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: Approaching the end of my internship at Citizens for Juvenile Justice

Before beginning my internship with Citizens for Juvenile Justice, I identified three goals. My first goal was to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the framework of restorative justice and other developmentally appropriate alternatives to school discipline policies. Sitting in on interviews of restorative justice practitioners that live and work throughout the U.S. allowed me to better understand the different ways restorative justice can be practiced in school settings. I also now better understand the varied impacts of restorative justice, as a practice that views students as whole people, and when implemented effectively, changes an entire school system, rather than just one student or one classroom. Because these concepts are not new, there are a variety of resources available online that discuss all of this and more that I read up on during the interview period (this is just one that I found helpful). I am grateful for the opportunity to have heard directly from restorative justice practitioners this summer. This is just one other resource that has aided my learning about the harm of school-hardening and school discipline policies.

My second goal was the following: when adapting, designing, and potentially co-facilitating trainings for other organizations and advocacy groups on the ethical use of youth stories, I will aim to uplift and center the lived experiences of impacted young people. As I have discussed in previous blog posts, this goal has been central to my work this summer. As the community engagement intern, my role is to involve young people and communities with lived experiences in our work. In the meetings that I have had with young people, and in the meetings I will continue to have the rest of the summer, I aim for them to be co-generative, where we are not just sharing our research with young people, but we are, more importantly, learning from them, and framing the conversation around the belief that young people with lived experiences have the solutions to social issues. This is also something I will be keeping at the forefront of my mind, when we give our training to advocacy organizations, with young people, later this summer. 

My third goal was a personal one. It said, by the end of the summer, I intend to dive deeply into three books and listen to at least one podcast about issues concerning the juvenile justice system, the child welfare system, the school to prison pipeline, and other such issues. I also intend to read one article per week about these issues as they pertain to Boston and surrounding cities, to learn more about local injustices and successes. I have stayed true to this goal, finding books, podcasts, and articles that are relevant to my work, because of the importance of continuously educating myself.

Has this internship clarified my career interests? It has definitely brought me closer to clarifying them. My initial reaction to that question is that I will keep all the learnings I have gained and apply them to the advocacy work that I do post-graduation. It is essential to keep communities with lived experiences close to the work of one’s advocacy organization and to understand that those who are system-impacted are also closest to the solution. These are two learnings I will bring into my advocacy work moving forward, whether that is in policy, law, community organizing, non-profit management, or serving young people directly. 

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.

Final Thoughts – A Summer at PennEnvironment

At the start of the summer, I hoped my internship at PennEnvironment would help me achieve several goals – both personal and professional. I wanted the opportunity to gain confidence in my public speaking skills and strengthen my writing abilities. I also looked forward to really getting a sense of what it would look like to work at an environmental nonprofit as I pursued a career in environmental studies. Luckily, my internship allowed me to meet all of my original goals and offered me wonderful insight into the world of work in my field of interest. I received several skills trainings and briefings on different environmental topics that provided useful information that I could apply to the hands-on work I was doing with my team of interns and supervisors. 

I enjoyed my internship at PennEnvironment, and it clarified that I would like to see what else is out there in the field of environmental studies since there is no limit to what I can pursue. The work we do is essential to creating long lasting change through passing good environmental policy, and I’ve decided I want to diverge from the field of policymaking and learn about other opportunities in the workplace as I continue to search for exactly what I want out of my future career. 

The summer at PennEnvironment taught me a lot about myself, too. Not only did I learn that I thrive in collaborative environments, but I also learned that I can pick up new skills efficiently. Taking instruction and being detail-oriented was an extremely important part of the job, especially when handling spreadsheets, calling up representatives, or following guidelines to write letters to local newspapers. I learned many other skills that can be applied to advocacy in any field, especially when it comes to citizen outreach through phone banking and what it takes to be an effective grassroots organization overall.

It’s not easy work, and it’s important to recognize that there will always be setbacks, especially on topics that can be politically divisive. While that may be disheartening, I learned that it’s essential to push through those setbacks and work even harder to achieve the intended goals. 

That’s definitely the number one piece of advice I would give to someone pursuing a career in environmental advocacy. It can become easy to lose sight of the target when there is a lot to feel hopeless about. However, the only way to make real, long-lasting change is to maintain momentum while keeping the hope alive – regardless of challenges thrown at you by opposing sides. 

As my time with PennEnvironment comes to a close, it’s safe to say I’m very proud of the work I did with the organization. Small wins – like testifying at a public hearing or getting elected officials to sign a petition – are all a step towards something bigger, and it feels good to know you were an integral part of the process. 

To anyone considering interning with PennEnvironment: do it! There are opportunities available throughout the school year and over the summer and there is no limit to the positive change you can help make – even in the smallest of ways. One piece of advice I have is to be ready to step outside of your comfort zone and really use this time to learn essential skills you can use in environmental advocacy and beyond. 

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! 


End of Internship BIDMC

This summer I was able to meet my defined learning goals. My learning goals developed as I went through the summer, but mostly stayed consistent with what I had set out to achieve. I now have a better understanding of how clinical trials are conducted in terms of IRB approval, patient outreach, scheduling, and the inner workings of research teams. I have a better understanding of patient screening and enrollment of patients based on trial eligibility. I have been able to apply my neuroscience background in my learning of skin conditions such as eczema with concepts such as pain and itch. I have been able to look at a wide variety of diseases and have assessed their impact on study populations. I’ve improved my analytical skills with repeated application of biostatistics and am able to better comprehend studies presented to me. In speaking with many dermatologists, I have been able to see what happens in the field and what it takes to be involved in clinical dermatology.

Working in clinical trials as a research assistant definitely has fueled my interest in medicine. Being exposed to the field and speaking with medical students and physicians has been beneficial in understanding the inner workings of the field. Upon graduation, I plan to apply to medical school and I am currently looking into potential career paths in dermatology and neuroscience. I am extremely interested in how the two relate and the importance of the integration of fields.

This summer I have discovered an improvement in my problem-solving abilities and a heightened sense of independence compared to the beginning of the summer. Notably, I have found that I work well within a team dynamic, which has also helped improve my communication and coordination skills. Furthermore, I have expanded my vocabulary with use of medical terminology, allowing me to have a better understanding of clinical trials.

If I were to give advice to someone interested in an internship at BIDMC, I would say to set a plan for yourself and your work as well as get into a consistent routine. Not only does this help the team with knowing your availability, but it helps yourself stay organized and not get burnt out. I would also say to not be afraid to ask clarification questions. Everyone is willing to help out since you are all a part of the same team and share a common goal. In terms of wanting to work in the field of clinical trials, I would say to be detail oriented, since a lot of research is in the detail and it can mess with the results if you aren’t specific in your calculations or measures. I would also say be prepared to do research across conditions, not just the main condition of the study. You will learn medical terms as you go along.

I am most proud of my engagement in this study and my integral role within the research team. I was able to learn how to be more independent and problem solve. I have also improved my communication skills. I will be writing a paper on what I have done, which is such a cool opportunity. I am so grateful that I was able to work with other physicians to help perpetuate the study forward and to help get the data we needed.

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

Final Thoughts from my time at the Worcester District Attorney’s Office

I was able to meet almost every one of my goals for my internship, and I am very happy for having done so. Only one of my goals changed from what I originally set out to achieve. Rather than be a “dependable team member,” this goal changed to be a reliable intern. I think this goal changed once I got an impression of the roles in the office and where I would fit into it all. All and all, this internship was an incredible experience and will resonate with me into my future legal career. 

This summer, I have learned that I am proactive, able to learn quickly, and I always need to be doing something to feel productive. Another thing I learned about myself is that I do better in an environment where I am not sitting in the same spot all day because occasional physical activity helps my mind to stay active. Additionally, I learned the importance of talking to and meeting everyone in the workplace because you never know how connected someone is or what advice they could give. These are things I anticipate carrying into my future work life. 

Some advice I would give to students interested in interning at the Worcester District Attorney’s Office is to ask questions, do your research, have ideas about what you want to experience and get out of the internship (i.e. placements, responsibilities, etc.), and if something does not work for you, express those concerns to the internship coordinators. For students who are interested in an internship for attorneys who work for the government, students should know that TV does not accurately depict what the field entails. Students need to understand that prior expectations will be challenged in order to learn what the field is truly like. 

What I am most proud of this summer is having taken the initiative to change my placement. I am proud of myself for this because, in my previous placement, I had to drive to Worcester every day, which was a far drive from my home in Connecticut. Because I advocated for myself, I had an easier commute and was still able to work for and learn from an Assistant District Attorney, which I wanted. Another thing I am proud of this summer is further solidifying that I want to be a prosecutor. I am proud of myself for this because I feel even more connected, passionate, and excited about doing this work one day, and it will make my law school applications and path through law school have a much clearer trajectory given this future career goal in mind. 

My internship has helped me to clarify my career interests, specifically what unit I want to work in and what types of cases I want to have when I am a prosecutor. I have known for a while that I wanted to help and advocate for kids when I become a prosecutor, but I never before had a concrete idea of how that would look like. After shadowing the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit, I know that this is a place I want to work in one day. Without this internship, it would have taken me a lot longer to learn that units like this exist, so I am very grateful to have had this internship experience in order to create this goal for my future self.

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.

The grant-writing process and reflecting on my time at WITNESS

My time working at Witness to Mass Incarceration has been eye-opening and transformative. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from such a passionate and hard-working organization, and the entire experience has been deeply meaningful. 

After weeks of learning about the cause and getting an in-depth introduction to both the movement and the organization, we finally were given the responsibility of grant research and grant writing. As a student journalist and liberal arts major, I thought I had experience with writing, but the world of grant writing is an entirely different ballgame. The experience has been equally challenging and rewarding.

Before I could even think about finding new grants to apply for, I spent hours combing through the archives of WITNESS, poring over old grants, studying both successful applications as well as rejections. I also had to spend a large chunk of time doing research to find suitable grants from foundations and organizations whose goals aligned with ours. This meant scouring databases and websites for potential funding opportunities, and ensuring that WITNESS fit the criteria of each foundation. Often, foundations will not just focus on a specific cause or issue, but even specific locations, organization types, or organization sizes. A majority of our time was actually spent finding grants that WITNESS could apply to. 

Grant writing is truly a daunting task: one must balance conciseness with detail, and it is integral to answer the specific questions that each potential funder asks. That means that you can never use the same answer for any two grant applications, even though Evie’s story and the history and mission of WITNESS will always remain the same. To succinctly communicate the organization’s mission, goals, and impact was crucial to capture the attention of potential funders—but this brevity also must not come at the expense of outlining the various projects undertaken by WITNESS, and of course, all of the history that led to the founding of the organization, i.e. not just Evie’s personal history, but the history of incarceration and the way the carceral system is deeply permeated throughout broader American society. And typically, we had to fit all of this information in just a couple of paragraphs. To articulate the urgency of the issue of incarceration I really had to immerse myself in statistics and data. This made me grateful for all of the times Evie cold-called on us during intern meetings, quizzing us on stats and data. Understanding the realities of joblessness and homelessness faced by formerly incarcerated individuals was essential to convince funders of the pressing need for support, and so having all of these facts and figures at the top of my head was really necessary when writing grant proposals.

We typically did the archival research and foundation research on our own, but were paired up for the actual writing process. Since the internship was entirely virtual, this was a great opportunity to get to know my fellow interns and build deeper relationships with them. It was also necessary to work with a teammate, since the writing and editing process of grant applications can be grueling, and difficult for one person to do well on their own. The whole grant-writing team would also meet 3 times a week with Evie to workshop our grant proposals, literally talking through every single word that we chose. It was frankly astonishing to see how much time at a non-profit is spent worrying about funding. I understand that it’s necessary, but I also couldn’t help but think about all the progress WITNESS could have made on all of its projects had they not had to spend hours and hours working on these grant applications. 

My time at WITNESS this summer taught me so much, about incarceration, writing, the way non-profits function, and more. My time has been meaningful, fulfilling, challenging, invigorating, and inspiring. It made me even more passionate about prison justice reform as well as helping formerly incarcerated people work through the challenges they face on a daily basis. I am thankful for all that Evie has taught me, both sociologically and in terms of my research and writing skills. I have been moved by the passion of the organization and am grateful I had the opportunity to work for and learn from them. 

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 3- takeaways from my time with the CTU :)

For my final blog post, I will reflect on my time as an intern with the CVVR Clinical Trials Unit, discussing what I learned, any advice I would give to students interested in the field, and what I’m most proud of.

My learning goals did change from what I originally set out to achieve. Originally, I wanted to learn more about vaccine research and see if that field is one I could see myself pursuing. My goal ended up broadening, turning into learning as much as I can about the professions around me, and see if anything else catches my interest. Below are the learning goals I had at the beginning of my internship (and had outlined in my first blog post) followed by  how those goals were met. 

  • Learning about as many components of the CVVR as possible, including laboratory research, clinical research, and Bioinformatics.
    • By attending the meetings I outlined in my first post, I’ve learned a lot more about the ins and outs of laboratory research, including important terms used in research relating to infectious disease research, how the immune system functions in basic terms, how to present data clearly, and processes that are being used to test certain treatments on mice and/or NHPs (Non-Human Primates).
    • Relating to my goal of learning as much as I can about clinical research/trials, I learned about equitable community engagement in all parts of a trial (but especially during recruitment), efforts taken to keep patient information private, and the process of scheduling and facilitating the appointments with the participants of these trials. Relating to patient rights and safety, I’ve seen how meticulous clinical groups must be with IRB form submissions, and how different stages in a clinical trial require different paperwork. The IRB, or Institutional Review Board, ensures that participants’ safety is front and center, and that they are as informed as possible in the study they are taking part in. I’ve also had the opportunity to help create a pamphlet for medical providers to aid in recruitment of participants for an upcoming Long Covid study. Below is a picture of part of the pamphlet: 
    • I’ve also learned a lot shadowing with the Bioinformatics team. I’ve learned about the steps that need to occur to turn blood samples taken from the lab or clinical area to biological markers that they can use computer systems to analyze.
  • Learning more about genetic counseling, a field I’m considering as a career option.
    • Through shadowing a couple of genetic counselors working with patients, I’ve seen how important it is to pay attention to the patient’s body language, as what seems to be a ‘simple’ family history may trigger some painful memories. I’ve also seen appointments where over the phone interpreters were needed, and how the counselors do their best to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. It was most fascinating to see how the counselors explained different conditions with their modes of inheritances and susceptibility in layman’s terms.

Reflecting on my time as an intern with the Clinical Trials Unit, I do have some advice for future students. For students interested in experiences in the life sciences, there’s a ton of jargon and acronyms in lab and clinical spaces, so it can often feel like you’re lost because you just have no idea what’s going on. That’s totally normal! I needed to be reminded that most of these people have been in the field for so long (studying a niche topic for several years if they are PhDs). Google is your best friend in this case- I found it much easier to follow along  by looking up unknown terms/acronyms. Also, it is really helpful to find articles on processes that I was less familiar with, like CAR T-cell therapy, so I could learn the basics. For anyone interested in interning with the CTU, I would say: don’t hesitate to ask questions,  and let your coworkers know if there’s anything you’re interested in seeing or getting involved with. They are incredibly supportive, and want to help you have the best learning experience you can.

The thing I’m most proud of this summer is being open-minded! For so long, I experienced frustration because I went from feeling like I knew exactly what my career path would look like to changing my mind every few months (which I’m sure a lot of you can relate to!). That’s been tough for someone like me who likes to plan for the future. By opening my mind to learning in several different fields without the pressure of it having to be relevant to future path(s), I feel I was able to learn about several fields, and I never know when this knowledge or experience will come in handy.

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.



The Virtual World of Work at PennEnvironment

Before I started at PennEnvironment, I was weary about spending my summer in a fully remote position. I worried about making connections with my supervisors and fellow interns without the ease of an office environment. I soon realized that while it is helpful to work together in person, there are many ways to build relationships in a virtual setting. At the start of every meeting, we talk about our highlights of the week and something we are looking forward to. Despite being online, my coworkers and I have developed connections and bonded over shared interests. It really helps that the organization’s workplace culture is fairly casual and friendly as a whole. It’s also exciting that we are all planning a meet-up in Philadelphia to celebrate the internship program’s halfway mark! It’ll be a wonderful opportunity to get to know everyone a little better, visit one of the organization’s offices, and learn how to collect petition signatures in person. 

As for my responsibilities as an intern, the World of Work is certainly different from my academic lifestyle at Brandeis. The environmental classes I’ve taken on campus cover important material that is useful for building my knowledge about the world of environmental studies. It’s essential to recognize, however, that education is not enough when it comes to environmental advocacy. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned at Brandeis to real scenarios. When working on a priority campaign, there is always a specific goal to work towards – an essential part of grassroots organizing and advocacy. This allows us to track our progress and find different strategies to meet that goal. This goal-driven mindset makes it so that everything we do leads to something that contributes to the overall mission of passing positive environmental legislation in Pennsylvania. For instance, a goal that we have been working towards is getting 50 local municipal officials to sign on in support of the EPA’s new carbon rules for power plant emissions. After persistently calling and emailing hundreds of officials, we’ve reached our goal! Seeing that type of progress after working on something consistently is definitely very rewarding. 

Communicating with constituents and legislators, testifying at public hearings, and databasing petition signatures have certainly provided me with skills that I will take with me throughout my academic and professional career. Another crucial aspect of my internship is writing letters to the editors of local newspapers on key issues that we want to draw attention to in the media. This is an essential skill to have because the style of writing is very different from the academic writing I’m used to at Brandeis. It’s important to learn how to write about complex issues in a way that makes it easy for any audience to understand. So far, I’ve already had two pieces published in local papers! There are many opportunities to improve my writing skills in this internship, and I’ll even be working on a blogpost for the PennEnvironment website over the next few weeks.

The first half of the internship has been incredible so far, and I’m excited to see what the rest of the summer will bring.

Empowering Generational Wealth Through the MAP Project

During my internship at WITNESS, I’ve had the opportunity to dive deeply into the extraordinary projects they’ve been undertaking. One initiative that particularly struck me as vital and transformative is the MAP Project. This project aims to address a crucial issue faced by formerly incarcerated people: the lack of generational wealth upon their release from prison. Without a financial support system to fall back on, many individuals endure immense hardships and struggle to rebuild their lives.

Having experienced the difficulty of finding employment after her own release from prison, Evie understands the limited opportunities available to many formerly incarcerated individuals. This personal journey is what drove her to establish WITNESS, all on her own, and the MAP Project, allows her to support similar businesses, organizations, and services initiated by formerly incarcerated people. WITNESS recognizes how important it is to support these independent businesses started and led by formerly incarcerated people, of which there are hundreds, if not thousands, across the country. These businesses allow formerly incarcerated individuals to not only provide immediate financial support for essential needs like food, housing, and other necessities but also allow them to contribute to building generational wealth for their families. 

The MAP Project is an online database showcasing FIP-led businesses across the nation. This platform offers an easy-to-navigate map that allows users to search for specific locations or categories, and includes with contact information and links for each business. The site also allows owners to easily submit a form to showcase their businesses and services. The MAP Project empowers consumers to support these ventures and helps these entrepreneurs reach a wider audience. The impact of the MAP Project is immense, with an impressive 775 organizations and businesses currently featured on the platform. These enterprises cover a wide array of fields, from tailoring businesses, beauty and wellness products, cooks, chefs, and fitness trainers, to law firms, crime prevention organizations, and even a coding program for children in public housing, just to name a few.

To further empower these businesses, Evie has taken steps to promote them through in-person events. WITNESS hosts an annual outdoor event that allows these business owners to gather and showcase their products and services, encouraging connections and amplifying their impact.

This summer, my fellow interns and I have been actively working on helping WITNESS expand what the MAP Project is already doing. WITNESS’ aim is to create an e-commerce marketplace, that will not only feature all the businesses and allow people to shop directly through the online marketplace, but will also offer profiles for each service/business owner. This will provide a more personalized and engaging experience for users and encourage greater support for these businesses. By supporting these ventures, we can foster financial independence, enhance livelihoods, and create a more equitable society. Much of our time at the grant-writing team at WITNESS has been doing deep research into the MAP Project and WITNESS’ ultimate goals for its future so that we can help write grants and ensure funding so that WITNESS will be able to create this online, storytelling marketplace. It has been so inspiring to see these hundreds and hundreds of businesses and organizations started and led by formerly incarcerated people and to hear their stories of remarkable resilience, determination, and creativity. 

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


Post #2: Six Weeks Into Interning at Citizens for Juvenile Justice

Hi! My name is Alaina Vermilya (she/her) and I am interning at Citizens for Juvenile Justice in Boston, MA as the Community Engagement Intern. In the past few weeks since my last blog post, I have attended young people-led rallies on youth and racial justice, participated in meetings and workshops for community organizers, sat in on interviews of restorative justice practitioners (see this link for one example of what restorative justice looks like in schools from one of the country’s most comprehensive, youth-led RJ programs), and collaborated in solidarity with other Massachusetts-based non-profits.

Last week, I was tasked with reviewing and compiling data released by a Massachusetts organization that focuses on LGBTQ+ youth who are also DCF (Department of Children and Families) or DYS (Department of Youth Services) involved. The ultimate goal for this task is to uplift their previously published data and voice our support of it, with a particular emphasis on the data around multi system-involved LGBTQ+ youth. My hope is that this compiled document alerts folks of the urgent issues facing LGBTQ+ system-involved youth and how a number state agencies, organizations, and policies are failing them. This week, my supervisor and I met with a group of Boston high schoolers to discuss the school to prison pipeline and restorative justice (see photos below). I also attended a hearing at the State House on education-focused bills that aim to increase the educational rights of students with disabilities (see right).

To protect student privacy at this in-person discussion, I did not take pictures. This is a data point we shared with our group of young people to spark conversation about the racial disproportionality of school-based arrests.
Another photo we shared during our discussion, describing what restorative, holistic alternatives to punitive school hardening policies can look like.








These opportunities have allowed me to not only expand my understanding of the juvenile justice system, the criminal legal system, and youth justice advocacy work, but have also allowed me to grow more confident with transforming my knowledge into ideas in collaboration with other advocates in and around Boston – one of my main goals for this internship. Also, the past few weeks have re-emphasized for me the power of community organizing in advocacy work.

While working on my two main projects of the summer – creating youth roundtables on school safety and creating a presentation for advocates on the equitable use of youth stories – I have continued to work towards my goals of creating a youth-centered, collaborative structure. One of my main aims is for our roundtables to be centered around bi-directional learning: we, as facilitators, will not only give them access to more information and validation, but, more importantly, they will teach us about their lived experiences, insight, and knowledge. I am excited to hold those roundtable discussions and to dive deeper into how we can center youth with lived experiences first and foremost.


A quote by Glenn E. Martin that has guided my work the past few weeks. Source:

This internship has been better than what I imagined: I have improved my oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, time management, self-advocacy, and critical thinking. Additionally, my increased understanding of juvenile justice issues, criminal legal system issues, racial justice, gender justice, and LGBTQ+-justice, as I discussed above, will allow me to continue to do better, more informed advocacy work in these areas, as I intend to do post graduation. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to travel into Boston once or twice a week, whether it’s to go into CfJJ’s office, participate in protests, meet with other advocacy groups, or go into schools. It has allowed me to tap into a whole city of resources and individuals doing powerful advocacy work, on a scale larger than the university level. I have reached the middle-point of my internship feeling sad to be halfway over, but very grateful for all I will be taking away from it. 

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.

Post 2 – Continuing my Journey with HooRWA

I’ve now been working with the Hoosic River Watershed Association for almost two months, and I’ve gained lots of experience. I’ve gained an understanding of many sides of environmental work, from science to community organization. One thing I didn’t expect was how diverse my work would be, touching on so many different aspects of the field, but I’m glad it does. This has been a very engaging experience and it has helped me to understand all the sides of this ever-growing subject.

My internship has differed very much from my academic experience at Brandeis. While my classes have taught me much about environmental monitoring, this internship has shown me how it is actually done in the field. I’ve been able to see the way methodology of testing and quality control differs from group to group, and this will definitely give me some wisdom for future jobs in the field. This experience gives me a greater understanding of what I have learned so far in my classes at Brandeis, and it will help me going forward to know how what I learn can be applied.

Taking a water sample on the river bank.

I’ve been developing a wide range of skills in this internship. One of the main ones is how to safely take samples and guarantee quality control. It’s important to make sure that our samples are not tampered with or contaminated, and my training here has shown me how to ensure that. Although different groups do their sampling with different methods, learning how HooRWA does it will help me to adapt to other methods. I’ve also been developing general skills, such as community organization and working with collaborators, in our Music & Poetry Along the River project. The project has taught me how to organize events and work with many people, and these skills will likely help me in all my future jobs.

I’ve also gotten to utilize and improve upon my skills with geographic information systems, or GIS, that I learned in my classes on it at Brandeis. While not originally planned, I was able to use this when one of our board members requested a map be made of one of the riverside trails our organization maintains. I confronted difficulties while developing this map, but it allowed me to improve at the practice.

Many of the skills I have learned will be useful in future careers, and the diversity of them ensures that they will be helpful no matter where my career takes me. These skills will also help me in my academic life by giving me basic knowledge of some of the topics I will learn about, but most importantly, it helps me to understand how what I learn is applied in the field.

I am very grateful to HooRWA for giving me this opportunity. The knowledge and experience I am getting from this internship will be very helpful in both the rest of my time at Brandeis and my career after that. As of typing this, I have one month left with HooRWA, and I hope that I will grow just as much as I have so far.

A view of the river.

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.

2 – Merger Mania, FTC Frenzy, Consolidation Craze: A Month at the American Economic Liberties Project

Amidst a flurry of activity in the world of antitrust enforcement – including FTC chair Lina Khan’s oversight hearing on July 13 in which Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) told a Republican lawmaker to shut up, Judge Jacqueline Scott’s denying of the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction in the Microsoft-Activision case on July 11, and a Senate hearing on bank mergers on July 12 in which a member of my organization testified – it has been an exciting time to be an intern at the American Economic Liberties Project. 

After a month in this role, I’m happy to say that my sentiments towards my internship have been overwhelmingly positive. I think the idea of an internship sometimes invokes the common trope of the young person in the office making coffee runs, stapling papers, making copies, or doing the otherwise menial work that no one else is keen on doing. However, this has been far from the case for this internship: I’ve been engaging in robust and meaningful work beyond what I myself thought I was capable of, from researching antitrust theory to producing written work on topics like junk fees and startup mergers.

I also find it incredibly rewarding that I get to learn as I’m working, especially since my role centers so heavily around research. I’m exploring topics that I probably wouldn’t have had exposure to in an academic setting – topics like antitrust policy and the tools that our government has to protect our economy from monopolies and corporate consolidation, as well as specific mergers like the Kroger-Albertsons or Microsoft-Activision merger.

Another aspect of this position that I’ve enjoyed thus far and which differs significantly from university life is the degree of flexibility and independence that I’m afforded. While the freedom we enjoy in college is already quite significant, there still exists structure in the sense that class times are set, assignments have clear deadlines, etc. However, in this position, while I have general expectations of when certain projects must be completed, I’m given the liberty to set my own timeline: I decide what I want to work on and when, and it is up to me to communicate that appropriately to my supervisors.

As mentioned in my previous post, my position is fully remote, which also affords me the flexibility of exploring different coffee shops, libraries, and other working spaces in Boston (such as George Howell Coffee Co, pictured here).

As a result of this internship, I’ve been building soft skills like time management and communication, which I see being transferable to a variety of other settings. Communication in particular is vital not just in the workplace, but in academic and extracurricular contexts as well. I’m a firm believer that taking responsibility for your academic success involves communicating with a wide network of professors, advisors, and peers. In addition, with any sort of on- or off-campus involvement that entails varying levels of organization and requires collaboration between teams or outside networks, communication is also vital to ensuring that everyone is on the same page and feeling valued in their role.

Finally, equally worth mentioning are the hard skills I’ve built as a result of this internship, which include improved research skills and a greater understanding of antitrust theory and policy, among others. And just as my academic experiences set me up for success in this internship, I see these skills transferring to enhance my educational pursuits as well. I’m looking forward to making the most out of the final two weeks of my internship.

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.

My Take on Intakes at The Right to Immigration Institute

Working for The Right To Immigration Institute (TRII) has allowed me to be involved in every aspect of immigration legal procedures. Every week I meet with clients where I help build their case, I develop files of research that pertain to the painful conditions and human rights violations of our clients’ countries, I review applications of my colleagues in the time leading to the submission of a file, and manage so much more on a daily basis. Despite the immense fulfillment that every part of my job provides me, there is one section of the client process I find especially sacred: the intake. 

Throughout the day, people call TRII’s office or walk in off the street seeking legal services. Before we commit to taking on a potential client, we conduct an intake interview to understand the full circumstances of the individual. We discuss every section of the person’s life, collect any documents they might have, and conduct a safety check to ensure they are housed in a safe environment and have food to eat. We always keep resources on hand to address any immediate safety concerns. 

After conducting a safety check, we dig into the particulars of each person’s case. Something we are repeatedly told about intake interviews is our job is to get the information, not to fit the person into a box. This is vital to help the client most effectively because while they might be entering the law firm with the assumption that they need to apply for asylum, there might be other paths to help someone remain in the US safely, such as the T-Visa for those who are victims on human trafficking, U-Visa for those who have been a victim to or witnessed a crime in the United States and worked with law enforcement, or Temporary Protected Status, just to name a few. 


Making copies of a passport at TRII.

Two potential outcomes can result from an intake: Firstly, we might decide that we don’t have the resources to take on a particular case because we don’t have the resources needed to help someone effectively. If this is the case, we will refer this person to an organization that can do their type of case. Our priority is always the person in need of help; I admire TRII’s uninterest in having egos about immigration work because it is life and death; if another organization is better or more experienced with particular types of cases, we will work to refer to this person. Inversely, we know the types of cases we can complete with expertise, and if we believe that we have the resources to help an individual seeking our services, we begin working with them to build their case.

Working at TRII is a constant reminder of the necessity to strive to ameliorate a broken society, and there could not be a more worthy use of my time than what I am doing  here.

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.  

Mid-Way Through my Internship at the Law Office of Saikon Gbehan LLC

Looking back on all that I’ve experienced so far, I feel quite proud of myself. This internship has certainly been a challenge, and I feel that I’ve risen to the occasion. I haven’t been to law school or even known that I’ve been interested in the legal field for more than a few months, but I’ve been expected to draft and submit legal documents to court and field client questions and concerns as I help to guide them through a legal process I hardly know anything about. The internship has largely involved trial and error, and I’ve found myself having to learn as I go and figure things out. I’ve felt my listening, questioning, problem solving, and adapting skills grow as I’ve struggled to work in this environment. As my knowledge of law and legal processes has expanded, so have my self confidence, resourcefulness, and initiative. 

Going into this internship, I was expecting to grow, but I didn’t realize just how much of that growth would come from the internship’s structure. In my familiar university life, I find myself learning by listening to lectures, reading textbooks, or engaging in hypothetical discussions with my professors or classmates. Through this internship, however, I’ve been thrown directly into real-world legal situations. I have worked with real clients, faced real legal issues, and discovered that my work has real consequences. I wasn’t expecting myself to be given so much responsibility, and I hadn’t foreseen how being forced to take on such a challenge would cause me to grow so greatly.

View of our conference room, where we hold in-person consultations and client meetings. We usually have one or two meetings every few weeks, and I’ll sometimes sit in on these meetings to take notes.

I’ve also found the world of work to be more timely and demanding than university life. At school, I’ve found myself exhausted from constantly being on the go. I would spend a few hours in class and then immediately shift to a lunch date, club meeting, or other type of obligation. In the world of work, however, I’ve become tired simply from working. Here, instead of devoting my daily energy to a wide variety of activities and events, I devote eight hours straight to work, and this tires me out in a different way. Living in the world of work has made me realize just how demanding this potential career path will be and will allow me to better prepare for working life, but it has also shown me just how useful the skills I am currently honing will become in the future.

Me sitting at my desk at the office. I work at this desk when I come to the office in-person, which usually happens about three days a week.

The field-specific skills that this internship has allowed me to develop, such as drafting court documents like objections and motions, will allow me to become better prepared for a potential legal career. Academically, the listening, note-taking, critical thinking, and problem solving skills that I have developed will take me far. My improved ability to ask questions when I am confused will allow me to clarify confusing class material, and my improved writing skills will help with essay writing and communication. Such listening, questioning, and communication skills will be helpful in my involvement in clubs and organizations on and off campus as well, as I can better advocate for the needs of myself and my organization. These skills will take me far in all facets of life, and I can’t wait to develop them further as I finish this internship.


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.

Post 2 – New skills with BIDMC

Hello blog! So far my position has aligned with what I expected in the sense that I use biostatistics quite often when I perform meta-analyses of different studies. My position is very interesting and I’m learning a lot about medicine and research as a whole. The constant exposure to different studies helps me understand the principles of clinical research, methods of analysis for certain types of diseases and what is expected from diseases in terms of disease outcomes. I am understanding the inner workings of clinical studies as well via IRB protocols, various approvals, and all of the different forms and certifications needed to be included in the study. I really feel immersed as part of the research team by being able to help with calls and forwarding important documents involved with the study.

Although work is different from academic life, I have found that many parts align in terms of applying my knowledge to studies and using critical thinking skills formed in past courses I have participated in. The world of work differs from university life in that I have more leeway in when to show up, when I leave, and what tasks I perform. It is all self-driven and you determine what gets done. However, I haven’t found it to be a problem since everyone in the workplace has a drive to advance the study and understands the weight of their work and how it pushes the team forward. In fact, I find myself staying later than I expect because I’m lost in the work I do and don’t want to stop with what I’m analyzing. Despite working similar hours, you are typically stagnant and breaks aren’t set like when you move from class to class during school. You have to set limits with yourself in order to not burn out from work. Additionally, you get very familiar with your colleagues due to the intimate setting of the workplace. You are with your team everyday and don’t have classes or lectures with numerous individuals.

Throughout this internship, I have built many important skills that I can apply to my future. So far I have been able to communicate within a team and relay information efficiently to physicians. In actively participating in research meetings, I have enhanced my ability to present and interpret study related information as well as convey important information to colleagues. Additionally, I have learned how to schedule patients and properly communicate information to them as well as their providers.

I have gained proficiency in analyzing studies within a clinical context and utilizing biostatistics to interpret their results. Moreover, I have learned to approach questions with thoroughness and engage in effective problem-solving before seeking assistance. I have learned how to be more independent in my work and how to incorporate the knowledge of others when applicable. 

Additionally, I have observed improvement in my communication skills, allowing me to convey information in a more professional and articulate manner. The skills I have acquired during this internship will prove valuable in my future work life as well as in leadership roles, such as my involvement in clubs like Kaos (hip hop dance) at school. In speaking to patients I have developed my ability to provide scientific concepts in a way that is accessible to individuals unfamiliar with the field. Medicine feels like a foreign language, so I have expanded my ability to understand and then translate medicinal knowledge to different audiences including patients and healthcare providers. Additionally, I have learned how to ship and handle dangerous goods and lab equipment important for research. 

I have also learned the financial inner workings of clinical trials and how much sponsors provide for studies to continue and how they can be shut down unexpectedly. I have learned there is a fine balance between continuing and terminating a study with factors such as finances, ethics, and sponsorship. As a result of these experiences, I now better understand research studies and what they mean in the broader context of medicine as well as the specific study itself. 

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. 


Post #2 What Does Platform Integrity Look Like?

Now that I have settled into my position with the Integrity Institute and have become a more or less regular part of their infrastructure, the structure of my position has begun to change. Something I enjoy about this position is the level of trust my intern director and the rest of the staff have put into my hands. My communication with staff has grown less frequent as the weeks have passed, which I have taken as a positive sign. I get the sense that those supervising me trust me to complete the work they give me, and if I have free time to be available and search for more work. Timing-wise, my work day typically starts around nine and ends around five. That being said, the benefits of this internship being remote are that if needed, I can work at night and will be able to hear from the people I am working with, even if they are ” off the clock.”

Most of my work is still based around the Trust in Tech podcast, which for review, interviews members of the Integrity Institute community about their work in specific fields of social platform safety. A recently discussed topic on the podcast was the implications of scams. While scamming may seem like a low-level issue, some institute members shared with me how finding solutions would quickly improve every social platform’s integrity.

I recently followed up this discussion on scamming from the podcast with some writing that I helped institute cofounder and executive director Sahar Massachi with. Sahar was working on a paper that discussed methods of spam fighting. Some of Sahar’s proposed examples were limiting the use of design features that allow content to spread, such as share buttons, and implementing gatekeeping features for those who have shown they’ll behave responsibly.

On top of the writing I did with Sahar, my work has also given me time to do some writing of my own. When deciding what to write, I went for function over fashion and got to work on putting the institute’s about us section into some more digestible wording. I remember showing up on my first day of the internship, wondering what exactly the organization I would be working for did. While it took me some time to familiarize myself with the world of integrity work, I now believe that I have learned enough to describe to people without a computer science degree why the Integrity Institute is so important.

Working is different from academic life in many ways, but the one that affects me the most is that I am remote. Remote work is not easy, but I believe that holding a remote position has enhanced my time management and independent problem-solving skills. These skills I have developed this summer will help improve my ability to balance my time between academics and social events. On top of building work-life skills, this position has created a new interest in computer science. While I was worried that my lack of experience around tech would hurt my performance in my internship, it has alternatively driven me to learn more about the world I work in.




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

Jewish Public Library Archives Blog Post #2

I’ve been having a wonderful time interning at the Jewish Public Library Archives! The time has been flying by, and it’s hard to believe that I only have two weeks left. I’ve continued to work on processing Yiddish fonds and translating Yiddish file labels. I’ve finished processing Moshe Shaffir’s fonds and moved onto Shliome Wiseman’s fonds. He was the principal of Jewish People’s Schools in Montreal for 40 years and was influential in the Jewish day school movement in Montreal and beyond. For each fonds that I process, the last step is to write up and input all the information onto their new online catalog, and the page for Moshe Shaffir fonds is up!

I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know my coworkers in the archives and the library. I’ve had such a positive and warm welcome from my supervisor and colleagues. I have lunch with several of my coworkers every day, and I have really appreciated our conversations about careers in archives/libraries, Montreal, and just general life advice. On campus at Brandeis, it can be really easy to only interact with people your age; our student body is not that generationally diverse. Even in interactions and relationships with faculty or staff on campus, there can be more of a separation between the student and the faculty/staff member as they are our professors, supervisors, or mentors. This summer I’ve had the chance to interact with a lot more people of various ages, at work and socially, and it has been meaningful to get another perspective on life. It also gives me more of a context for the work I’m doing in the archives to hear from people who have lived in Montreal for a while and seen the changes in the city and the Jewish community.


Anyway, back to thoughts on the archive workplace. As I said, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and the culture that they have created. The office environment is very collaborative and welcoming—I feel very comfortable asking for help, and also talking about non-work related things with my coworkers. All this has made my summer internship experience all the better. I have realized how important it is for me to work with like-minded individuals and those whose company I enjoy. It has made me all the more excited to work in libraries/archives. I’ve reflected more on what it is exactly that appeals to me in this type of work. I enjoy research and intellectual pursuit, but I can’t imagine working on a PhD dissertation in one field for at least five years. I like the idea of being close to intellectual pursuits and supporting them, and being able to physically interact with the primary sources and the material, as well as helping others access the information.

I’m looking forward to my last several weeks in the archives and in Montreal, and bringing everything that I’ve learned this summer back to Brandeis.

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.

Post 2: Contributing to Shalom (Task Force)

This is an image of a word web that was created during a volunteer training.

I am going into my seventh week interning with Shalom Task Force and have been enjoying making progress with curriculum and marketing projects! The group of interns and I have completed the boundaries and digital safety workshop and have been working on the conflict resolution workshop. We have also been spending time brainstorming and planning a campaign for domestic violence awareness month in October.

Before starting my internship I expected to participate in brainstorming sessions with employees and fellow interns on how to further the outreach of Shalom Task Force. I initially thought our projects would be related to developing social media marketing campaigns, and learning more about domestic violence which has been true. However, I have discovered that the Shalom Task Force education department dedicates much of its resources to creating and presenting educational materials in schools and secondarily through online platforms. In the process we have spent a considerable amount of time on learning about healthy and unhealthy relationships, domestic abuse, and how to be a supportive community member which has aided us in developing two workshops. STF staff believe in preventative education and actively reaching people through in person programming. In the 2021-22 year Shalom Task Force reached 14,200 people through its educational department, an impressive metric.

The impact of Shalom Task Force is widespread!

Aside from learning about the operations of Shalom Task Force and nonprofit spaces, I am learning about myself. It has been exciting to learn more about my interests, personality, and strengths. I have discovered that I enjoy working in person and collaborating on projects with other people. However, I also need time to recharge and appreciate some independent tasks as well. Moreover, I like that in a nonprofit setting you can work on several projects and there are opportunities to fill a variety of needs. Since Shalom Task Force started with a confidential hotline in 1993, it has expanded to provide legal services to victims of domestic abuse and educational and community programming.

I have been able to experience managing multiple projects at once and find that the variety of tasks during the day is exciting for me. I initially thought that I was unable to work on multiple assignments and instead preferred finishing a task in full before starting a new one, but have surprised myself. I appreciate having the ability to pause working on something like the conflict resolution workshop to work on planning the domestic violence awareness month campaign or to listen in on volunteer training zoom meetings. At the beginning of the internship I recall feeling that the conventional 9-to-5 work day felt unnatural to me and has been something to get used to. It is quite different from college where I am used to a variety in classes and activities and have breaks in my schedule.

I have found the “World of Work” to be very gratifying and I enjoy the structure that comes with having a set work schedule. I value the ability to close my laptop at the end of the day and go back to work the next day feeling refreshed and ready to contribute to projects. This is quite different from my academic life where I have less separation between schoolwork and free time. I hope to adjust my lifestyle in the academic school year so I can have a set time where I close my devices and stop working on schoolwork. I have also learned the importance of creativity. From my work experience I will take with me the importance of finding specific things that I enjoy doing.

I appreciate that I have had the opportunity to learn about the important issue of domestic abuse; and while I am still unsure of what I want to do in the future, I definitely know that I want to directly help people.


One Month at the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office

Over the past month, many elements of my internship have changed. For one, I no longer report to the Worcester County Superior Courthouse. Instead, I work at the East Brookfield District Courthouse, one of many district courts in Worcester County. As a result, my supervisor has changed. My new supervisor is the Supervisory Assistant District Attorney at East Brookfield, and I have enjoyed learning from her. In this new placement, I have gotten to do some very interesting tasks like reading police reports, watching police cam footage, booking videos, and interrogation videos, filling out witness summons requests, calling police departments to ask for more information on cases, copying discovery for the defense, watching bench trials, reading motions from attorneys, and sitting in on attorney negotiations. 

Photo of East Brookfield Courthouse

While I have been very happy with my internship position so far, I wish I could be doing as much as the 3:03 interns (certified student attorneys who have completed two years of law school) or even the ADAs themselves. However, I am not surprised to feel this way because it is difficult to be an intern in an environment where I want to work one day and for people I want to have the same career as in the future. Despite this challenge, I am trying hard to embrace the intern position because it will provide me with an abundance of knowledge that I can carry with me into law school and throughout my career as a prosecutor. All in all, I am excited about this next month and all that there is in store to experience and learn. 

Even though the World of Work and university life are very structured, university life has a much more personalized structure than the World of Work. At university, I could have a lot to do in one day, but everything can be spaced out between time for relaxing and spending time with friends. However, in the World of Work, everything gets done in a densely packed eight to nine hours. University life does not require much stamina to get through everything that needs to get done in a day, but in the World of Work, it does. As a college student, I do not think about this difference in structure very often, but throughout my internship, I have a lot. For instance, I changed my night routine to ensure I get enough sleep for the day ahead. While this change was difficult to adjust to at first, I anticipate it having a positive influence on me the closer I get to entering the World of Work for myself. 

Three skills I am building from my internship are patience, prioritizing my mental and physical health, and advocating for my needs. These skills will be transferable to my future career because they will help me to be more appreciative when I am in law school and I am a prosecutor, help me to develop a routine that allows me to take care of myself and complete my responsibilities, and help me to have a career that meets my needs.

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.