First and foremost, I would like to emphasize my gratitude towards Verité and the people who I worked alongside this summer, as well as towards the World of Work scholarship from Brandeis, which allowed me to take this opportunity.
I completely met my career and personal learning goals during my internship. My career goal was to discover whether or not researching at an NGO would be something I would like to do as my future career, and my personal goal was to develop good professional workplace etiquette, since this was my first office job. Although I would not trade my experience for the world, I have discovered that I do not necessarily want to pursue a career in which I focus solely on computer research. I realize now that I want to be able to do field research and speak with more people. In terms of my personal goal, my internship allowed me to work on my organizational skills, something I have struggled with throughout my academic career. Especially because I worked on multiple projects at a time, I improved my time management skills.
The goal I defined as my academic goal certainly changed over the course of my internship. My goal previously focused specifically on providing context for my human rights independent disciplinary major. While I will use the information I obtained this summer to help guide the formation of my IIM, I began to focus on learning as much as possible while I had access to such an abundance of valuable resources, rather than on what I would do with that information later on. Besides completing my defined goals, I learned about my own style of research and research methods and was able to expand my approach to research.
If a student were to ask me about my experience at Verité, I would only give praise of my time there. However, if they were to apply for the same internship, I would warn them of the intensity of the research. Although the environment at Verité is cheerful, warm and welcoming, the subject matter is emotionally draining. Verité’s work revolves around researching human labor trafficking, forced child labor, and unsafe working conditions. We research unfair conditions around the world, and the information one finds can often be incredibly sad. However, the staff at Verité all research similar topics—they are always available as a sounding board, and to offer help, whether it is help with work questions or just someone to talk with.
To anyone leaning towards working in the field of human rights, I would strongly encourage that career choice. It is a career path that works for something that is bigger than oneself. Other than it being morally rewarding, one can truly implement changes if they put in the work, whether those changes are small scale or larger, such as policy shifts.
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This summer I am most proud of the pace at which I learned, which was in large part due to the amazing people who surrounded me at work. My main supervisor consistently checked in with me and guided my research, while other project supervisors each paid special attention to the interns assigned to their projects. Because people were always available when I needed help, I felt supported throughout my entire internship. Before I sign off, I encourage you guys to take a look at a report released by Verité in January 2016, “An Exploratory Study on the Role of Corruption in International Labor Migration”
Georgia Nichols ’18