within this organization, both in getting this internship, but also in suggesting my own ideas and making my mark on QSECC. Below is an example of a post I made for their Instagram account! 

WOW Blog #3 – Concluding my Time at Oxfam

This past Friday, I concluded my internship at Oxfam America. I feel like I met my goal of familiarizing myself with the private sector advocacy world. I learned new strategies and perspectives on how to confront social issues within big corporations, and came to understand the many different ways Oxfam works to accomplish this. I also feel like I got to dip my toes into many different issue areas that I was previously less experience working with. Synthesizing research and working on campaigns gave me a lot of valuable background information on these issue areas, especially how they manifest in supply chains. As I ultimately want to work on these issues, I feel like this internship gave me a better sense of what that may look like, and at least one career I could pursue!

As for what I’ve learned about myself in a workplace, I think I work more effectively in person than remotely. However, I was able to make a remote working environment work for me with some effort towards time management. I also have learned that I struggle to turn down tasks when I have a lot on my plate – and need to become more effective at asserting my capacity. It’s just not possible to do everything!

For anyone interested in an internship at Oxfam America or somewhere similar, I would advise that you work on the issues you are most interested in. You’ll have a lot of opportunities to involve yourself in different projects, which is an amazing opportunity to explore your interests in a professional setting with a qualified team to guide you. At Oxfam specifically, it’s worthwhile to pursue the campaigns and projects that you want to be involved in. Not every project is going to be your cup of tea, and that’s alright! An internship needs to be meaningful for you too. You’ll find that if you fill your time with projects that you’re passionate about, not only will you be getting more relevant experience to yourself, but you will produce better work. Also, never be afraid to ask questions. As an intern, no one expects you to have all the answers.

And in terms of what I felt most proud of, team members I worked with told me they were impressed with my ability to take on a lot of tasks at once and take initiative on them. I feel proud that I was able to accomplish that, and that I was able to contribute to the work the team does in a meaningful way. It was not always easy to take on many different projects at once, but I’m glad that I got to experience a wide range of issues and that it was ultimately helpful to the larger goals of the team. I feel proud of the time and effort I put towards issues I’m passionate about, and as a result of those experiences I feel more prepared to move towards my career goals.

Post 3: Reflections on my Internship at Shalom Task Force

My internship experience with Shalom Task Force concluded on August 2nd and I am very proud of everything I learned and the projects that I contributed to. At the beginning of June, I had very limited knowledge about domestic violence, how best to support victim-survivors, and what the different forms of abuse looked like. I now understand that domestic violence can present as religious or cultural abuse, as well as physical, verbal, sexual, financial, emotional, and psychological abuse. I have also gotten insight into this issue through observing a virtual court appearance and reading write-ups from the hotline department.

Before my internship started, I wrote down career, academic, and personal goals. I aimed to identify and narrow my career interests, successfully manage multiple responsibilities and projects at the same time, and expand my oral and written communication skills. While I did manage multiple projects and improve my communication skills, I think I was a little bit too ambitious in believing that over the summer, I  could clarify and decide on what I would want to do following college. However, after speaking with staff members at Shalom Task Force, who shared stories about their career paths, I feel more secure in accepting that I need more time to determine my career path. As a rising sophomore it is still early on, and for me, I feel that there is no need to rush in making life decisions on what I want to do after college. I am eager to redirect this confusion and indecision into being mindful in my classes and extracurricular interests this upcoming year. This mindfulness will help me in learning about my academic interests, personality, and strengths. One thing I did learn this summer is that I appreciate variety in what I do and that it is important for me to work in a field that positively impacts other people’s lives.

Photo from the annual Shalom Task Force Ping Pong fundraiser in July. It was great to see people coming together to support an important cause and enjoy an evening with good fun and fun!

Moreover, within the first week the group of interns and I learned the curriculum that Shalom Task Force teaches in schools. This curriculum educates young people about the fundamentals of domestic abuse, highlights red flags in relationships, shows what healthy relationships can look like, stresses the importance of adhering to respectful boundaries while interacting with people, and speaks about digital safety. As we were determining what we wanted to add to the current curriculum, we thought another aspect of relationships that wasn’t discussed in their workshops yet was conflict. In this aspect of interpersonal relationships we focused on causes of conflict, how to cope with immediate reactions such as anger and how to resolve conflict through listening and better communicating as well thinking about desired outcomes in resolving conflict.

Developing this workshop was a great way to work on my oral and written communication skills. We started thinking about the audience and who would most benefit from this workshop, and decided to gear the workshop to 9th and 10th grade students. By determining our audience, we were able to set the tone for the entire presentation and include information and examples that could be relatable to young high school students. On a personal note, another part of communication that I was able to work on this summer was converting internet research into digestible information on a slide. 

Slide from our conflict resolution workshop.

I would encourage those interested in interning with Shalom Task Force, or in other nonprofits that fit under the category of Jewish communal service, to be open to learning new things and ask questions. This is because every Jewish community can look and operate differently than other communities. Therefore, in order to be more effective, openness to learning new ways of doing things is vital. Interning with Shalom Task Force has made me realize the importance of culturally sensitive programming and being proactive in filling needs that we see in our communities. 

Canva design that I worked on for future domestic violence awareness month post

Because this was also my first experience in which I was exposed to how nonprofits are funded, I discovered that the Shalom Task Force relies heavily on grants from federal and state governments. For anyone interested in interning in the nonprofit sector, I found it helpful to learn about all aspects of how nonprofits operate. This can be done by asking questions and learning about advocacy, both self advocacy and for the agency. Although Shalom Task Force is a very small agency with only 19 paid staff members, it provides important services in the realm of domestic violence. I am grateful for the learning opportunities, skills I have developed, and the connections and warmth the Shalom Task Force staff have shown me this summer.

Reeling it in – final takeaways on my summer of fish

As I approach the final weeks of my internship at NOAA Fisheries, it’s amazing to look back at how much I’ve learned. I do believe that my goals have somewhat changed over the course of the summer. For instance, I was drawn to this internship largely because I would get to do different types of work—it included a mix of data analysis, lab work, and fieldwork. I saw it as an opportunity to gain a range of skills and see what I liked and didn’t. However, I soon grew to realize that I valued having a diverse set of tasks and responsibilities in of itself. Being able to aggregate and graph data, identify aquatic invertebrates under a microscope, remove stomachs from juvenile salmon, research appropriate statistical models, and occasionally go out on a boat, all for the same job, had me constantly learning and prevented feelings of boredom or burnout.  

That being said, data analysis and invertebrate identification were the tasks I spent the majority of my time doing. I got to do fieldwork twice, and while I was grateful for the experience, I don’t think I did it enough to reliably assess how much I would like it if it played a larger role in my career. Going into the summer, I thought data analysis was something that would align well with my two majors—Environmental Studies and Applied Mathematics—however, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. Over the course of the internship, I found myself really enjoying it, and it’s definitely something I can see myself doing in the future. I was also proud of how much progress I made in learning R, from going in with no experience to feeling confident in performing the tasks I need to, mostly having taught myself using resources from the internet (which there are A LOT of).

One thing I learned about myself in the workplace this summer is that I can thrive independently, given proper guidance and communication channels. While I really liked my mentor, I worked alone for a good portion of my time, and enjoyed the flexibility and independence. For instance, I was able to experiment with starting and ending earlier, or taking more frequent, shorter breaks, rather than a long lunch break. I believe that having social outlets outside of work was also important; otherwise, I would have likely felt lonely at work. 

NOAA is a large organization, so I would advise future student interns to seek out opportunities within the organization, especially if there is something you’re interested in that you don’t have a chance to do with your project. For instance, my project didn’t have fieldwork, but I made my mentor aware of my interest in it, so he found opportunities where other project leaders needed extra hands. 

I would also advise future interns to keep a notebook! Unlike school, where you will usually get a written assignment description, your boss will likely mention things during a meeting that they want you to do, which you are expected to keep track of. It can also be good to write down terms or areas you are less familiar with to do background research on. Finally, don’t be intimidated when it seems like there’s a lot of information being thrown at you, especially in the beginning. You have the whole summer to learn, and while it’s important to keep up with your work, most people will understand that you are still relatively young and inexperienced, and not have unrealistic expectations of you. 

The Nature of Social Work

During the early days of my internship, I was walking back to my car with a family friend, discussing the nature of social work. Coming into the conversation, I knew the basics: the burn out, the hard-fought victories, the interminable effort and the interminable need. There remained, however, a fundamental paradox which perplexed me. It seemed to me as though social workers were meant to find meaning, inspiration, and motivation in the success stories they had contributed to, and at the same time they had to not take those particularly sad or unsuccessful cases personally. The task of juggling this psychological double standard–be affected by the good cases, and don’t be affected by the bad ones—appears impossible. Can one really control how the work affects you? Is there a best way to rationalize the “failed” cases you gave your best effort to?

What my friend had to say on the subject stuck with me because to my inexperienced ears, her logic seemed at first counterintuitive. The conversation went something like this:

CEO Friend: I concede that social workers do, and should, find meaning and purpose in their clients’ success, but at the same time it’s so important we don’t let ourselves feel personally responsible for their success. In other words, you should never equate your client’s success with your own.

Maya: But when your client succeeds you have succeeded! Isn’t that the social workers job? To help their clients achieve what they wouldn’t be able to on their own? I think it’d be far-fetched to argue otherwise. The social worker’s success is their client’s success!

CEO Friend: The reality of social work is such that for as many people as you’re able to help, the list of people you can’t help is twice as long, or more. Maintaining a linear correlation between your effort and your clients’ success would be hole-heartedly discouraging. It’s crucial to remember the bigger picture, and not feel like you’ve failed when a client you helped ends up back on your caseload. If you do, how are you going to be able to help them again in a productive manner?

This conversation was eye-opening for me, but it didn’t change the fact that having a client slip through the cracks is devastating. One of my colleagues described the first time she learned a client of hers had ended up back in jail, and how the news was so affecting she cried at work. Another colleague shared how a client of his he was struggling to help died by the hands of the police, an experience that nearly made him quit his job. I was shocked to hear that during a period of extremely heavy caseloads, the work was so draining that eating dinner in bed was not uncommon.

Rather than deter me, my exposure to CEO’s human-centered professional environment was energizing. I perceived being so close to your impact as both a privilege and a challenge. I loved working in a space constantly circulating with new people, and saw how such an environment sustained the employees during difficult times. Working at the grassroots, individual level may not combat systemic issues, but it is preciously this kind of work which reminds us why it is important to focus on big picture solutions.

Working at a boutique matrimonial law firm pt.3

I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of the summer. I have learned so much from my time as an intern at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield. Looking back at the start of the summer versus where I am now is wildly different. I came into this internship excited, but nervous to learn about the world of work and specifically what it meant to work as a lawyer. The big question looming over my head was the question of whether or not this was a career that I could see myself excelling at. I had been on the debate team in high school and I love a good argument but I had no idea if I was actually cut out to be a lawyer. My experience at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield taught me a lot about the inner workings and day-to-day experience of being a lawyer but even more importantly it showed me that this was something I could do and succeed at. My goal of determining if this was something I could do while feeling fulfilled and happy was accomplished because the work I did this summer made me feel fulfilled and happy. I was able to work hard with ease throughout the summer because I knew I was getting important work done.

I have definitely learned a lot about myself in the workplace. I learned a lot about what it takes me to get through a day of work. While on campus I was usually only eating lunch and dinner but I learned that, when I am waking up early, in the workplace I need to eat some type of breakfast to fuel myself in the morning when I am usually at my slowest. I learned that some kinds of music can help me be very productive while others actually can distract me from the task at hand. I also am a very social person and it was interesting to see how important being social in the workplace is to getting work done. On days when I spent less time interacting with others I noticed that I had a harder time getting work done. Spending a couple of minutes speaking with a coworker always meant that I would return to work energized and excited to finish the task at hand.

If I was asked to give advice to a student, interested in working at either my host organization or in my field/occupation, I would share with them the most important advice I received over the course of my internship this summer. “The devil is in the details”. This was a piece of advice that was repeated to me many times over the course of my internship and it is a piece of advice that I endorse as essential. In the field of law, every single detail matters. Even if it is something as simple as a proper spelling of a name on a motion it is important that each and every detail is double and triple checked. The reason for this is that a lawyer is only as good as their body of work. Someone who is careful to ensure that every detail is correct will succeed because they can be confident that they are not missing anything.

I am most proud of the fact that I contributed to helping people in a very challenging part of their lives. I am proud that my research and my hard work were able to make a difference in people’s lives.

Post 2: Pediatric Epilepsy Clinical Research Internship at Boston Children’s Hospital

Hello Everyone!
I can’t believe I am almost more than halfway done with my summer internship! I have been enjoying my time as a Senior Clinical Research Intern at the Loddenkemper Lab of Boston Children’s Hospital. This internship has been a valuable experience where I got to learn the ropes of clinical research and epilepsy etiology. When I first joined the internship program, I was initially worried about the complex medical terminology and how to utilize big databases and software such as PowerChart and REDCap. However, with the time and support from my mentors, I was able to learn all the skills necessary for the internship and even train the new summer interns at the lab.
I really enjoy the slight difference between the internship and my academic life because I felt more independent and got to understand the scientific world. It was a chance for me to step into the workforce and apply many of my academic pursuits to the projects conducted by our lab. The clinical research skills that I gained from this internship reaffirmed my passion to go into medicine. Understanding how clinical research is constantly evolving and a basis for treatment and care for patients is so inspiring. Our lab changes the path of epilepsy research as it aspires to remove the social stigma of EEGs in epileptic patients and create ways where patients are able to feel comfortable in their environment and safe. Understanding how a disease or condition can affect a patient’s lifestyle is important to understand as a future physician as it can help future physicians diagnose and care for patients with these factors in mind. Learning more about how the social determinants of health play a role in the barriers for a patient to get treatment also helped opened my eyes to the perspective of the patient and inspired me to shape the way I treat patients in the future.
So far, I have completed three projects and mentored our summer interns to ensure they feel comfortable in the lab. I also got a chance to participate in the selection process for our future fall interns by reading through over 400 applications and interviewing 15 prospective interns. This administrative perspective of the lab provided me insight into how difficult selection processes can be as all the applicants are well qualified and accomplished. Aside from projects and tasks, I took my lab members on a tour at Harvard Medical School where we learned about the history of medicine. Our guide showed different manuscripts and events which advanced the future of medicine and allowed more women to pursue a career as a physician. We also got an opportunity to hear more about how IUDs and contraceptives were first created and how that affected the treatments/care of women. Additionally, our librarian guide showed us one of the first anatomy books from the Italian Renaissance and helped us note important details of the pictures. I had so much fun learning about the history of medicine and definitely want to go again sometime in the future! I am excited to pursue more projects throughout this internship and participate in more enriching experiences!

My Hands-On Experience at Stepping Forward Counseling Center

Thoughts on my Position So Far

As I continue my internship at Stepping Forward Counseling Center (SFCC), I am excited by the hands-on experience I gain every day at work. As an intern, I have the opportunity to work with kids with mental illness and behavioral problems, rather than just reading or researching about mental health. Recently, I have been given more responsibilities and found new ways to connect with my campers. When one camper acts out, I am sometimes asked to guide or entertain the other campers while the head counselor helps the camper handle their emotions. Some of the campers are more anxious and nervous that the other kids do not want to spend time with them. When one camper told me that he felt left out when the other campers ran ahead of him to a water slide, I asked a different camper who was also quiet to look out for him. The two campers then went down the water slide together, and the socially anxious camper was thrilled.

While I knew that SFCC is a therapy program, I did not fully comprehend how therapeutic techniques are seamlessly incorporated into every activity. Whether it is swimming at the pool or petting donkeys at a farm, the campers are reminded to work on their goals. One of my favorite therapeutic activities was a drawing project. The campers were asked to draw a “Rock Brain” on one side of a paper and write a sentence about something that makes them feel stuck. On the other side, they drew a “Rex Flex” and wrote about a way that they can deal with their “Rock Brain.”

My Rock Brain and Rex Flex drawings

How the World of Work Differs from my Life At University

The structure of my day in the work world is different from my academic schedule as a student at Brandeis. In school, I have classes a few times a week and lots of homework throughout the week. At SFCC, I work from 8:45 am-3:30 Monday to Thursday. My work day takes more energy than sitting in a classroom but I love that when I come home, I am free to do what I like. I especially love that I have no homework on the weekends. In school, I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk inside and listening to a professor’s lecture. At SFCC, I spend my time talking to the campers and going outside to different places, such as the SFCC garden.

While work can be exhausting, I feel fulfilled and energized by my campers at SFCC. It takes a lot of energy to focus on helping the kids all day but I feel gratified when I see the campers grow.

Skills I am Building from this Internship and How They Relate to my Future Career Plans

As someone who dreams of becoming a therapist someday, I am thrilled that I am learning therapeutic skills through my internship at SFCC. The staff at SFCC are careful to use therapeutic language when speaking to campers. If a camper earns all their points one day, the staff says “all points earned” rather than that it was “a perfect day.” The campers are told that they are never “in trouble” but that the staff are here to help them when they struggle.

In the various therapeutic activities, the campers discuss different coping skills that they can use to regulate their emotions. Some examples include counting to ten, deep breathing, taking a break, and listening to music. Now, when a camper struggles, I remind them of these coping skills. When one of my campers was upset that she could not find her water bottle, I took deep breaths with her before we continued to search.



Blog Post #2: Deterrence Theory and its Influence on Modern Jurisprudence

Something relevant to my internship I learned at Brandeis was the unit, “Why do we punish?”, in Professor Lenowitz’s amazing Legal Theory seminar. This was the second unit of the class, and it entailed a survey of the different philosophical justifications for criminal punishment. Professor Lenowitz introduced this topic by emphasizing the necessity to justify punishment because, after all, its goal is to deliberately inflict suffering. This creates a fundamental paradox: how does a state-sanctioned harm rectify an individual harm? A potential solution to this problem, proposed most elaborately by J.S. Mill, is deterrence theory. It contends that the state must punish criminals to prevent that crime from occurring again. Deterrence, in this scenario, takes two forms: general (punishing a criminal deters others from committing this crime) and specific (punishing a criminal deters the same criminal from becoming a repeat offender). The other most popular school of thought is retributivism, the argument that a criminal should be punished out of a commitment to morality or justice. While retributivism dates as far back as criminal punishment exists, H.L.A. Hart created its modern incarnation.

This topic is very pertinent to my internship because prosecutors carefully consider what type of punishment they request to impose on the criminal. This is because they must justify every aspect of the punishment, in detail, to the judge. When attempting to justify the requested sentence, the prosecution makes very specific appeals to both theories of justification — along with other theories. Contemporary jurisprudence, however, seems to favor deterrence theory based on my limited experience. This could have dire consequences if taken to the logical extreme. First, deterrence theory fails to establish a connection between the criminal and the crime. A hypothetical scenario raised by Professor Lenowitz best illustrates this objection; what if a supercomputer created by the DOJ determined that the best way to deter domestic violence was to lock the victim’s grandmother in jail for five years? Deterrence theory also cannot account for proportionality; suppose the same supercomputer calculates that the optimal deterrence to jaywalking is to chop off the offender’s right hand. How does that gruesome punishment fit the insignificance of the crime? Finally, deterrence theory says that a criminal should only receive punishment if it maximizes utility. How should legislators and jurist respond if the supercomputer said that sexual assault cannot be deterred with any criminal punishment? If they were devout utilitarians, they would have to legalize sexual assault, a decision that would clearly unleash myriad disastrous consequences.

Now, retributivism has serious logical and moral shortcomings as well. It placates the primal human urge for revenge when the legal system presents itself as, and should be, the peak of sophistication and decorum. White supremacist groups have also co-opted the retributivist school in recent years, according to fantastic scholars like Erin Kelly. The modern criminal system obviously combines aspects of both theories. Judges account for an incredibly broad scope of factors when determining the appropriate punishment for a crime (unless the punishment is entirely determined by statue), but I feel the judicial system should re-evaluate its current dependence on deterrence theory.

The Honorable Judge Lisa M. English, a Brandeis alumnus, graciously offered to meet and take a picture with me.



5 Weeks at Wolfe Update

Hi everyone – I am now over a month into my internship and I can safely say that it has been a fantastic experience so far! Going into this internship, I thought that the job would solely entail a lot of numbers and financial analysis (which it does), but the biggest thing that I didn’t take into account was the connections I was going to make. The connection between all of the teams and the people on sales is much more important than I expected, and is vital to the success of the firm. Both on my team and in other sectors, I have been trying my best to connect with as many people as possible after realizing how valuable that was. The firm does a very good job of trying to have networking events, with our latest one being at a Yankees game. It was super nice to see everyone outside of a work setting, because it made everyone feel a lot more human and personable instead of being so serious and professional at work. It was really interesting to see how people have come from so many different backgrounds to get to the same place.

Another thing I realized about the job is how much work it really takes to excel in your line of work. On average, I have been working 50-55 hour weeks, and even with all of that time on the job I am still nowhere near an expert in this field. I know that no one is an expert after 5 weeks, but it is still really important to realize how much time it takes to get good at a certain skill / job. This is a stark contrast to college life. Even though I am on the soccer team and have a rigorous schedule, you are still able to have free time throughout the day. Having to work full days has definitely been an adjustment, but it has been super rewarding to see my understanding of all of the concepts get better week after week.

I think for me the biggest piece of knowledge that I have had to learn is the healthcare business as a whole. When I came to Wolfe with some science background, I assumed I would have a good starting point, but I got humbled the first day when my peers sounded like they were talking a different language. For the past 5 weeks I have had to really dive deep into all of the different sub-sectors of healthcare and insurance, with the ones I’ve focused on the most being Medicare Advantage and hospital admission trends. Another thing that has increased my knowledge on the sector is the countless meetings that my team has with investors and the management of the companies we cover. By just listening to these top class professionals and taking good notes, I have been able to retain a lot of the information that they are saying. Another thing that I have had to learn on the job is financial modeling / financial analysis. A financial model is a way to forecast a company’s earnings by utilizing the three financial statements (balance sheet, cash flow, income statement) and company guidance (their predictions on future earnings). Personally, this has been a very hard skill to learn, but I know that it will be very rewarding when I finally get the hang of it. I think that both of these skills are very applicable to my future career, no matter what path I take. If I continue to stay in equity research in the healthcare industry, it is a perfect match and I can continue to build my skills into the next internship I have. These skills are also applicable in other instances, especially in real world situations. My knowledge of the healthcare industry is super important because we all use healthcare, and it is important to understand the logistics of it. Overall, the knowledge and analytical skills that I have learned are super beneficial, and I can’t wait to continue working on them for the next 4 weeks!

Picture of me and the other interns


From Code to Data

In academic life, I am often nagged by the feeling that what I’m learning doesn’t have practical applications at the level I am learning it. These last few weeks at the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at UGA have proved that wrong. 

At Brandeis, I study both psychology and computer science, and I get a lot of questions about how those fields overlap. Computer Science more and more proves invaluable to scientific research. This past week I learned a new programming language R and was able to convert a huge Excel spreadsheet into a PDF of neat eye movement position and velocity graphs (pictured below). 

(raw data Excel file and graphs generated from code)

I was surprised by how straightforward picking up this new language was for me. Since I’ve had a few years of coding experience I knew what actions were possible and was able to think like a computer enough to generate a working algorithm. The purpose of this algorithm is to analyze the eye movement data for the Cognitive Flexibility project I am working on with my mentor Beryl Huang. Now that it is complete we can use this algorithm to do the hard work of processing the eye movement data for each participant in this study. 

In addition to the eye movement data for each participant, we also will have data from the EEG that is tracking the brainwave activity. In this coming week, I will be trained on how to score this data so that we can process it once we start gathering more participants. 

(raw EEG data)

I am excited to be learning so many things so far. In addition to learning how to set up the EEG equipment, learning R, and beginning to score data, just being around the lab is a great way for me to understand more about statistics and analyzing data. In our weekly lab meetings, I am able to watch data analysis troubleshooting, and data presentation. This helps me understand the thought process behind data analytics. 

  Psychology research thus far seems like a field that likes to keep you on your toes. You might encounter a lot of unforeseen difficulties with things like data management and analysis, equipment functionality, and translating data. This means that you are always learning and adapting. It is not for the faint of heart, but I have never been one to back away from a problem that needs solving and I am excited to keep doing so as I continue to work with this lab.

How I’m Expanding my Horizons at the CORELAB

Closing in on nearly two months at the CORELAB, I can say this has been a time of immense growth and learning. As I move forward in my time here, I am gaining a better understanding of the process of developing, furthering, and completing a full fledged research project. 

My experience here has undoubtedly challenged my expectations in many ways. Coming into the lab as an aspiring engineering student, I was very focused on developing my skills in biodesign. However, over time, I became exposed to various aspects of outcomes research. At first, I thought the niche medical topics many projects dissected were not relevant to my focus, but with time I have come to see their value particularly in understanding healthcare disparities. My first exposure to scientific writing has been on a paper on the impact of inter-hospital transfer on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and how it affects the heart-lung lifesaving procedure. This paper nicely parallels the prototyping project I am working on for designing an ECMO catheter tube. Working on these biodesign and outcomes projects simultaneously has improved my understanding of the implications of the procedure of ECMO.

Some 3D-printed parts for the ECMO tube project; the small clear samples were produced with silicone molding from the green molds!

Collaboration has been at the core of my experience so far this summer, both in and out of the lab. The CORELAB is associated with The Center for AdvancedSurgical and Interventional Technology (CASIT) here at UCLA. CASIT conducts innovative research and education in simulation-based training, aiming to improve minimally invasive procedures while providing state-of-the-art surgical education. A new building was inaugurated on campus this past month which will soon house parts of the CORELABas well as other collaborators of CASIT. I had the chance to attend the opening ceremony where various biomedical technologies were featured. It really was a celebration of the future of medicine, with displays ranging from surgical simulatorsto VR training to a robotic patient who is designed so realistically he can even urinate (for educational purposes of course). Our lab also had a station at the event where we set up a pig heart to beat on its own with the help of a pressurized machine (whenever people stopped by the station we told them it was a human heart, of course). The backdrop for our station was a video of highlights from the lab that I assembled myself. This project was a fun way to get creative while showcasing various aspects of the CORELAB’s work and its members.

Me learning how to drill a metal implant into a bone
Robotic patient at CASIT inauguration event

My World of Work consists of a robust mixture of undergraduates, medical students and residents, as well as our engineer-turned-doctor supervisor, Dr. B. Unlike the relatively structured environment of university life, the lab is a very self-directed environment with people coming in and out the whole day. While centered around cardiac outcomes, the range of topics is vast, with projects such as injury risk, prototyping, and plastic surgery. Proposing a new project is really a matter of running the data to see if it is viable and getting the green light from Dr. B.

Given this flexible environment, and somewhat unexpectedly, I am planning on expanding my experience in the CORELAB beyond this summer. While developing my skills and knowledge with my Brandeis classes this fall, I will also continue to do some remote work, even potentially attending a conference with the lab in the spring! I’m excited to see how this opportunity will continue to push me and lead me to grow as I enter this third phase of the summer.

Post 2 – Uplifting the Voices of Women in Government

Working for the women’s caucus has grounded much of what I believed state government to be in the realities of human nature, personality, and character. Simply put, I have discovered that behind the caricatures of government, the “big” representative figures who hold so much power displayed on screen, are also people too. While this may be self-evident, I nonetheless believe such a statement must be reemphasized from time to time. The MCWL office serves as an open space, one in which anyone may stop by to speak what’s on their minds, to rant about the troubles of the day, or simply to have a good laugh, a cup of coffee, and a piece of candy. The office, not to any surprise really, has emphasized to me the importance of camaraderie, of allyship, and of listening to one another.

MCWL Office!

I have had the pleasure of speaking one-on-one with several inspiring legislators, women who are working to make pragmatic, lasting changes in their communities. Fascinatingly, a majority of the women whom I have spoken to or heard from during intern speaker seminars have included a variation of the following statement in their retelling of their pathway into government: “I never thought I would be doing this work or actually run for office one day.” This statement, as evidence of the barriers to women’s political candidate emergence, did not surprise me. What did surprise, and more to the point inspire me, were the various innovative, passionate, and persistent ways in which these women defied the odds to take action and better their local communities in whatever way they could. 


This photo was taken at a hearing for the Joint Committee on Housing, chaired by Senator Lydia Edwards and Representative James Arciero. The Vice Chair of this committee – Representative Meghan Kilcoyne – is a member of our caucus!

The operations of the State House are procedural and strategic, yet they are subject to public critique or support of constituents, to quick changes and turnarounds, and to successes and failures. This is a fast paced environment, with great expectations underlying each bill that is filed, testified on behalf of, debated in committee, and voted upon. This is a building which opens its arms to the public, offering a space for voices to advocate on a number of issues, to rally in the Great Hall of Flags, or deliver speeches before the Grand Staircase. This is a workplace in which networks must be established, and group affinity must be uplifted, amidst the push and pull of State politics. What sets the world of work, and more specifically state government, apart from the realm of academic life is a constant and rapid rhythm that moves quickly and may change at any moment. As we like to say in the MCWL office, there is always something going on in the State House. 

Child Care Rally in the Hall of Flags – Families, early educators and family child care providers rallied to call for “affordable, accessible, high-quality early education and child care” as several bills lay before the Legislature regarding affordability and accessibility of child care in the state of Massachusetts.

One must also be concise in a position such as this. There is no room for lengthy passages or essays, but rather brief analyses and summaries. I cannot emphasize enough the amount of times I have heard the term “elevator pitch” this summer. Brevity and clarity are not often associated with academia, yet they are skills that must be honed in order to maintain pace with the world of work. Thus, I have learned to be clear in the questions I ask, in the policy briefs, testimony, and memos I write, and in the conversations I have with state political actors working with a limited amount of time each day. Clear communication, interpersonal connection, and critical thinking are among many transferable skills I have further developed with this position. 

Above all, I have learned to reassure myself that those questions, ideas, and insights I have are valued by the inspiring people I meet. It is often easy for young people to grow insecure, to find themselves facing imposter syndrome and doubt. However, I continue to remind myself that young voices are needed in this work, and will, without a doubt, be received with great admiration.

2- Exploring Psychiatric Clinical Research and Related Fields at GPRP

Over the past few weeks, I have continued to learn more about the ins and outs of clinical research at the Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program (GPRP) while also getting to interact with professionals of all different fields at McLean Hospital. Going into this summer, I knew I had an interest in neuroscience research, but didn’t really know what that looked like in practice. This internship at GPRP has taught me that clinical research can be a slow, obstacle-filled process, but nonetheless, the research studies that are going on are making a positive impact on the older adult community. It is a really exciting time to be involved in psychiatric research among older adults, especially since the disease-modifying drug for Alzheimer’s called Lecanemab (brand name Leqembi) has just received FDA approval this past week. Hopefully soon, the use of this drug can go beyond research studies like Clarity-AD at GPRP to the general population. 

The World of Work has differed from my university and academic life as my internship allows me to apply many of the things I have learned in the classroom to my work. For example, topics like amyloid and tau are often brought up in classroom discussions surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease, and now I get to hear how beneficial clinical trials have been in targeting these components of the brain and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s as I shadow support groups for people with the disease. Additionally, WOW has given me the chance to learn from so many staff members at GPRP and across McLean Hospital who graciously offer their time and energy in guiding me and the other interns. One of my favorite parts of this internship has been learning from research assistants in the lab, medical doctors, psychologists, nurses, therapists, and social workers who offer us a glimpse of what their work is like and provide valuable mentorship. 

Conducting a literature review on sleep in the older adult population as well as depression and bipolar disorder

Some of the skills I am building include being able to multitask on a variety of different projects and strengthening my interpersonal skills. In the past few weeks, I have been assisting with internal and external recruitment efforts to enroll more participants in studies, organizing our online drive and regulatory binders so that everything is accessible and filed correctly, and conducting a literature review for an upcoming paper the lab is developing. I will definitely utilize my multitasking skills in college to stay on task with assignments for my classes and I’m sure the same will apply to future jobs in the research or medical field where I will have to handle multiple projects or see many patients. It has also been great getting to interact with staff at McLean and research participants as it puts the research we’re doing in context and makes it feel more meaningful. Though it can feel stressful at times to meet so many new people, this experience has made me more comfortable working with the community. 

I am looking forward to my last month at GPRP and continuing to be involved with projects surrounding geriatric psychiatric health! 

Unlocking Women’s Empowerment

Greetings, dear readers! As I find myself immersed in the heart of my internship with Women On Top, I want to share with you the incredible journey of women’s empowerment that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of.

Language, they say, is a powerful tool that has the potential to shape perceptions, bridge divides, and ignite change. Through my role as a translator at Women On Top, I have come to understand the transformative power of language in unlocking the doors to women’s empowerment, therefore bringing social justice. Every day, I have the privilege of translating resources, stories, and messages from Greek to English and in this process, I’ve come to realize that translation is not merely about converting words from one language to another; it is about capturing the essence, emotion, and power behind each message.

Women’s empowerment, to me, is about breaking down barriers and creating a world where women are celebrated, supported, and given equal opportunities to thrive. Through my translations, I strive to dismantle linguistic obstacles that hinder women’s access to knowledge, resources, and opportunities.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship has been witnessing the impact that translated materials have on women’s lives. It is an extraordinary experience to know that my work contributes to creating a more inclusive and empowering environment for women, regardless of their native language. Moreover, being part of Women On Top has opened my eyes to the importance of collaboration and the strength that comes from uniting individuals who share a common vision. The team at Women On Top is filled with passionate, dedicated individuals who believe in the power of women’s empowerment. Together, we work hand in hand, sharing ideas, knowledge, and experiences, all with the goal of creating lasting change.

Feminism, in its essence, is a movement that challenges societal norms, dismantles gender biases, and fights for equal rights and opportunities. It is about recognizing the inherent value and potential of every woman and advocating for her voice to be heard. 

As I move forward in my internship, I am more committed than ever to continue using my skills to empower women. Each action becomes an opportunity to shed light on the stories of women who have overcome adversity, share knowledge that can spark new possibilities, and foster a sense of unity among women from different cultures and backgrounds.

Stay tuned for more updates on my journey with Women On Top as we strive to empower women, break barriers, and create a future where every woman can stand tall and thrive.

Using my Brandeis Education to Approach my Work at Avodah

During my time at Brandeis, I’ve had many opportunities to delve into core social justice concepts, specifically the concept of intersectionality. Intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, recognizes that individuals hold multiple social identities such as race, gender, religion, class, and that these identities interact to create complex and varied experiences of privilege and oppression. In both the classroom and beyond, I have learned how intersectionality is relevant not only to societal dynamics but in my community. This understanding has been significant to me as it has profoundly influenced my thinking about Avodah’s work and my approach to my internship. 

Our weekly recruitment team meeting

While working at a Jewish social justice organization, embracing intersectionality is essential for promoting social inclusion and creating a supportive community. Acknowledging the varied experiences of individuals within the Jewish community allows Avodah to tailor programs, initiatives, and policies that address their specific needs. This emphasis on intersectionality is demonstrated throughout Avodah’s programming, particularly in their creation of a JOC Bayit (Communal home). The JOC Bayit is an affinity space within the NYC Service Corps  designed to offer a celebratory Jews of Color-only community that can specifically nurture the growth of Jews of Color. Through programs such as the JOC Bayit, our community can better recognize and respect the intersectionality of Jewish identities, allowing Avodah to foster a sense of belonging as well as ensure that all voices are heard and valued.

Moreover, my awareness of intersectionality inspires me to actively seek out diverse perspectives, both within the organization and in the broader Jewish community. By engaging with individuals who have different intersecting identities, I gain valuable insights that enrich my work and contribute to Avodah’s ability to address the complex issues facing the community. One of my main projects as the recruitment intern at Avodah has been to help build upon Avodah’s Spanish-Speaking network as many of the fellowship placements in Chicago require a working knowledge of Spanish. One of my tasks was to create a map of Spanish-Speaking communities and their hubs, specifically searching for Synagogues with Spanish programming, Jewish schools in areas with a large Spanish Speaking community, etc. While doing this mapping, I thought about the layers of Jewish identity and how these research tactics were mainly focusing on white Jews who knew Spanish, rather than looking into the strong Jewish communities throughout South America. After reflecting on the fact that my Synagogue in Chicago– Lake Shore Drive Synagogue– has a congregant body primarily composed of immigrants, I decided to reach out to South American immigrants from my own network in order to see what connections they could provide, not just in America but also in their countries of origin. By reaching out to my personal contacts from my community, I hope to not only include Jewish members with different backgrounds in Avodah’s recruitment pool, but to embrace them for what their intersectional identities can bring to our community and to Avodah’s mission. 

Being Avodah’s only intern has been a great experience, everyone has been so welcoming!

Post 2: Important lessons at QSECC

Hi everyone! So far my internship has adhered to my expectations as far as workload is concerned. I knew my internship would be very self-guided and that my ideas would be valuable in this organization. Per my suggestion, I have been recently posting call-outs on my organization’s Instagram story looking for other organizations with similar missions to spotlight in our upcoming newsletter (which I am also the one creating) as well as looking for partnerships for upcoming Zines. Within this organization, I am treated like a partner rather than an intern which I greatly appreciate. I do not feel as though my ideas are not taken as seriously as others, in fact, I am given similar responsibilities and opportunities to my mentors. I feel very thankful for an experience like this where I can gain perspective on what it would be like working for an organization such as this full-time. 

My work for this internship differs greatly from university life in that it is very independent. A lot of my workload is self-assigned based on my ideas and suggestions. It is also up to me to speak up and request meetings or reach out to others for help if needed. This is different from academia where professors often assign work and follow up. In this internship, I am expected to be self-sufficient. It is also expected that I will reach out if I need anything rather than having my mentors reach out to me. This is a very valuable skill that this internship is leaving me with. 

As I enter the workforce, I cannot always expect bosses to offer their guidance unprompted. Instead, I must become the adult that I am and take it upon myself to advocate for what I need. This internship is teaching me that my voice matters and is respected. Any time I have asked for guidance or any other help I am given it right away without being made to feel a bother. Instead, I am being treated like any adult with a job position requiring training. This will help me in the future when I am placed in similar non-profit organizations where they may be short-staffed or simply unable to check on my every move. It is important that I learn how to advocate for myself and succeed in the workforce. 

Aside from this, I am also learning many useful social media and newsletter creation skills. I am becoming proficient in working with Wix as well as how to maintain a professional yet colloquial social media presence. When working for social media for a professional organization, it was hard to learn how to chat with other organizations through such an informal avenue such as Instagram direct messaging without actually being informal because our conversations were still professional. This skill will help me in the future because I intend to remain in the digital media realm of the non-profit sphere. 

Creating a sense of belonging one sticker at a time

I have officially reached the midpoint in my summer internship with Brown Joy and I am so excited to share some of the projects and experiences I have had thus far. Upon starting I was a bit worried about being overwhelmed as I was balancing volunteering, work and class in addition to my internship. Luckily my screenwriting class ended last week and I am more than happy to report that in my position as a creative intern, I am not overwhelmed.

I am a rising junior and Brown Joy is my second official internship but it is a lot different than I had previously anticipated. Different in a good way. Last summer I had an opportunity to work with the Boston Kids International Film Festival as an unpaid film intern. My work was to review films based on cinematography, writing and creativity. The time flew by and by October my internship had ended. In recent months I have been able to be more present thanks to the WOW Fellowship for Social Justice blog posts, which allow me to reflect on what I am doing as an intern.

Some other differences from academic life have been the flexibility in my schedule and my ability to contribute my ideas for increasing engagement with media and attracting more customers to Brown Joy. 

I have also enjoyed getting to know Miss Brown through my internship weekly meetings. She has always greeted me in our meetings asking me about my day or my class. And not only did I discover that she is amazing at multitasking, very understanding and incredibly busy (after-all she is the CEO) but she has a very tight knit community and is very connected. My favorite thing is hearing about how she is connected to others, whether they be friends, churches, or community members. 

Initially upon accepting the internship position, I was looking forward to creating whether in a more artistic direction or digitally. I have mainly been working on creating a pitch in the format of a newsletter. The purpose in creating pitches was to spread news about Brown Joy to Back-to-School programs and other non-profit organizations to create partnerships and garner more sales for Brown Joy. I worked on providing a pitch and summarizing what Brown Joy is and a pricing sheet for Brown Joy products. In my time I have learned more about using Canva and utilizing various forms of communication such as creating marketing materials through email and social media copy. I am an avid Canva user and I have been able to learn more about color scheme, tones and palette  and its importance in reflecting Brown Joy. In all my designs I try to make them as colorful as possible and use a bright palette to keep potential partners interested. I have enhanced my communication skills and gained confidence in sharing my ideas, which is important regardless of whether you are in a classroom or at work. I learned about a business’s behind-the-scenes operations and marketing techniques, as well as maintaining our customers’ happiness. Lastly, I have developed an eye for digital design and plan to use that to create logos and assist future brands on campus on and off.  

Post 2 – Impressions of my Internship at the New England Aquarium

It has been over a month since I started my internship at the New England Aquarium. Since my first day, I have engaged in conversations about protecting our environment, given presentations on our exhibits, and gained interpretation certifications in different galleries. So far, I am enjoying my internship, and I am very happy to be spending my summer with this organization. There is a lot of work involved and presenting myself in front of hundreds of guests takes a lot of effort, but my position as part of the Conservation Learning department has exceeded my expectations. My favorite part that has come out of this experience is the interactions I have with our visitors, especially with guests who are interested in protecting our oceans. For example, I talked to a family about corals while having a brain coral model in my hands. As I was talking about what corals are, the kids in the family mentioned coral bleaching. From there, the kids mentioned reducing our CO2 emissions and allowed me to outline community-level solutions such as advocating for a reliable public transportation structure and voting for policies that protect our environment. These kinds of interactions not only allow me to talk passionately about the environment but also see visitors care about our animals and are motivated to preserve our oceans. 

Enjoying a nice view of the Boston Harbor while I am on my lunch break!

There is a lot I learned from my internship that I don’t usually learn from university life. One of the first hurdles I had to overcome before I started was my commute. As I stated in my last blog, I take the commuter rail and the subway to get from Brandeis to the aquarium, and it usually takes an hour to go one way. Because my shift starts at 10 am, I have to plan my commute to get ready and start on time. At Brandeis, I don’t have to worry about driving or taking public transportation to make my classes on time. If there is one piece of advice I would give to future students taking public transportation for their internship, it would be to plan the commute ahead of time. Check the schedules for the train and subway and make sure you can make your work shift on time. It is better to be prepared and have backup commuting methods if something goes wrong. Another important difference was the teamwork that is required for the internship. In school, while we have opportunities to participate in group work, we are mostly focused on individual work. At the Conservation Learning department, everyone is working together whether it is interpreting the Marine Protected Area exhibit, supervising the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, or giving each other feedback on our conversations with guests. Everyone in the department is helping each other grow and I believe having good teamwork experience is vital for the World of Work.

Photo of Comb Jellies in our Temperate Gallery. Light can refract off of Comb Jellies producing stripes of rainbow colors!

In addition to developing my teamwork skills, I have gained a lot of experience in areas I did not expect to develop during my internship. For example, I have become more familiar with Microsoft 365 products such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Sharepoint. Having more experience in using Microsoft Teams will be helpful for future careers that rely on Microsoft Teams for open communication and teamwork. Outside of work, I have picked up on making spreadsheets to track my budget from the WOW fellowship. Using Excel to keep track of transportation and food costs has been very helpful this summer and will be vital for my upcoming position as treasurer for the South East Asian Club this coming year. Finally, my presentation and conversation skills from this internship will help me present myself better for future school presentations and future employers after I graduate. Overall, this internship has impacted me in a variety of ways and made me more prepared for the working environment. 

Here is Bray, our new African Penguin in the Penguins exhibit! Juvenile African Penguins look gray compared to the adults which are black and white.

My Internship at NCL

Wow! The summer has already flown by. I am more than a month into my internship at the National Consumers League, with only 2 weeks left of it! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far, and I will definitely be sad when I say goodbye!

I wanted to reflect on my position and everything I have been working on so far! When I first started my internship, I was excited, but definitely nervous about my position. Over time though, I was able to get into the flow of work here. I have continued to work and tackle the goals I had set out at the beginning of my time here. I am still actively working on the website refresh, as well as writing blog posts on health related topics! My internship has been a little different than I expected. While I have loved the flexibility of the remote work, I was worried I would not be engaged in the same ways as an in-person internship. However, I have been pleasantly surprised! Working closely on projects, attending meetings, and participating in brainstorming with various team members has shown me that even though I am remote, I am still an important member of the team. I have enjoyed my work so much, and I have learned so much about health policy as a result. Recently, I got to watch the summer convening of the Health Advisory Council, a member-based council of outside partners who want to support the work of health advocacy, education, and research. There was a panel discussion about the role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers and so much more. I was so grateful to be included in such important work by NCL. The entire thing was organized by my boss, Robin Strongin, who I work closely with.

The WOW, or World of Work, has been so exciting. To me, it is completely different than academic life. In school, often there are extremely clear guidelines for work and expectations, that at times can even be constricting. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed work life, because there has been more freedom with it. Even though I have projects, how I take them and make them my own has been really fun, exciting, and challenging. Not having grades has also been an interesting change. Most of my work has been with writing and research, and I feel like instead of pressure to just get a certain mark, I feel fueled to just put out something that I am proud of. Also, because the projects I have been working on are somewhat long term, I like going back and improving what I had done before. In school, you usually only have one chance to get something write, but with my work here at NCL, I like getting that chance to improve and make it even better.

I have gained a lot of confidence here at NCL. I often suffer from imposter syndrome when it comes to new roles and projects, but my boss, Robin Strongin, has been such a excellent mentor and collaborator. I have felt incredibly supported, and learned to trust myself and my instincts. I keep having to remind myself: “I am here for a reason!” While I’ll be sad to leave my internship, I truly believe I will be able to take my newfound confidence wherever I go.

Until next time!

– Grace Lassila



When I first heard about a group called Jews for Racial and Economic Justice based in New York, I knew that I would be a great fit, although I was not entirely sure what to expect. I am so grateful to be working with such a wonderful group of people united in passion for making the world, and New York City especially, a more equitable and just place for all. Since my role is in the Development department, a lot of my work is focused on fundraising and membership. When I first heard about my role, I was worried because I did not think that fundraising was the part of the nonprofit world that I was interested in, as I am terrible with all things related to numbers. However, I am now really excited about my work and it feels wonderful to know that what I am doing is important and is having a direct positive impact. Furthermore, it has been amazing to learn about all aspects of how grassroots organizations function.

One of the heartwarming shoutouts I have received!

Of course, the World of Work is vastly different from life at Brandeis. In general, there is much less freedom in aspects such as deadlines, group work, and time management. Luckily, this is not my first time entering this world and I felt prepared. It also helps that JFREJ is a leftist organization that respects that all people work differently! However, this position is unlike past jobs that I have had because it is fully remote. Although I was definitely worried about remaining engaged while working remotely, I love the flexibility that virtual work allows for, and I have been able to take some trips and work from various locations! I have felt connected to my coworkers and have gotten to spend plenty of time with the best coworker, my cat, who loves to interrupt my Zoom meetings.

Hannah smiles while her cat sits right in front of her and her computer.

The greatest part of this internship has been the growth I am experiencing. I am learning many new skills and gaining experience in more familiar areas- including using Every Action, a database for nonprofits, becoming more familiar with Google Sheets, Slack, events planning, mail merge (my personal favorite!), and of course, perfecting the art of the phone call. Working remotely has strengthened my time management skills and sense of responsibility, and team meetings help me feel connected to the cause and allow for some amazing brainstorming sessions. It is comforting to know that the skills I am gaining and improving upon now will stick with me throughout my career journey. I plan to continue working in the nonprofit sector, and having experience in multiple areas within this field is really helpful. Fundraising is a crucial aspect of all organizations, and I know I will continue to use the knowledge I am gaining. My interpersonal skills are also improving through the dozens of phone calls I make each week, which will hopefully help me in some of my on campus ventures. Along with my position, I have been joining JFREJ’s biweekly “Move Money Build Power” meetings on Zoom, which has been an amazing opportunity to meet more members and to work with an incredible group to make a difference. Hopefully, I will be able to meet the JFREJ staff and lots of members in person later this month! As the end of my internship is about a month away, I am sad to leave but know that I can continue to be connected to JFREJ as a member, and I am not saying goodbye to these people for good!

Incredible artwork for our upcoming event- the biggest of the year!

Conducting ethnographic observations remotely

Almost three weeks into my research fellow position at Lemelson-MIT, my perspective on ethnography and qualitative research has shifted enormously. The past few weeks have been a tremendous learning experience and have exceeded my expectations. Before beginning my internship, I expected to jump straight into observations, interviews, and report writing. However, the first two weeks were all training and learning the complex facets that ethnography offers. While I’ve had minimal amounts of experience with ethnography from anthropology courses I’ve taken at Brandeis, I learned ethnographical and observational concepts that I’d never fully comprehended before. I had this realization after those two weeks of training, learning, and homework because we are finally putting that knowledge to use, which I’ve never had the chance to do. Although this position is entirely remote, my concern about the lack of communication has completely vanished. Throughout my days of observations, I look forward to debriefing with my team every day and having enlightening conversations about our different perceptions and observations of the LMIT Biotech in Action Program. This position has been a delightful surprise, as I was unaware of the content and data we’d be learning and eventually seeking out.  

With that said, my experience in this internship simultaneously replicates academic life yet places me in a position to implement my training and findings. For example, the first two weeks of my internship were filled with training, lectures, homework, and discussion posts – fairly similar to my academic life at Brandeis. However, in the past week, I’ve put that knowledge to use, which courses often fail to provide. I’ve been partaking in daily ethnographic observations of LMIT’s invention education program and have noticed my knowledge of ethnography being utilized effectively. What is wonderful about this internship is that although the first two weeks were dedicated to training and learning an unfamiliar subject, I am still learning as I continue to work and observe. I take concepts I’ve learned and apply them to different situations every day and expand my notions of those concepts through observing differing content. 

World of Work has allowed me to translate my academic knowledge and findings to assist in crucial research on education. The feeling of putting findings into fruition is exhilarating and has changed my perception of the rigor involved in learning and academia. It’s difficult to continue pursuing an education with little knowledge of what remains in the future. Programs such as WOW have given me a better understanding of what post-college work might entail and have given my studies a purpose.

The largest skill I’ve gained from my internship thus far is how essential communication in the workplace is. As this job is remote, we’ve encountered many barriers to communication such as cameras turned off, inability to read body language, etc. Especially when you’re conducting ethnographic research and attempting to observe others, it can be quite tricky to do so in a completely virtual setting. However, this internship has taught me that communication is a necessity in the workplace. The reason I am working on observations with eight other fellows is so that we can tackle challenges and barriers together. Understanding the workplace is understanding you’re never alone, and I look forward to carrying that mindset with me throughout my academic and future careers. 


Blog 2

As I contemplate my time at the Right to Immigration Institute, my mind is inundated with a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. Immersing myself in the realm of U.S. immigration and asylum law felt like venturing into uncharted territory, replete with uncertainty. However, this experience has proven to be not only enlightening but also transformative in unexpected ways.

One of the most remarkable realizations has been the stark contrast between the world of academia and the sheltered confines of university life. While at Brandeis, I delved deeply into the intricacies of the U.S. legal system, where justice, equality, and the rule of law served as the bedrock of my education.

Nonetheless, it is here at TRII that I have encountered a distinct facet of this system—the U.S. immigration system. This intentionally convoluted system poses challenges even to the most seasoned legal professionals.

The work we undertake carries immense weight and significance, as any misstep could have catastrophic consequences. The lives and safety of our clients hinge upon the approval of their U.S. asylum applications. Recognizing that our efforts can make all the difference for those in dire need is both humbling and awe-inspiring, underscoring the responsibility we bear as legal advocates who fight for the rights and protection of marginalized individuals.

Fundamentally, this experience has honed my research and analytical abilities, sharpening them to a razor’s edge. Navigating the labyrinthine maze of immigration law necessitates meticulous research, a discerning eye for detail, and the ability to decipher intricate legal precedents and statutes. These skills will undoubtedly serve me well in my future academic pursuits as I delve further into the realms of law and policy, seeking a deeper understanding of justice and societal change.

However, it is the human element that has left an indelible mark on my soul. Directly engaging with clients has refined my communication skills and enlightened me about the power of empathy. To genuinely comprehend the hopes, fears, and dreams of those we assist, active listening and heartfelt communication are paramount. The capacity to distill complex legal concepts into digestible information is vital, enabling us to bridge the divide between the legal realm and the lived experiences of our clients.

This newfound comprehension and empathy have ignited an unwavering commitment within me—dedication to social justice and human rights. Witnessing the systemic obstacles and injustices faced by immigrants and asylum seekers has sparked a passion that extends far beyond the boundaries of this internship. I am eager to channel the knowledge and skills I have acquired into tangible actions, both within the academic sphere and broader society. By actively participating in advocacy and activism, I aspire to contribute to a world that embraces inclusivity and strives for positive change.

In conclusion, my time at the Right to Immigration Institute has surpassed all expectations, unveiling profound insights into the complexities of the U.S. immigration system and the profound impact of our work. This experience has nurtured not only my legal acumen but also my capacity for empathy and understanding. The skills I have cultivated throughout this internship will undoubtedly shape my academic pursuits, future career endeavors, and engagements within social justice initiatives. As I witness my own growth, I am humbled by the opportunity to be a catalyst for change in the lives of those yearning for refuge and protection.

Research that I’m reading  on the arrest and torture of political opponents in Uganda

Post 2: Learning new skills at my internship

Having worked at Massachusetts General for a while, I am more comfortable doing things at my own pace and even using my own techniques. When I first started working, I was always terrified of messing up the reaction or making any mistakes. My impostor syndrome made me believe that I was not smart enough or capable to work in the cardiovascular team. Because I was so stressed about those things, I noticed myself making more mistakes and overthinking several topics. 

Performing a column on my own!

Luckily, now I feel more confident in my abilities and the skills that I have obtained through this internship. Dr. Akam (my mentor) was very kind and guided me through the learning process. Due to this, it has been rewarding seeing her trust me more to do experiments on my own. Overall, I believe that this internship has allowed me to feel more confident in my academic abilities. I had never done research outside of a class setting and usually spent most summers working jobs to get quick money. The WOW fellowship has allowed me to finally spend my summer researching topics that I am extremely passionate about. I also feel confident knowing that I am capable of applying my knowledge to relevant scientific issues. 

The world of work has also allowed me to grow because of how different it is from my college classes. In my classes, we focus on learning topics that have already been heavily researched. School is also more competitive which leads to people worrying more about their grades than actually mastering the material. Research is completely the opposite of that. Your focus is to find more information on new topics. Those topics have direct application to different fields such as medicine and technology. Unlike college, your goal is to master and learn as much as possible to publish a paper. Additionally, your experiment going wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing since invalid results are still results. 


Waiting for the commuter rail back to Brandeis!

This different experience has allowed me to gain many crucial life skills. This experience has taught me that mistakes will happen and that there are usually many ways to fix them (using the wrong solvent can simply be fixed by using the rotary evaporator), and even if these mistakes don’t have a solution, then it is always possible to start from scratch. As someone who gets anxious over the smallest mistake, this has been a valuable lesson. Another skill set that I gained, is being able to communicate in a scientific field. This includes building connections and learning how to ask people what they are researching. This also involves asking for help in ways that will benefit me (ask in a way that I can learn how to correctly do the technique next time on my own).  Lastly, a skill that I have highly valued is being able to navigate using public transportation. I am originally from Houston, Texas where we don’t depend on public transport. Commuting to work has taught me the different ways I can get around without spending much money. In conclusion, I have gained skills and connections that will be extremely beneficial to me once I graduate.

What I have learned at the Clinical Trials Unit

There are many things that surprised me about my position. As an intern with BIDMC, I’ve had the opportunity to shadow other departments I’m interested in learning more about. One such department is the prenatal genetic counseling department, which is located in the Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine in the hospital adjacent to the Center for Life Sciences (where the CTU is located). When I started this internship, I never thought I would learn so much about genetics or be exposed to Genetic Counseling in the way that I am. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a genetic counselor and to shadow an actual appointment.

I’m also surprised by the nature of the lab structure. Both within the CTU and its associated lab (the Barouch lab), there are many areas of specialization. Within the lab, there is a team that focuses on immunology- they analyze the blood samples collected during the clinical trials run by the CTU. The CTU appears to collaborate most closely with the Immunology group. The lab also has groups and teams that work with virology, proteins, TB, and cancer. Meanwhile, within the CTU, different staff members take the lead on different studies. Here, I will outline the current observational studies being led by the department. The biorepositories involve the collection of biological samples such as blood, breastmilk, and nasal swabs to use for future studies. The biorespositories currently being run at the CTU are ones for Covid-19, Mpox (formerly known as Monkeypox), and studying immunity in infants. The latter, known as the Infant Vaccine Biorepository (or IVB for short), is really cool and novel! It studies the passage of immunity from birthing parent to baby. We very rarely see clinical trials with infants, but at no point was it clearer than Covid the need to know vaccine and immunity information about pregnant folks and infants. (It was actually the Covid-19 Biorepository that helped us realize that Covid vaccines didn’t harm, and in fact helped, the health of pregnant patients.) The IVB is conducted entirely over the phone and through mail so people from all across the country spanning demographics who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate are involved. A device is sent through the mail to safely collect a very small amount of infant blood to be analyzed.

I’m grateful to be able to build skills and add to my career toolbox through my position. I’m taking away a deeper understanding of the clinical trial process, and why finding a drug, vaccine, or other advancement in the health sciences takes so long. Being an intern at the CTU has also helped me hone in on my interest in pursuing genetics as a future career. I’m finding myself to be really interested in hearing about genetics during meetings. Additionally, after shadowing genetic counselors and speaking to them about the profession, this is the path I can most see myself doing at the moment. Through this experience, I’m also taking away more knowledge on the dynamic(s) between pharmaceutical companies, labs, and clinical groups. This awareness may help me make more informed decisions in the future, as I’m considering working in genetics research and/or genetic analysis as well.

Gaining new skills as a clinical research assistant

Hello! My name is Vaishnavi Bulusu, and this summer I am working as a clinical research assistant in the Berra Clinical Research Group at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). I cannot believe that I am already more than halfway through my internship at the hospital. 

During the work week, I usually take the 8:30 am commuter rail train from Brandeis to North Station, and finish off my morning commute with a walk from the station to the main campus of the hospital. One of my favorite aspects of my internship is the unpredictable nature of working in critical care research, and every day is filled with different tasks and surprises. For example, a couple weeks ago, my mentor allowed me and the other undergraduate intern to shadow lab members and other physicians as they worked to treat a patient in the surgical intensive care unit. This day was incredibly eye-opening, and reminded me how medicine can be grueling yet rewarding. I was able to watch some procedures, such as a pulmonary artery catheterization, and also see the delivery of inhaled nitric oxide to the patient. To end off the day, my principal investigator (PI), Dr. Lorenzo Berra, graciously took time to teach everyone the anatomy and physiology of acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, which was the condition this patient had. I remember watching all of the healthcare professionals work tirelessly to ensure that this critically ill patient had the best chance of survival. My mentor and I recently visited this patient in the surgical care unit as we were looking for other patients that could be potential candidates for our research study. We were both amazed to see the patient alert and awake, off of all ventilators, and smiling and talking to his family. The patient made an unbelievable recovery, and their story was one of many I have been fortunate enough to observe and witness in the hospital this summer. 

I wear scrubs when visiting patients or medical floors of the hospital. They are free and provided by MGH!

Aside from observing interesting medical cases and shadowing physicians, I have also been continuing with helping my mentor with her research project. The goal of her new study is to assess the changes in blood flow in the lungs of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome after receiving inhaled nitric oxide treatment. I have been learning the ins and outs of proper clinical research, including finding eligible patients through looking at their charts, talking to patients and asking for consent, and learning how to collect data. 

This internship has truly been eye-opening and different from the usual academic rigor I am used to at Brandeis. While I have been able to apply basic scientific principles and knowledge to my understanding of pulmonary physiology, working as a clinical research assistant or any other healthcare professional entails so much more than understanding science and the human body. I have learned the simple yet powerful value of empathy and compassion. It is important to recognize the different circumstances and factors that may be affecting the health of a patient. I have learned to observe medical scenarios and situations without judgment, and to understand the serious limitations of barriers to healthcare for some of these critically ill patients. There are  systemic inequities and barriers that prevent people, specifically those of color, from being able to access proper health care and treatment. I try to keep this fact in the back of my mind, which drives me further to want to fight for equitable healthcare as a physician in the future. Working in the medical field is a reminder that there are many challenging days, but also rewarding ones that make you realize that all of the hard work is worth it in the end. I have been grateful to interact with many hard-working and passionate individuals this summer that have inspired me to stay determined, humble, and above it all, a kind person. I am excited to apply these principles to not only my future career as a physician but also in my everyday life. I hope to keep learning and growing through the end of my internship!


Blog Post 2 – Internship at the SFDA Office’s Victim Services Division

When people think of the District Attorney’s Office, they often think of cruel prosecutors, unfair sentencing, and years of incarceration. I, like many, went into this internship skeptical of our current legal system, and felt unsure about the future of law enforcement and criminal sentencing. However, the San Francisco DA’s Office (SFDA) has given me a lot of hope for the direction government institutions may be headed, though there is still important work left to be done.  When I began working day-to-day with victim advocates, I learned that SFDA, unlike other prosecutorial agencies, has established resources such as the victim services division and collaborative courts- which work to help victims and offenders alike instead of simply sending people to jail unfairly. The Victim Services Division specifically works with crime victims to identify services, housing, and other forms of restitution. Similarly, the collaborative courts system seeks to rehabilitate those who have committed crimes through classes such as anger management and drug rehabilitation, and to decrease the overall rate of recidivism. Though the District Attorney’s Office still has a long way to go when it comes to championing the safety of its community, it most definitely has been taking strides in the right direction, and can serve as a progressive example for other DAs’ offices around the country.

My experience with the World of Work fellowship has most definitely differed from university life, as my workday mainly centers around active participation in the work of victim advocates in the office, and having the chance to directly impact the lives of victims of crime. This hands-on experience can at times be difficult, but is also incredibly rewarding, as I have learned so much in a short time, and can apply what I have learned in a meaningful way. It has also been a fascinating window into what life could be like as a full-time victim advocate and whether one day I would pursue that field further.

This internship has also given me the opportunity to build a variety of different skills. The most unexpected, and perhaps most essential, is the ability to seek out work and ask for help when I need it.  Especially since I work in one of the larger divisions of SFDA – with many levels of supervisors and managers – it has been very important for me to not only be willing to do the work put before me, but go as far as to find additional work within the unit myself. Finding problems to tackle, and then developing a familiarity with those recurring tasks and issues has been one of the most important ways for me to become an asset to the office, and continue to learn and grow. A crucial part of taking on these larger tasks is also knowing when the problem may be too large to face alone. Getting help from my supervisors and my peers has been an invaluable resource and skill that I hope to continue to cultivate, as it has allowed me to both solve even the most difficult problems, while also building trust and companionship between myself and others. I plan to try applying these skills both in my academic life at Brandeis, as well as any later internships, and my eventual career.

2) The Value of Communication in a Start-Up

Throughout the last six weeks, I have both learned and grown as an intern with the Integrity Institute. When I accepted an offer to intern with the Institute, I knew the general focus of the organization, but I did not know precisely which teams I would be working with throughout the summer. Nevertheless, I was eager to accept the opportunity to intern with a start-up think tank, an experience that I knew would likely be different from my previous internships. Not only has this been a new experience for myself, but this is also the first time that the Institute has taken on interns.

I have been working with the Institute for a little over six weeks, and often find myself wearing different hats, taking on projects across various workstreams. While I am someone who generally thrives with structure, I have found that the fluidity of a start-up and diverse workload allow for additional learning and keep me engaged. I would be remiss if I said that interning at a start-up has been completely seamless. At times, it has been difficult to firmly grasp the Institute’s culture and to receive feedback given that the Institute conducts work remotely. With changes happening constantly and only one scheduled all-staff meeting each week, I was initially unsure how to integrate myself into the team and sometimes felt a lack of guidance.

During my first two weeks, I took it upon myself to reach out to each member of the team, familiarizing myself with their respective projects and seeing how I could get involved. In retrospect, I think that taking initiative with my colleagues in combination with attending all working group meetings and member chats has been invaluable to my growth throughout this internship.

Last semester, I took a class with Professor Daniel Breen called Louis Brandeis: Law, Business, and Politics that looked at American life through the lens of Brandeis’ legal philosophy. The class was incredibly thought-provoking and entailed discussions on topics such as privacy, the First Amendment, and antitrust law. Incidentally, towards the end of the semester, I wrote a paper applying Brandeis’ jurisprudence to two modern-day free speech controversies concerning social media platforms’ ability to moderate user speech. In writing the paper, I was able to incorporate a news article that discussed the Integrity Institute and the dissemination of misinformation on social media.

My World of Work internship has differed from my university work in that I am not solely researching and providing a hypothetical analysis, but I am actually getting to have conversations with experts. Similarly, I have been able to conduct research that is being utilized to advise stakeholders regarding the European Union Delegated Act on the Digital Services Act (DSA) as well as background research on algorithmic audits for the DSA. As opposed to receiving a grade, it has been rewarding to contribute to work that will hopefully influence policy change.

A snapshot at the dashboard I created to track my work throughout the internship

Furthermore, my internship contrasts from the typical academic setting, which often entails strict deadlines. Work for the Institute tends to be done in sprints, and there are sometimes deadlines, but generally speaking, there is more flexibility. Ironically, I have become more intentional with how I organize my digital workspace. After getting acquainted with Notion, I devised a tracking system that helps me easily store my work and visualize productivity for my own awareness. I have found such success with this practice that I hope to incorporate a similar process in the fall for my schoolwork.

I look forward to making the most of the remainder of my time at the Integrity Institute and thoroughly appreciate the support that this fellowship has provided.

Post 2 – The Impact Of My Job As A Behavioral Counselor On My Future Career Aspirations

As a Behavioral Counselor at the Child Mind Institute, my first fieldwork experience in psychology has been the most fulfilling one to date. Initially intimidated about making mistakes while working with children with ADHD and autism, I began training on June 28th, where I learned specific techniques and methods for setting children up for success. The Summer Program format is based on the Summer Treatment Program (STP) model, an intensive summer day treatment program for children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related disorders, which has been in existence since 1980 and is now running in about 14 universities and other settings throughout North America and Japan. As a Behavioral Counselor, my job is to implement the treatment!

My team of Behavioral Counselors at the Child Mind Institute

By providing intensive treatment in a natural setting, the STP effectively evaluates and treats children’s difficulties in peer relationships. The program offers 120 hours of treatment in four weeks, which is more than a child with ADHD would receive in two years of typical outpatient treatment. After completing two weeks of training, including team bonding, ADHD education, and learning about standardized and individual treatment plans, I began working with the campers on July 10th. I immediately observed positive behavior modification as a result of the training. The Summer Program uses many forms of positive reinforcement throughout the day to shape behavior. We use the point system, parental rewards for positive daily report cards, and social reinforcement given by staff and parents. Staff members employ ubiquitous social reinforcement in the form of praise and public recognition to provide a positive, supportive atmosphere for the children. I attempt to shape appropriate behavior by issuing effective commands in ways that are known to maximize compliance in children with ADHD. I also lead training in social skills for the children provided in brief sessions at the beginning of each day and reviewed before each recreational activity. Sessions include direct instruction, modeling, role-playing, and practice in the key concepts of communication, participation, cooperation, and social reinforcement. Children’s use of social skills is prompted and reinforced through the point system and individualized programs throughout treatment. The blending together of all of these components focused on improving peer relationships is a key part of enhancing change and generalization to the natural environment. A summer treatment program, such as Child Mind’s Summer Program, is one of the few settings in which all these approaches can be practically integrated into a context that is a close approximation to the child’s natural environment, and I am absolutely honored to be a part of it.

My Counselor Binder & Lanyard For The Summer Program!

The World of Work differs vastly from my academic life. Though my coursework briefly covered psychology topics, working directly with students has allowed me to fully immerse myself in the subject matter. I find it incredibly fulfilling to develop children’s problem-solving abilities, social skills, and social awareness to help them better get along with others. Throughout the day, I use a reward system in which children receive points for appropriate behavior and lose points for inappropriate behavior. While I learned about positive reinforcement and active ignoring in my psychology courses, carrying it out has been even more satisfying. This experience has taught me that I want to establish a career in psychology. It is the discipline I want to pursue in my future career plans and any future involvement. I am building such a rich and fulfilling foundation for my career in psychology, and I could not be more grateful for this fellowship to help me pursue my goals.

WOW Blog Post 2 – Teamwork on the PSD Team

After two months of working with the Private Sector Department (PSD) at Oxfam America, I’ve discovered that the interns on the Private Sector Team (PSD) team play an important role in coordination and speeding up the progress of projects. I initially expected to do a lot of technical tasks that were minimally related to the work the PSD team does, but I have actually gotten a lot of exposure to special projects as well. Everyone on the team works extremely diligently – it’s been a treat to see the different specialty areas members of the team work on. I’ve gotten experience working with many different team members, and am beginning to understand how everyone contributes to the work Oxfam does.

I have found that the “world of work” requires a differing set of skills than academic life – and sometimes presents unique challenges that require different approaches than I’m used to. Although I’ve worked on a team in other organizations, working with a larger established group has presented a different situation to adapt to. Much of the work the PSD team does is time sensitive and high stakes – therefore I have found it to be extremely important to be organized and flexible. In this position I’ve also observed that coordination and communication among the team is essential to working in a more fast paced environment. This means knowing when to designate work to others, communicate your own capacity, and bring up concerns you may have about the projects you’re working on. This sort of self-advocacy is something that I find difficult at times, but as many of members of the PSD team have advised me, it’s absolutely key to the work they do.

This position has also helped me build various other skills that will serve me at Brandeis and beyond. Before this internship I had worked extensively on the climate crisis, but one of my key goals in this position was to become more familiar with other issues I am interested in working on. My exposure to many different projects has given me knowledge of many different social issues and contexts, and provided valuable experience working to address them. My work at Oxfam has also exemplified many strategies one can use to advocate and negotiate in general, but especially to big corporations and the private sector. Different members of the team have different approaches to interacting with the private sector, so I’ve been able to observe how many diverse routes can lead to successful outcomes. Beyond that, this position has helped build my ability to use various technical systems I was previously unfamiliar with and organize information within previously existing structures the team has.

I have a couple weeks remaining in my internship, and I’m realizing that my time at Oxfam has passed much more quickly than I expected! Even in that short time, this internship has given me a solid glimpse into Oxfam America as an organization and provided me important insight on the world of work in general.

Working at a boutique matrimonial law firm pt.2

I am now more than halfway done with my summer internship which feels unbelievable, time has really flown by. It feels like just a couple days ago I was arriving to the office for my first day. In the weeks that I have spent working at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield I have learned an immense amount, not just about family law, but about what it means to be apart of the “World of Work”. As a student I have always been someone who does my best work near a deadline. The pressure of having an assignment due always ensured that I block out all distractions to finish any assignment. In the “World of Work” I no longer have deadlines to motivate me to finish my work. I have learned how to be productive even if it might not be the time that I feel most productive. It is something that I have found super important because there is always work to be done. Instead of waiting for the “perfect moment” of motivation sometimes pushing through an assignment even if I am tired or ready to go home means that I am so much more productive. I have found that once I can get the ball rolling it is so easy to stay on a roll so I definitely intend to apply a similar plan of action when I go back to school.

Another thing that I have learned over the past couple weeks has been the value of making connections in the work place. I came into this job with my only legal experience being watching the show Suits. In that show most of the lawyers at different firms have contentious relationships with each other. Despite knowing that the show is completely fictional, it did influence me to subconsciously come into this job with the notion that lawyers would have limited or negative relationships. In fact the opposite has been true for much of the attorneys I’ve met throughout the process. While some definitely might not be on good terms the vast majority of these attorneys all have real connections with each other. While speaking with a lawyer I asked them about this. How can they go up against each other in fierce court battles and still build important professional relationships. They had the perfect response which was that “trial is very similar to a rough basketball game. Both sides are trying their absolute hardest to win and sometimes that can cause people to get upset.” Once the game is over, most people are able to get along despite the battle that took place between them.

An important skill I have been building has been the ability to wade through tons of research at an effective pace. When I first started at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield and was put to work at legal research I would read every single case word for word from top to bottom. I quickly learned that doing that for every bit of research would take approximately a million years so I have been learning how to best filter my search queries to ensure that only the best material is what I find. Additionally I have been learning how to focus on finding what is important and not getting lost in some tiny details. There is so much information about old cases so learning how to find the relevant details to cases I may be working on has been super valuable.

I look forward to continuing this incredible learning experience and taking as much of it as I can into the future.

Post 2 – Counting the Small Things

Don’t let this picture fool you. On the night it was taken, I learned an important lesson about fieldwork, which is that—in the words of a seasoned researcher—“it’s fieldwork: you take what you can get.” We’d set out to catch krill from 9pm to 2am, but it ended up being too windy and an essential piece of equipment was left behind, so me and the other intern on the boat received a quick demo of how the fishing would be done before heading back to shore. We were back home by midnight, with a promise of rescheduling based on wind conditions.

Throughout my internship, I’ve had a persistent fear of making mistakes. It feels like there is more at stake than in my academic life, since I’m contributing to “real” science, rather than turning in assignments for grades. Thus, although I didn’t learn as much about krill as I’d hoped to that night, seeing firsthand how research doesn’t always go smoothly has relieved some of this fear. 

Aside from my one boating adventure, I’ve been splitting my time between data analysis and laboratory work. Being able to split my time between different types of work has improved my motivation and positive feelings towards my internship. I’m also able to interact with others in the office—for instance, I had a conversation with a NOAA statistician on my floor who helped troubleshoot an issue I encountered. 

Compared to previous jobs, I have a lot of independence at work. My research mentor doesn’t come in every day, so I have the freedom to set my own hours. This also means I’m often by myself in the lab, which I have grown to enjoy. Along with this independence, I’ve also noticed that I have a better sense of work/life balance here than at school. This has really allowed me to enjoy my weekends and time off. People at my office seem to work regular hours and no one expects you to work in your free time (unless you volunteer to go krill fishing on a Tuesday night). 

As I’m learning and progressing through the internship, it’s exciting to pick up new skills that can help me in future classes and jobs. For instance, using RStudio and learning fundamental concepts in statistics will be a valuable skill both in math classes at Brandeis and for future jobs in the environmental field.

Additionally, as niche as it is, I’ve learned that aquatic invertebrate identification can unlock the door to job opportunities. I’ve spent most of my time in the lab identifying and counting these tiny creatures, and although it’s been quite a learning curve, I’ve been able to build a basic foundation. Since benthic invertebrates are commonly used to assess stream health, there are several water monitoring programs that hire people for the task of identification. Even if I don’t plan to dedicate my career to aquatic invertebrates, this could be an interesting avenue to pursue in the future.

Entry into the World of (Re)Entry


Welcome to CEO! 

Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is a national non-profit dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated individuals find lasting employment. Having a stable source of income is crucial to a successful reentry process because a steady job is often requisite for securing housing or becoming eligible for other social services such as substance abuse treatment. Like many other organizations which serve formerly incarcerated populations, CEO is grounded in the premise that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter their crime or current situation.

This window contains a picture of every participant who graduated the program and remained employed! My desk is just on the other side so I can look up and read the names of those who successfully took a huge step forward in their reentry process. Inspiring!

Beginning in the 1990s as a federal program, CEO now has over 20 branches across the country. The San Diego branch, where I currently work as an intern, is the second largest office and serves dozens of clients throughout the year. In order to participate, clients must be referred by a parole or probation officer and successfully complete a 3-day orientation. Clients then begin working three days a week on litter abatement crews and attend weekly vocational training appointments. Becoming “Job Start Ready” (JSR) requires developing digital skills, having an up-to-date resume, and maintaining a professional personal presentation in the office. Once deemed JSR, clients are then placed in job development to actively seek  employment opportunities and go on interviews. Once a participant is hired, CEO keeps in contact with them for a year monitoring the status of their employment. If their job falls through at any point, clients can come back to work for CEO so long as they did not already not exceed a total of  75 days of working on a litter abatement crew.

My Time at CEO!

Jill is my desk-mate and started at CEO last year. As a job-coach, she might have up to 90 clients on her case-load at any given time.

During the past few weeks I have shadowed most of the staff, as well as clients, in order to better understand how CEO provides case-management services and functions as a non-profit. My specific focus has been working on litter abatement crews and collecting  anthropological data on the experience of the site supervisors and clients. I have also been recording the breakdown of time spent in and out of the van which will help determine how to best implement a pilot program for increased engagement between Site Supervisors and clients. 

What is Crew? Here are a few visuals: 

The site supervisor drives the van and oversees the 6-8  participants on their crew for the day. All seven crews leave our downtown office at 6:30 am, and participants are on a different crew every day they come in to work.
Participants grab their supplies from the portable trailer before beginning work on another stretch of highway. The van and attached trailer moves slowly alongside the workers to act as buffer between them and oncoming traffic. One participant walks ahead of the group and keeps an eye on the road, ready to alert everyone to a dangerous situation or driver. 

CEO employs a standard curriculum across all sites, and every role has clearly delineated responsibilities. Fulling their function, however, requires individual empathy and creativity. Even though all the instructions and protocols for helping a client are on paper (in hundreds of company tutorials and instructional videos) bringing these services to life is as personal and unique an endeavor as our clients’ stories.

I have loved getting to know my coworkers at CEO San Diego. Even though I will only be superimposing myself into their work life for a short time, they have been incredibly welcoming and warm. My main hope going forwards is to  provide a useful outside perspective during the implementation of the crew pilot program and gain a better understanding of what other services would be most effective and beneficial to clients. I am only looking forward to the moments ahead!

Out in the field with my picker and bag. Mandatory dress code includes hard hat, safety vest, steel-toed boots, heavy-duty pants, long sleeves, and eye protection. You never know what you’re going to find on the side of the highway!

Post 1- My First Week At Stepping Forward Counseling Center

Hi! My name is Ilana Epstein, and I am a rising junior studying psychology. This summer, I have the opportunity to intern at Stepping Forward Counseling Center summer program. Stepping Forward Counseling Center (SFCC) is a mental health clinic in Chatham, New Jersey that offers individualized therapy plans for children and young adults with mental illness or neurological disorders. The SFCC summer program was designed to provide extra care for kids with mental illness in the summer. Even though I have only worked in camp for a week, I can already tell what a valuable experience this internship is for me. As a support staff member at SFCC, I am gaining exposure to therapeutic methods and seeing how they work on kids in real life— something which most psychology majors do not see until graduate school!

Child Therapy Psychologists Chatham New jersey - Stepping Forward Counseling Center
The entrance of the SFCC Clinic

I am a support staff member for kids with various mental and behavioral struggles in late elementary-early middle school. The camp functions under a behavior modification model, which means that the program is designed to replace the kids’ negative behaviors with ineffective ones. One type of behavior modification technique that SFCC uses is the token economy. In a token economy, a child is rewarded for positive behaviors by immediately receiving “tokens.” These tokens can eventually be traded in for a reward. Instead of being handed literal tokens, the kids at SFCC are given different numbers from 1-7 based on their behaviors. At the end of the day, the children pick reinforcements based on the number of points they earn and how hard they are working on their goals.

After every activity, the point counselors evaluate the campers using point sheets. The kids are told whether they earned a full 7 based on their behavior during the activity. Aside from assigning the camper a number, the counselor also asks the camper questions, in order to check in and assess how they are feeling. The kids are asked to share a positive self-statement, a trigger that makes them upset, and a coping mechanism they can use to respond to the trigger. While the campers are asked the same questions every time, they are encouraged to have a dialogue with the counselors and explain their answers.

The camp activities are infused with other kinds of therapy. My favorite therapy activity so far was a DBT Wheel of Fortune. DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy, is a kind of therapy that focuses on mindfulness and regulating emotions. In the Wheel of Fortune game, my campers learned about “radical acceptance,” a DBT concept that encourages patients to accept reality and stop responding to life with destructive behavior when it does not go the way they wished.

The (start of) my drawing from art therapy, in which the campers learned about applying perspective in art and their lives

While I have learned so much from the therapy techniques and trained professionals at SFCC, my favorite part so far has been getting to know my campers. The campers go to the pool in the mornings and go on field trips on Thursdays. On the bus rides, I talk to different campers and find out their interests. I like to challenge myself and speak to campers who are less outgoing or tend to have more impulsive behaviors. One of my favorite moments this week was when a camper who barely responded to my questions on the first day talked to me the entire bus ride. I learned to speak more quietly and waited patiently, and eventually, the camper opened up.

I look forward to learning more about different therapies and building connections with my campers!


Learning the Inner Workings of Disability Policy in the Commonwealth

Hi! I’m Elena Soranno, and I am a rising junior majoring in HSSP (Health: Science, Society, and Policy). This summer, I have the opportunity to serve as The Arc of Massachusetts’ Public Policy Intern. The Arc is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Intellectual and

Developmental Disabilities (IDD), including autism, as well as their caregivers. We do this through advocacy, inclusive programs, and engaging the community. The Arc of Massachusetts has multiple chapters and affiliates across the state, with its headquarters located on South Street in Waltham, MA. While I spend about half of my time at the office, the other days my colleagues and I meet at the Massachusetts State House in Boston for committee hearings and other legislative affairs. 

Massachusetts State House

Since we are in a crucial time of the 2023-2024 session, I handle various supporting tasks that contribute to achieving The Arc’s Legislative Agenda. One of my core responsibilities is completing research to be presented in joint committee hearings (with state senate and house). The majority of our bills are reviewed under the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, as well as the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing. Additionally, I create fact sheets for proposed legislation to raise awareness about the bill’s details. The goal is to encourage more people to reach out to their state legislatures in support. Research has shown that the more vocal supporters a bill has, the greater its chances of being passed. With over 6,500 bills proposed each legislative session, but only about 600 passing, The Arc actively builds relationships with congresspeople, forms advocacy committees, and garners support from the community to increase the likelihood of our bills progressing. We also advocate for the review of the FY 2024 Budget in the Conference Committee, securing the necessary funding to improve the lives of individuals with IDD and their caregivers.

One particular bill on our agenda that I’m passionate about focuses on workforce development, increasing the relative pay rate for Direct Support Workers through the Department of Developmental Services (H.171 and S.83). This bill has been filed twice already, and a significant part of my role involves collaborating with legislators, staff, and lobbyists to strengthen support for it. I also had the privilege of delivering testimony during the joint committee hearing to voice my support. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that congresspeople are particularly receptive to hearing from young people like myself!

Delivering Oral Testimony to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities.

Through this internship, I’ve had the opportunity to learn an array of valuable skills, including formal writing and communication. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting incredible individuals who share a deep commitment to enhancing the lives of those with IDD. I’m grateful to have developed close relationships with various congresspeople and their staff, fostering connections that I hope to maintain beyond the duration of this internship. I’ve challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone and improve my public speaking and writing skills. Giving oral testimony and crafting policy briefs have been instrumental in helping me achieve these goals. I’m excited to continue to contribute to The Arc of Massachusetts’ mission, meet amazingly passionate people, and see what the future holds.

Finding joy in Creativity (Mina Rowland)

Growing up, I always felt privileged to be immersed in stories that reflected me; a young, Black girl. But I knew that the representation I had found in children’s books like “I like myself”, magazines like Essence, and sitcoms like ‘Sister, Sister’ were not normalized in the media. A quote that is incessant in my mind is “You can’t be what you can’t see” which is attributed to Marian Wright Edelman, a prominent activist, and educator. The quote defines why representation and accuracy are extremely important in realizing dreams. I, myself, have always dreamed of finding work that relates to implementing diversity in media and this summer my dream was realized. I was so excited to be welcomed as a creative intern at Brown Joy

Brown Joy is a Black-owned business that creates positive representations of Black and Brown children through stickers and affirmations. The story behind the business began when Charminta Brown, CEO, took her daughter, Joy, to the pediatrician and Joy received a sticker that looked nothing like her. Inspired by Charminta’s story and courage to create and run her own business, I decided to reach out about an internship. Since early June I have been continuing Brown Joy’s mission through creative direction and ideation. 

Credit: Brown Joy

As a virtual intern, I have a lot more flexibility in the time and creating my own schedule. I work in the mornings and afternoons as I have a class in between. Charminta, my supervisor, sets up weekly check-ins where she assigns projects for me to work on. We both talk about ideas for increasing customer retention and engaging a wider audience through different social media platforms including Instagram and Linkedin. For the past month, I have been working on social media posts such as shouting out non-profit organizations with which we have an established business relationship. It is an amazing way to celebrate and lift up non-profits in the area.

Credit: Brown Joy

I have also started doing research to create pitches to collaborate with other Central Florida organizations using the aid of Google workspace such as documents and spreadsheets to organize my research. Brown Joy recently celebrated its one-year birthday on June 20th which was really exciting. I had the opportunity to create a collage with images of children of all ages who are adorned in Brown Joy stickers. 

Since working at Brown Joy I have learned more about marketing and the importance of consistency in social media for growing a business. I have also learned about intentionality in storytelling. Charminta is so intentional about the characters she has created, their personalities, and how they represent Black and Brown children across America. 

Created by me using Canva

I am enjoying my time so far as an intern and am very excited about everything that is next! One of my goals for this summer is to learn more about creative and graphic design while working on designing more posts for social media as well as researching email pitches. I also plan on creating more art and potentially creating some stickers or new character designs as well. I can’t wait for the rest of this journey!

Till next time,



Interning with Attorney Gbehan Isijola (Sydney Duncan)

Hi everyone! My name is Sydney Duncan and I am a rising junior at Brandeis University. I came into Brandeis with no real direction for my future major or career. At the beginning of my freshman year, I became involved with an organization in Waltham that provides free legal representation for people trying to navigate the U.S. immigration system. This was my first real experience with law, and it inspired me to further explore classes and opportunities in the field. By the end of sophomore year, I had declared a legal studies minor and found an internship opportunity for the summer at the law office of an attorney near my hometown.

In mid-May, I began my internship as a legal assistant at the Law Office of Saikon Gbehan in Providence, RI. Attorney Saikon Gbehan Isijola, who runs the law office, specializes in both immigration and personal injury law. This combination was ideal for me, as I would get the chance both to further my knowledge and experience in a familiar legal field and to gain exposure to a new area of law. I work on a hybrid schedule, so I work in-person in Providence, RI three days a week and remotely twice a week. I value my time in-person because I get to interact with the attorney beyond work-related conversations. I have enjoyed telling her more about myself, my interest in law, and my future plans, and I have gotten to learn more about her and her business in the process. She is a very driven, knowledgeable, hard working, and impressive woman, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with her this summer. 

At first, I was the attorney’s only intern, but another intern began working remotely a few weeks ago. It has been helpful to have someone to work with on important tasks, and I have had the chance to solidify my learning this summer by training and teaching the new intern as she begins her internship. While I will not meet her in person, I have enjoyed working with her and getting to know her over zoom, and I am impressed by her enthusiasm and work ethic.

Because Attorney Gbehan Isijola essentially runs her own practice, I have been able to assist her with a range of legal work, including case research, client and case-related communications via email and phone, preparing necessary case forms and documents, drafting objections and motions to be submitted to the court, sitting in on client meetings, and completing other tasks as needed. I have found this work to be highly rewarding because of the very real impact that it has on our clients and how applicable it will be to a future career in law. I have gotten to see what a typical day is like for an attorney, learned about how a firm stays organized and functions most efficiently, and received valuable feedback on my work. Through the tasks and insights I described above, I feel that I have already begun to accomplish my academic, career, and social goals of applying my knowledge from legal studies classes in a real-world context, gaining experience in the field of law, and developing my communication skills with clients. I am looking forward to the chance to complete more work like this, especially work where I interact directly with clients and prepare documents that get submitted to a court, so that I can gain even stronger communication skills and even more real-world experience. 

My in-person office in Providence, RI. I work on the top floor of my building and share an office space with Attorney Gbehan Isijola. Several other attorneys work in other offices on our floor, and they each specialize in different types of law.
My desk within the law office. I work in the same office space as Attorney Gbehan Isijola. Her desk is located behind mine, at the other end of the room.
Breakfast from Seven Stars Bakery, which is located about one block away from the office. Work begins at 8:00 am, but I will sometimes arrive about half an hour early to grab breakfast before my day begins.

#1 – Pursuing My Elle Woods’ Dreams at Safe Passage Project

When I got up at 7am on June 5th–the first time I woke up early since vacation started–I was met with every feeling, but exhaustion. Despite having gone to bed late the previous night, all I could feel were the jolts of excitement flowing through my body as I anticipated the day ahead of me; the first day of my summer internship at Safe Passage Project (SPP).

Safe Passage (SPP) is a New York-based non-profit organization committed to helping unaccompanied immigrant children and youth navigate the US immigration system by providing them with free legal representation to obtain immigration relief and benefits, be that through asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), or other forms of protection. Not only that, but SPP also offers their clients mentorship and other kinds of non-legal aid (e.g. mental health support) so they are able to adjust to life in America.

This summer, I’m working as a College Intern, on a virtual basis, completing tasks such as translating documents between Spanish and English, providing interpreting services in legal screenings, assisting with the completion of immigration forms and electronic file database, as well as observing Immigration Court and Family Court appearances. 

Although most of what I do is clerical work, immigration law is incredibly bureaucratic, which means that every single task (from forms to affidavits) is important in the grand scheme of things. Not only that, but as someone who aspires to be a lawyer in the future, working on these has shown me the kinds of skills that are necessary to succeed in this field (such as analytical and research skills, attention to detail, writing, etc), and given me an insight into the day-to-day of an immigration attorney, which was one of my main goals for this internship.

In terms of my other goals, I also hope to learn more about the US immigration system and the current developments taking place in immigration law and policy. Particularly, I want to become more acquainted with the other kinds of services, apart from legal support, that have a positive long-lasting impact on immigrants’ lives in the US.

Last but not least, I’m really looking forward to supporting and encouraging immigrant children and youth. In the past, I’ve mostly worked with adults, however, as an immigrant myself, I’ve learned that immigrating to the US as a child or teenager comes with its own set of challenges and particularities (e.g. navigating the public and higher education systems). Overall, I hope to use the knowledge I’ve gained from my and others’ experiences to incentivize younger immigrants to pursue their personal, academic and professional goals, regardless of the difficulties they may face.

Needless to say, I’m super thrilled about this experience, and getting to bring you along on this journey with me!

Bye for now,


Post 1 – NOAA Internship

This summer, I am working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)- a US government agency concerned with research and policy development in weather, climate, and coastal and marine management. NOAA was officially established in 1970, but grew out of many existing agencies and departments. For instance, NOAA fisheries, the department I am working for, has existed since the 1870s.

The research I am doing is based in Seattle, Washington, and is focused on the ecosystems and diets of Pacific Salmon. Pacific salmon are migratory fish which live in the ocean for much of their lives, but spawn in freshwater streams. Since their diets consist largely of aquatic (and some terrestrial) macro-invertebrates, having an abundant and diverse community of these macro-invertebrates is crucial to the survival of these fish, which are threatened by anthropogenic related activities—not to mention the critical ecosystem services stream invertebrates provide. There is also evidence that having abundant food supply can mitigate the adverse effects on Pacific salmon of rising stream temperatures. Thus, understanding what influences the stream macro-invertebrate abundance is an important step in conservation efforts. For instance, testing out different treatments and seeing the corresponding invertebrate abundance, this can ultimately help shape policy to help conserve and restore stream habitats favorable to invertebrate drift.  

My mentor, Peter Kiffney, is a NOAA researcher investigating the processes that influence invertebrate drift in stream ecosystems. So far, I have been helping him by analyzing and visualizing data using RStudio. This includes aggregating data and creating graphs such as histograms and boxplots. 

I worked remotely for the first few weeks of June so that I could spend some time with my family, and then flew out to Seattle last week to work in person. Unfortunately, I encountered a snafu with my security paperwork being delayed, which means I’m still working remotely for now. However, I’m trying to make the most out of the experience by really engaging with the material I’m learning, as well as getting out and exploring a new city. 

Today I went to see the Ballard Locks, which connects Lake Union and the Puget Sound. There’s an indoor viewing gallery where you can see the salmon swimming up the fish ladder!

Next week I’m going to a lab a bit north of Seattle to dissect fish (to get a very direct glimpse of their diets). I’m looking forward to this, as well as starting to do fieldwork and lab work once I can work in person. I have also gotten a bit more confident with my data analysis skills, so I hope to keep improving them.

Overall, I’ve learned so much in a short period of time—whether it be the life cycles of Pacific Salmon, running a linear regression analysis in R, or how to pronounce the word “ephemeroptera” (commonly known as mayflies), and I’m excited to continue learning more.

Non-Profit Development: The Beginning of my Summer at JFREJ

A few weeks ago, I began my summer internship in the Development department at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, or JFREJ. I am working remotely from my house, but the group is based in Brooklyn, NYC. Their goal is to make New York a more equitable and just place for all groups, largely through community organizing and grassroots fundraising. JFREJ’s core values are derived from Jewish values, which are tools used to unravel systems of prejudice and inequality that plague New York City. I am grateful to be working towards a mission that I am deeply passionate about, especially one based in my home state, and at a time when so many rights are under attack. Furthermore, this opportunity is allowing me to explore how my Jewish identity connects to my passion for social justice.

During my first week, I was mainly getting settled in and learning about my new work environment, including the core values and the history. I attended meetings and virtually met the entire JFREJ staff, a small and close-knit group. So far, I have been tasked mostly with making phone calls for various purposes to further the development of the organization. Some of the calls I make are to thank new members and monthly donors, but many of them have been to invite people to join the Host Committee for JFREJ’s annual awards event, The Mazals. This year, the theme is care and connection through the struggle for bodily autonomy. There are three awardees that will be celebrated at the event. The Mazals is JFREJ’s largest fundraising event of the year, and since most of that money comes from Host Committee pledges, my work feels very important to the future of the organization. Although the event is in September, the work has already begun. I have gotten a few people to donate already! Along with making calls for the Host Committee, I am making calls to various groups to purchase advertisements in the program book. Along with the calls I make, I attend multiple meetings each week, including one that joins the Communications and Development teams. These meetings are when I really feel a part of the team, as everyone is so welcoming and open to listening to my ideas. I really enjoy when everyone brainstorms together. When we are not in meetings, the staff keeps in contact through Slack. In the future, I will be doing research on possible major donors,  which is essential for the functioning of JFREJ. 

A shirt we just put on our website for pre-order!

My goals this summer are mostly learning about the behind-the-scenes work at a non-profit. Last summer, I had an internship at a non-profit and the position focused more on programming. I am eager to continue learning about how organizations grow through community organizing and grassroots fundraising and how to encourage people to get involved through phone calls, emails, and social media. I hope to discover what aspect of the non-profit sector I hope to find a career in for the future. I also hope to learn more about social media, working in a team while virtual, and successful fundraising tactics. I am really looking forward to the rest of my time with JFREJ!

Post 1: My internship at QSECC

Hey everyone! I’m Eden and I am a rising senior studying Sociology with a triple minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies (WGS), Social Justice and Social Policy (SJSP), and Journalism. This summer for my internship I am working for the Queer Sex-Ed Community Curriculum, or QSECC. This organization is committed to providing free and accessible resources for sexual education while creating curriculums that are pleasure-centered, trauma-informed, queer-inclusive, and socially conscious. Their goal is to obtain information for this community curriculum from a variety of authors such as sexual education teachers, members of the queer community, trauma counselors, etc. 

Because this internship does not have a specific work site, I work remotely from home most days and zoom regularly with the co-directors of the organization. We review goals for the next month as well as what our availability is to take on new tasks. As an intern, I am provided with the opportunity to voice my wants and needs for this summer. Together, the organization and I decided that, while I work here, I will be in charge of all forms of the organization’s social/digital media presence. This past month this has included creating a newsletter (pictured below) and maintaining regular Instagram posts. This will help grow the audience base of the organization which is vital when it comes to receiving funding and accomplishing the mission of making inclusive sexual education widespread. Furthermore, the social media presence is going to be used to create partnerships with other organizations, creators, political groups, etc that could possibly help us in our mission. 

Part of my job as an intern is to connect with these people through social media and see if we can create something together such as a zine or a campaign. As someone who wishes to work on social media campaigns in the future for non-profit activist organizations, this internship offers the perfect opportunity to learn how this is done and will hopefully provide me with the proper experience working with marginalized communities on relatively stigmatized issues. The co-directors at QSECC who I work closely with are teaching more about combining digital journalism with activism as well as how to create new and engaging content about topics that may already be well known. 

Studying Sociology WGS and, SJSP, social justice is and will always be the core of many of my classes at Brandeis which has provided me with the proper background to excel at this internship. QSECC is taking a hands-on approach to social justice regarding the Queer community that I am excited to be a part of and make a difference for. 

My First Weeks at Avodah

This summer, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to intern at Avodah, a nonprofit that works to provide leaders with the experience they need in order to ignite and inspire social change. I actually learned about Avodah not through my search for a summer internship, but at a Hillel-sponsored Brandeis career fair where I saw them promote their Jewish Service Corps and I was intrigued by their unique program. When I saw that there was a special internship opportunity at Avodah for Brandeis students, I immediately applied because I knew that even if I was still too young to be a part of their service corps, that I wanted to be a part of it behind the scenes. 

The goal of Avodah is to help leaders better service their communities by allowing them to engage with social justice through a Jewish educational lens and they do so through programs such as the Justice Fellowship, the Avodah Institute for Social Change, and the Jewish Service Corps. I chose to intern at Avodah because of my desire to pursue a career in Jewish-oriented social justice work and also because of my interest in their Jewish Service Corps, an immersive service year program for recent college grads to spend a year working at a leading non-profit while living and learning in a pluralistic Jewish community. I find the concept of a Jewish Service Corps to be incredibly valuable and my work at Avodah has shown me just how important it is. By focusing on helping leaders combat domestic poverty and other pressing issues, Avodah is able to address these issues on a larger scale, strengthening a generation of advocates. 

As the recruitment intern, my role has been focused on sourcing candidates, conducting research on programming, and updating their organizational databases. As the summer goes on, I will also be conducting outreach to potential candidates and connectors, centralizing their communications into salesforce, and whatever else I can do to make the recruitment process run smoothly and effectively. My work in recruitment ensures that Avodah will be able to source high caliber participants who will engage in essential service work for the rest of their lives. Avodah strengthens dynamic leaders and my behind the scenes work helps make sure that the programming and resources Avodah provides are benefiting the right people.

While my role is in recruitment, Avodah and my incredible boss, Emily Becker, have encouraged me to go beyond my job description and to engage in all aspects of the nonprofit that I am interested in. I have been given opportunities to meet virtually with staff from across the nation in various departments, allowing me to better understand how a nonprofit functions and the different roles I could one day undertake. Beyond the welcoming community at Avodah, they have also encouraged me to take an active role in improving how recruitment works, specifically by using my Orthodox background to help diversify their pluralistic programming. I’ve really enjoyed this aspect as it has allowed me to use my experiences and personal knowledge to benefit an organization that does indispensable work. 

My first few weeks at Avodah have been great and I look forward to working and learning with them as the summer progresses!

Here I am at a recruitment and communications team meeting. Even though I am working remotely, my coworkers have already made me feel like I am part of their community!

Internship at MGH

My name is Susana Bulnes and I am a rising senior. This summer I got the amazing opportunity to do research at Mass General Hospital under Eman Akam. Dr. Akam focuses on cardiovascular research and more specifically looks at the formation of scar tissue in the heart. They do this by examining biological processes in different animals. Zebrafish, for example, don’t exhibit the formation of scar tissue that humans do after a heart attack. Instead, their bodies are able to heal and regenerate all the functions of the heart. This team also uses mice to find ways to detect scarring of the heart and lungs. The research in my team includes a lot of organic synthesis, chemical biology, and recently also animal work (surgery and dissections). 

My days at my internship usually start with a very long and early commute. I am living in Brandeis this summer and therefore have to do an hour of commuting with my dear friend Vaish (who is also a WOW recipient).  Vaish and I usually take the 7:30 AM commuter rail to North Station and then part our separate ways. From North Station, I head to Charlestown Navy Yard which is where my research lab is located.

Once I arrive to work, Dr. Akam and I get started with our tasks right away. These past three weeks we have been working on several projects. My current role is to assist Dr. Akam with numerous lab skills such as column chromatography, TLC, HNMR, and more. Since reactions usually require a lot of waiting, my mentor will take this time to help me understand anything I’m having trouble with. Dr. Akam is a great mentor who also focuses on helping marginalized communities. She participates in writing articles about extremely relevant topics in STEM such as impostor syndrome and microaggressions. When we are not doing work she ensures that my voice is heard by asking me to write anecdotes for her papers or by simply having a conversation about these topics.  


My First Month at the CORELAB

Hey everyone! My name is Ifigenia and I have been working in the Cardiac Outcomes Research Lab, located at the University of California Los Angeles. My internship has introduced me to the intellectually challenging possibilities in medical research and bioengineering prototyping. With the mission of exploring clinical outcomes to better understand how to maximize care and minimize disparities in access to procedures, the CORELAB is a very self-driven lab with a diversity of options for research. Through data analysis, scientific writing, and digital design, I am actively developing various skills.

I have been participating in literature searches, data retrieval and analysis, and manuscript preparation with the aim to understand how to increase access and outcomes of life saving procedures. One of the labs main focuses is on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a treatment for those in cardiac or respiratory failure. This treatment essentially takes deoxygenated blood from patients and oxygenates it before returning it the patients. It became especially prominent during the pandemic for treating COVID patients with respiratory failure.

My current project is co-authoring a manuscript about the association between inter-hospital transfer and the clinical and financial outcomes of ECMO. Increasing access to this lifesaving technology is critical in mitigating healthcare disparities, and inter-hospital transfer to provide a patient with ECMO, is a starting point for achieving this goal.

I have also been working on a fascinating long-term project on designing an improved ECMO catheter tube. My work on this project has provided really exciting exposure to biomedical engineering. I’ve been learning how to use Onshape to design parts and molds for 3D printing, and testing different materials to create an effective prototype. 

Design for a barb part for the head of the tube

As this is my first formal research experience, my main goal this summer has been to gain a better understanding of bioengineering research and its applications to clinical practice. I have been closely observing and working on ongoing experiments in the CORELAB as well as learning by reviewing previous published work and applying it to my ongoing projects. I hope that through taking on more projects I will gain familiarity with the process and produce tangible results in medical and biomedical engineering research. In doing so, I aim to actively improve my skills in scientific manuscript preparation and revisions in order to understand how to write all parts of a manuscript.

Post 1: Pediatric Epilepsy Internship at Boston Children’s Hospital

Hello Everyone! My name is Nandini Mandaloju and I am a rising senior majoring in Biology and Neuroscience. This summer, I got an incredible opportunity to continue working as a Senior Pediatric Epilepsy Clinical Research Intern at the Loddenkemper Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. I would like to thank the Hiatt Career Center for awarding me the Social Justice WOW Fellowship and the Loddenkemper Lab for supporting me throughout this internship!

Boston Children’s Hospital

One of the primary missions of the Loddenkemper Lab, led by Dr. Tobias Loddenkemper, is to prevent, predict, detect, and treat every seizure and status epilepticus in children before it occurs. The Loddenkemper lab uses machine learning and predictive algorithms to detect early warning signs of seizures through the Empatica Wristband. The Empatica Wristband is a revolutionary tool in medicine as it measures physiological data such as heart rate variability and electrodermal activity. We combine these seizure monitoring tools into our in-patient clinical studies to best develop epilepsy care in pediatric patients.

My day typically starts at 7:45 am, as I take the commuter rail to Longwood. One of my best friends, Hima, happens to take the same train and works nearby so we usually walk together to our labs and stop for coffee on the way! Upon reaching my lab, I usually like to spend a few minutes settling down before my morning huddles and lab meetings. Then, I train the incoming interns on the project that I worked on last summer. This project studies the effects of anti-seizure medications on the autonomic nervous system. I am currently working on another project that focuses on Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), where I analyze EEG reports and label different types of seizures. For these projects, I utilize databases such as PowerChart, and REDCap. Additionally, I learned how to utilize medical terminology, read EEGs, and recognize different types of seizures. I also accompany research fellows of the lab and enroll patients in clinical studies.

This is my workspace in the lab!

One thing I love about my lab is how they encourage their interns to learn more about their goals and broaden their knowledge and perspectives about medicine. I always make an effort to attend the Grand Round Lectures conducted by Harvard Medical School where doctors discuss important topics in medicine such as how to improve the care of children with limited English proficiency. I find it super inspiring to connect with physicians from the hospital and learn more about their perspectives on topics that aren’t often discussed through this lab. I also got an opportunity to shadow my primary investigator, Dr. Loddenkemper in the Outpatient clinic and In-Patient service, and learned how he interacts with pediatric patients with great enthusiasm, intelligence, and care. While at work, I also enjoy spending time exploring the hospital with my fellow interns through activities such as visiting the rooftop garden at Boston

Here is an amazing view from the rooftop garden at BCH!

Children’s Hospital and getting sweet treats such as lemonade and cupcakes. This internship has further solidified my interest to pursue a career in pediatric medicine and I am very excited to continue to build my skill set through this amazing journey!

1) The Integrity Institute: Bridge-Building to Better the Social Internet

Integrity Institute’s logo

This summer, I have the privilege of interning with the Integrity Institute. The Integrity Institute is a startup advocacy think tank that seeks to promote a healthy social internet by holding tech companies accountable and helping the world understand the importance of integrity work. While the Institute believes that the “social internet should help individuals, society, and democracy thrive,” the reality is that most aiming to realize this vision lack the expertise of integrity professionals. Integrity workers are individuals who have a keen awareness of platform operations and tangible experience dealing with areas such as misinformation, child safety, and hate speech.

The Institute is led by a small staff, though it is primarily driven by its community of integrity professionals who all have at least six months of integrity experience at the time of joining. As of this writing, there are upwards of 210 members who comprise the growing community and have experience working for platforms like Meta, TikTok, and Twitter. Members use the community in varying capacities, which include, but are not limited to, networking, providing insight to the Institute, and working on projects (working groups).

As an intern, a lot of my work entails draft writing, communications, and research, though no one day is the exact same. Typically, my week starts off with an all-staff team meeting where we discuss updates regarding matters ranging from fundraising and communications to operations and research. Throughout the week, I have the opportunity to converse with colleagues and fellows, in addition to attending meetings with Institute members. I occasionally provide input during member working groups, but I have undoubtedly gained the most knowledge from these meetings by observing and synthesizing discussions in detailed notes.

More precisely, I have attended member chats regarding tech talent and the taxonomy of artificial intelligence. It has been interesting learning about generative AI and comprehensive transparency requirements that can be implemented to address social media harms, though I have felt most energized participating in the elections integrity working group. Prior to this internship, I had participated in civic engagement work and enjoyed addressing voting related matters. When I learned about the Institute’s robust elections program, I was excited to partake in the meetings.

Currently, the Elections Integrity working group is working to finalize the second part of a guide that can be utilized to impart guidance to tech platforms about election programs. My meetings with this group have been fruitful, covering a wide range of topics such as working with external stakeholders and abusive actor taxonomy. Overall, this working group has opened my eyes to the pivotal role of technology in shaping voting on a global scale. Furthermore, during my internship, I have done research and written about policy updates, and I have taken on several projects, such as auditing the Institute’s membership hub and writing for the Institute blog.

Discussing the auditing membership hub project with the Institute’s Community Organizer, Maddie Aleman

There are a myriad of goals that I have for myself and my learning this summer. Given that the Institute conducts work in a remote environment, I want to learn how to best establish a sense of unity with a team despite the lack of physical interaction. Additionally, I hope to strengthen my interpersonal skills and my ability to work in a fast-paced environment. I am intrigued by the ethical conversations in Big Tech and how they can be interpreted from a legal standpoint. Accordingly, I hope to acquire an understanding of this subject matter throughout my internship. Finally, I anticipate that my internship will afford me the opportunity to learn more about the culture of a non-profit organization.

Thus far, it has been inspiring to collaborate with individuals who are ardently dedicated to the Institute’s mission and continuously advocate for quality and ethics over output metrics. I greatly look forward to the inevitable growth that I will procure during the remainder of my internship this summer!