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

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

My team of Behavioral Counselors at the Child Mind Institute

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

My Counselor Binder & Lanyard For The Summer Program!

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

WOW Blog Post 2 – Teamwork on the PSD Team

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

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

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

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

Working at a boutique matrimonial law firm pt.2

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

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

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

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

Post 2 – Counting the Small Things

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entry into the World of (Re)Entry


Welcome to CEO! 

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

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

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

My Time at CEO!

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

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

What is Crew? Here are a few visuals: 

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

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

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

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

Post 1- My First Week At Stepping Forward Counseling Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Post 1: The Connections I am Making Between Classes from Last Semester and my Internship

This week I was able to sit in on mental health court, which happens every Wednesday in the Roxbury District courts in Suffolk county. Mental Health court is a new edition to the court system in Suffolk county, which consists of cases being referred to the program BRIDGES. This program helps individuals who suffer from mental health problems, addiction and much more. The program allows for individuals other opportunities to heal themselves and stay out of prison. Each person gets a chance to meet with the DA’s on-call psychologists, in order to be evaluated. The evaluation is then heard by the judge and the prosecution. This court also hears the progress of cases that have been heard in the past. Through watching these hearings I was able to see the immense amount of progress many of these individuals had made, specifically many Black women that had been struggling with drug addiction.

During these hearings I turned to one of the prosecutors that I have been studying under, and proceeded to ask her, while these individuals are waiting for their court date, are they allowed extra assistance while in holding. Many of these individuals are going through withdrawal or many of the other various mental health issues. Although the prosecutor said they are provided with assistance. It made me wonder, the strain this holding takes on their mental health, being locked in a box.

This experience reminded me of a video I watched titled “The Box: Minds Lost in Solitary Confinement” (documentary) directed by James Burns during the Mass Incarceration course I took last semester. When this New Yorker video was shown in class, I struggled to comprehend how our government could subject human beings to such inhumane conditions. The video demonstrated that individuals who were mentally stable could develop mental health problems as a result of being held in solitary confinement, commonly referred to as the “hole.”

Taking Mass Incarceration completely changed my outlook on the court system, and has made it impossible for me to not move throughout my internship with ignorance. Although I will not be able to fix the system at this point, it’s important that I continue to question aspects of my environment, specifically because I am working for the DA’s office.

This summer, my goal is to expand my understanding of the legal field and gain insights into the operations of Suffolk County as a whole. Additionally, I aim to establish valuable connections with individuals in my office, fostering strong networking relationships for the future. On a daily basis, I assist the prosecutors during busy court sessions, prepare for upcoming court proceedings, and complete necessary paperwork based on the specific tasks at hand. Each day presents unique experiences in this internship, affording me the opportunity to sit alongside numerous DA prosecutors, clerks, judges, and criminal defense attorneys.


I am excited to see what the rest of this summer has in store for me!

Learning the Inner Workings of Disability Policy in the Commonwealth

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

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

Massachusetts State House

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

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

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

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

Finding joy in Creativity (Mina Rowland)

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

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

Credit: Brown Joy

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

Credit: Brown Joy

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

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

Created by me using Canva

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

Till next time,



Interning with Attorney Gbehan Isijola (Sydney Duncan)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye for now,


Post 1 – NOAA Internship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post 1: My internship at QSECC

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

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

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

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

My First Weeks at Avodah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Internship at MGH

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

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

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


Post 1 – My Summer Goals with the Child Mind Institute

Hey! My name is Leah Goldstein, a rising junior studying Psychology, Film, Television, and Interactive Media (FTIM) and Health, Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP). This summer I have the wonderful opportunity to work as a Counselor at the Child Mind Institute. The Child Mind Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the treatment of children and young people with mental health and learning disabilities.

The Child Mind Institute provides support to communities experiencing violence or facing natural disasters. They offer free, multilingual trauma resources to help parents, teachers, and other adults talk with children about potentially traumatic events. They reduce disparities by providing evidence-based care to thousands of children each year in their clinical centers and schools nationwide. They prioritize public awareness campaigns, tools, and educators to reduce stigma in underserved communities.

My proposed duties and responsibilities involve working as a counselor in the Summer Program, a four-week summer care program for children ages 5-10 who have ADHD or need help with behavioral, learning, and social issues. I work with children with disruptive behavior, encouraging them to adopt positive and prosocial behavior when interacting with other children and adults. I learn to use positive behavior management strategies, help implement individually tailored behavior plans, and promote and supervise recreational activities/games and exercise skills. I also volunteer extra hours before the program starts. I plan to strengthen my knowledge of clinical psychology and mental health counseling. I can achieve this goal by helping to implement individually tailored behavior plans and managing behavior data as directed by key personnel. As I train for these topics and assignments, I can build a stronger foundation in psychology, especially when working with children. This experience gives me practical insight into creating daily treatments and I learn positive behavior management strategies. Through this opportunity, I plan to hone in on what I want to do professionally after I graduate from Brandeis.

Thus far, I have gone into the non-profit to help them with volunteer work and preparing for the Summer Program. With the Summer Program starting July 10th, and training for counselors starting June 28th, I have inquired about going into the program earlier to assist in any tasks I can. With the team agreeing to my offer, I have been organizing binders, creating slideshows for the children in the program, and prepping orientation and training materials. I additionally met Dr. Guterman, who is the director of the Summer Program and Psychology at the Child Mind Institute. My internship so far has allowed me to understand the environment I will be working in and be less intimidated on the first day of the program. I expect adjusting to my role will be initially challenging, as this is my first experience being trained to learn empirically supported behavior management techniques and working with children with disruptive behavior concerns. However, I am dedicated to studying and learning about these procedures and am open to learning from my experience throughout the process. With this opportunity, I am grateful to start my career in psychology and explore my interests!

The Right to Immigration, Protection from Persecution, and Asylum

Despite the small and humble-looking entrance, The Right to Immigration Institute, or TRII, is a non-profit law firm that aids immigrants in navigating an unwelcoming system. While the organization is ready to help where it can in every section of the immigration process, the bulk of the work TRII undertakes is assembling asylum applications.

An asylum is a form of protection in the United States for those who are in danger in their home country and fear for their lives should they return. An asylum seeker must make their case to the government on why they have a well-founded fear of persecution (as defined under US refugee law and international human rights law). Establishing this “well-founded fear” is very difficult, especially without those trained on how to do so. Many law firms charge thousands of dollars for these services, which is inaccessible, especially for most people fleeing for their lives. This is why we especially put effort into making our services available to those who don’t have the income to afford an attorney, as TRII does not charge any person who walks through our doors. 

Once TRII agrees to take a client on, our staff works with our clients over the course of about four to six months to assemble an application for asylum. This requires frequent meetingswith the clients to capture their story. It is often a challenging experience for the client to relive traumatic parts of their lives in detail, which demands we do everything in our power to lead with kindness and patience.

A good asylum application includes the necessary form and supporting identification documents and numerous other components to prove the validity of the asylum seeker’s claim. These items include a testimony of the asylum seeker’s experiences called an affidavit, documents that lend validity to their affidavit, letters of support from those who are familiar with the asylum seeker’s story, and extensive research on the country conditions that have fostered the asylum claim.

Once all the necessary components are assembled, TRII submits the asylum application to our clients. We navigate the intricate bureaucracy of the immigration system, ensuring that the application is complete and meets all the requirements set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The importance of a well-prepared application can be the difference between life and death, meaning TRII takes this work very seriously.

While I work on a variety of immigration cases that aren’t related to asylum, I also am involved in every aspect of the asylum application process. I help schedule intakes with potential new clients seeking asylum, I work with clients directly and frequently to build their cases, I research countries, and I have helped review applications ready for submission to ensure there are no errors. 

The above only scratches the surface of both my experience and the work accomplished by this organization. There isn’t a more directly impactful way to spend my time than the work I am doing at the Right to Immigration Institute. 

Post 1: Starting my Internship at Shalom Task Force

My name is Esther Bistricer and this summer I am interning at Shalom Task Force, a nonprofit organization that supports survivors of domestic abuse and aims to build safe families and communities. Their work primarily focuses on providing culturally sensitive programming and services to the Jewish community through a confidential hotline and chatline, free legal services, and preventative education workshops.

My work day starts at around 9:15 when I check in to the WeWork office building in midtown Manhattan. On the 8th floor, there is a nice shared space to sit on one of several couches, at a long table or booth, and take advantage of the free coffee offered to employees made by a barista. This is the point of my day when I ask myself why I don’t drink coffee and make my way up to the 14th floor where I meet with the other four college interns in a glass-enclosed office space and wait for our internship coordinator and Shalom Task Force Director of Communications and Program Operations, Jeffrey Younger, to welcome us and go over the agenda for the day.

Ready for the first day of my internship!
Experiencing the morning rush on the New York City subway on the way to the office

Every day looks slightly different but generally consists of meeting with a member of the staff to discuss ideas and ways to develop education workshops in schools and summer camps, how to properly conduct outreach in communities so more people are aware of the services the organization provides, or marketing for the upcoming ping pong fundraiser. Another interesting meeting we participated in recently was hosted by the United Jewish Appeal, a philanthropic organization that funds hundreds of nonprofit organizations such as Shalom Task Force. The UJA gathered a group of social services agencies to connect and engage in a presentation led by a psychologist about family functioning in the Orthodox Jewish community. I found this particularly interesting because, before this meeting, I hadn’t had any exposure to empirical research on this topic. In the research conducted by Dr. Steven Pirutinsky, it was found that Orthodox families display high degrees of enmeshment or emotional closeness and rigidity in lifestyle and relationship dynamics. While this may not be “average” as compared to results in other studies, I took away from this presentation the importance of understanding cultural differences and the idea of cultural competency. This can apply to learning about and understanding different cultures and using that to assess what is accepted behavior and what can be considered unhealthy based on cultural context.

Along with meetings that I have the opportunity to sit in on and participate in, I am working with the other college interns to develop educational materials. Currently, Shalom Task Force gives presentations to 12th grade Jewish day school students on the “fundamentals” of domestic abuse which includes information about what a healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationship can look like, types of abuse, and “red flags”, or unhealthy behaviors in others or yourself. Moreover, Shalom Task Force speaks to 9th grade students about boundaries and digital safety in their “Virtual Reality” workshop. One of the projects the group of college interns and I have been working on is creating a workshop to add to the curriculum about communication and conflict resolution with interactive activities, relatable clips from the media, and actionable steps we can take to be a supportive friend and community member. We are also thinking about marketing for their upcoming fundraiser, doing independent work where we research media about domestic abuse, healthy and unhealthy relationships, or conflict resolution, as well as compiling a list of synagogues and other community spaces into a directory.

Slide from the “Fundamentals” workshop listing forms of abuse
Working on the directory of synagogues

So far in my experience I’m learning a lot and enjoying getting exposure to what work in a nonprofit organization looks like, where there are a variety of tasks and meetings to participate in and everyone’s contributions make an impact and move the programming in a slightly different direction. I am looking forward to seeing the progress I will continue to make alongside the other interns with the workshops, the directory of synagogues and communal spaces, as well as the projects that will come up along the way, and learning and personal growth that will occur over the next few weeks.

My First Month at the CORELAB

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

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

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

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

Design for a barb part for the head of the tube

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

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

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

Boston Children’s Hospital

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

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

This is my workspace in the lab!

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

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

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

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

Integrity Institute’s logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post 1: MGH internship

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

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

Commute to work with Vaishnavi
My lab bench!

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

Prepping for surgery

My internship so far has allowed me to learn a variety of new skills and information while finding a great mentor and connection to look up to. Overall my goal for the summer is to continue building on this mentorship and continue expanding my knowledge. The research I am doing at this lab directly has an effect on the medical field. Due to this, I want to be as helpful as possible and make an impact on my team. 

Blog Post 1 – Internship at the SFDA Office’s Victim Services Division


This summer, I am lucky enough to be working at the San Francisco District Attorneys’ Office in the Victim Services Unit, as an in-person undergraduate intern. The mission of the SFDA’s Office as a whole, as stated on their website, is “to promote public safety”, while simultaneously balancing the creation of “responsible reform”, to work towards “promoting justice and safety for all”. The mission statement of my particular division of Victim Services states that they strive to “make the criminal justice system humane and accessible” by “providing support and assistance to victims and their families in the aftermath of a crime, during criminal prosecution, and after a verdict has been reached.”

As an intern at the SFDA, my projects primarily consist of assisting with the research and outreach work of victim advocates, and I am also privileged to be able to shadow their everyday tasks and court appearances. My work provides the victim advocates with up-to-date information on the status of recent court dates related to the victims of crime the advocates are working with through the use of SFDA resources such as eProsecutor and Laserfiche. By getting to follow a case from its initial police report, the work of assigning a recent victim of crime to a victim/witness advocate, that advocate’s initial outreach, and eventually shadowing them as they bring their victim into court — often to testify against their attacker — I am able to learn so much about the work of Victim Services, while also helping to make their work a little easier, and through my efforts, I can hopefully make a difference in the lives of some of these victims of crime.

One of my initial goals for learning this summer is to better understand the inner working of the modern legal system and its implications in the real world. Though I have received a thorough overview of the legal world in my “Introduction to Law” course at Brandeis, having the ability to engage with these concepts outside of the classroom in a more hands-on environment would help to broaden my horizons, and better understand the current systems in place in our society, and what improvements still may need to be made. Another goal for learning I have in mind is to make connections with lawyers and advocates in the San Francisco DA’s office and learn more about the available careers in this field, and whether they would be a good fit for me. By being able to do work both in a more administrative setting and also occasionally watching court proceedings, I can get a feel for the different aspects of the DA’s office. Finally, my last goal for learning this summer is to gain a deeper understanding of my own community, and how the legal system could potentially be used to help and support those around me. Being born and raised in San Francisco, I really hope to be able to give back to the people of the city and greater county and learn as much as I can along the way.

Post 1 – My Summer Goals with the MCWL

This summer, I am privileged to be interning for the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators (MCWL)! The MCWL’s office is located within the State House on Beacon Street, overlooking the Boston Common. On a sunny day, the beautiful golden dome can be seen from several blocks away. 

The MCWL was established in 1975 with a mission to “enhance the economic status and equality of women and to encourage and support women in all levels of government.” Its current membership is comprised of 62 legislators. Through an inclusive and extensive process, the women’s caucus determined its three main strategic priorities. These three topics will guide the decisions and policies endorsed and acted on by the group’s membership during the 2023-2024 legislative session. 

Massachusetts State House

The first priority is “elevating women’s economic opportunity and eliminating barriers” to such. In doing so, the caucus works to dismantle barriers to women’s economic security such as pay inequities and childcare access, and supports policies that expand employment opportunities for women. The second strategic priority is “addressing racial and gender disparities in health care.” Women of color, in particular, face compounding inequalities when it comes to accessing affordable health care, mental health care, and other preventative health services. Health equity must be achieved through policies that take an intersectional lens. The caucus seeks to address current disparities through advocating for more equitable health care access. The third and final strategic priority is “empowering women in government.” With only 62 women serving in the Massachusetts State House, women currently hold just 31% of the Legislature’s 200 seats. According to the MCWL, a total of 20,000 men have served in the Legislature, but only 213 women have been elected to serve. The caucus provides strong support to women elected in the State House.

State House library

Thus far, I have worked on a variety of tasks. While the work we as interns do is tailored towards our specific areas of interest, I have enjoyed experiencing many different aspects of the organization’s work. Recently, I have drafted testimony in support of An Act to increase access to disposable menstrual products, which would require all primary and secondary schools, homeless shelters, prisons and jails to provide free menstrual products, and An Act relative to postpartum depression screening, requiring MassHealth to cover postpartum depression screenings for parents for up to one year after giving birth. This testimony was utilized by our Executive Director during a public health hearing in order to pass key pieces of the caucus’ priority legislation during this session. Additionally, the MCWL organized a menstrual product drive that amassed 400 products. My fellow intern and I donated these to Rosie’s Place, an overnight shelter for women seeking assistance in South Boston. I have also written policy briefs and several memos on topics including disparities in health care, the 60th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, and women’s incarceration.

During my first few weeks at the State House, I have met and interacted with several legislators, staff, lobbyists, and organizers. In the coming weeks, I will be speaking with a few women legislators on their experiences within state government as well as any mentoring advice they have to offer for someone interested in getting involved in public policy work. During the latter half of my internship, one of my primary goals is to learn more about the legislative process through the lens of political, economic, social and representational equality for women. Moreover, while supporting the MCWL’s 62-member caucus, I would like to improve in gaining confidence in public speaking and oral communication. This goal also goes in tandem with my plan to strengthen my networking and oral communication skills. I feel that the MCWL offers an incredible opportunity to reach out to and meet several inspiring legislators and staff in the capitol and I am excited to continue exploring various facets of state government this summer!

Post 1 – My Summer Goals with BIDMC

Hello everyone! My name is Ladriel Roach and I am a rising senior at Brandeis studying neuroscience and studio art. This summer I am interning at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a research and teaching hospital associated with Harvard Medical School. BIDMC is known for their clinical research throughout medical fields. I am a research student intern at the Clinical Laboratory for Epidemiology and Applied Research in Skin (CLEARS), which is a clinical research lab for dermatology. I am participating in clinical trials of atopic dermatitis (eczema).

In order to be involved in clinical research I had to be trained and Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certified, listed with the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and sign conflict of interest statements to protect patient confidentiality. CITI training entailed studying the Belmont Report, which outlines ethical guidelines for research involving human subjects, as well as familiarizing myself with the IRB, HIPAA regulations, and fundamental policies governing human research. By successfully completing approximately 35 assessments, I obtained CITI certification in Good Clinical Practice, HIPAA compliance, and Basic Human Subjects Protection. When it comes to clinical trials, it is important to know that everything goes through the IRB and there are important rules put in place to protect both the participants and the hospital when performing human subjects research.

Some of my general responsibilities include assessing data from previous studies using biostatistics, analyzing general trends of clinical trials, performing a database study focused on BIDMC prescribers to learn more about the process of prescribing treatment for itch, and designing a survey instrument for itch assessment. Additionally, I will be performing the activities of a study coordinator by screening and enrolling participants for ongoing dermatology clinical trials and will be involved in patient recruitment, scheduling, assessing trial eligibility, manuscript writing, and preparing for publication. I attend research team meetings weekly and it is a great opportunity to be immersed in a new environment, surrounded by medical students, residents, fellows, and attendings. The background work I am doing by collecting data from previous studies allows the team to assess the general trends for the research we will then be conducting.

I am very interested in both clinical practice and clinical research, as I plan on applying to medical school in the near future. This summer my learning goals involve understanding how clinical trials are conducted from start to finish from getting IRB approval, patient outreach, screening and enrollment of participants based on eligibility, reporting adverse events, and deepening my understanding of the safety and efficacy of treatments. I am interested in applying my neuroscience background on the symptoms of certain skin conditions and I hope to learn various skin diseases and their pathology. Studying eczema, I can see how certain diseases impact the nervous system and expand my understanding of the sensory system. Additionally, I am hoping to learn how to apply some of the lesser usedmethods I have used in biostatistics to analyze data from studies and improve my data analysis skills. I am also interested in learning about the field of dermatology in general: what it takes to be involved, what everyday work consists of, the responsibilities and duties of dermatologists, and how they interact with participants in clinical trials. Lastly, I want to learn how to coordinate with others in the medical field to gain exposure to different areas of medicine in order to further develop what medical interests I may have for the future.

The Right to immigration institute

Hello! I am Phoenix, a rising sophomore studying economics, international and global studies, and legal studies at Brandeis. This summer I will be working at the Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) in Waltham Massachusetts. 

Founded by Brandeis professor, Douglas Smith, TRII is a non profit organization dedicated to providing free legal services to asylum seekers and other migrants in the greater Boston area. Migrants and asylum seekers, being the most vulnerable communities in the United States, often lack the resources to hire legal representation nor possess the means to navigate the convoluted U.S immigration system on their own. TRII seeks to address this unequal access in legal representation by providing free legal services to migrants and asylum seekers. Moreover, TRII also trains people to become Department of Justice accredited representatives giving them the ability to represent migrants in immigration court, significantly expanding their capacity to assist those in need. By training more representatives, TRII not only multiplies its impact but also helps build a network of skilled professionals dedicated to advocating for the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. 

Currently, I am engaged in handling multiple asylum and green card cases at TRII. My responsibilities encompass a range of tasks, but a significant portion of my time is dedicated to meeting with clients and conducting comprehensive case research for asylum cases. These client meetings can be classified into three main categories: intake meetings, asylum meetings, and green card meetings.

During intake meetings, I have the opportunity to meet potential clients for the first time. It is in these meetings that I gather crucial information about their circumstances and present their cases to TRII. These initial encounters allow me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the clients’ situations, laying the groundwork for further assistance. Asylum meetings, on the other hand, are focused on guiding and supporting clients in building their asylum cases. A considerable amount of time is dedicated to formulating their affidavits and thoroughly preparing them for their asylum interviews. This involves extensive collaboration with the clients, ensuring that their stories are accurately and compellingly presented to strengthen their asylum claims. Additionally, I assist clients in green card meetings, where we work together to prepare the necessary paperwork for their U.S. green card applications. In these meetings, attention to detail is paramount, as we carefully navigate the intricate process of documentation and ensure all requirements are met.

Throughout my work at TRII, my role encompasses the vital aspects of client engagement, research, and case preparation. By actively participating in these meetings, I am able to contribute to the pursuit of justice and the facilitation of clients’ legal processes.

WOW Blog Post 1 – Starting My Summer at Oxfam America

This summer I am interning with Oxfam America in the Private Sector Department, focusing on how corporations contribute to inequality and how we can work with them to alter their internal and external structures both constructively and critically. Oxfam is an international organization that works on inequality, poverty, and injustice, specifically focused on furthering economic justice, gender equality, and climate action. The Private Sector Department works through the private sector on these issues. I’ve been interning remotely in this department for about a month. My position consists of tracking the Private Sector team’s progress, accomplishments, and media hits in their respective projects and compiling this information for quarterly reviews and newsletters. My position also has the opportunity to assist on various specialized projects such as working with and promoting gender disaggregated data and tools in agriculture supply chains, working on a campaign to protect workers rights as e-commerce advances in big corporations, researching how to measure how corporations contribute to inequalities through their practices, and many more.

One particular project I’ve been particularly active on has focused on advocating for gender equality in the food sector, mostly in supply chains. I’ve been able to follow the planning process and attend an investor workshop on gender in the food sector (Investor Workshop – Gender in the Food Sector). It was extremely informative to research how gender is such a central issue in food supply chains, and observe conversations concerning the different routes to improve this disparity. In just a month of working with this team I have already been exposed to many different issue areas and projects that have extended my knowledge of the private sector and of Oxfam.

My greatest goal for the summer is to learn from this team how to engage with the private sector effectively for change. This way of working on these issues is a new perspective for me. I’ve spent a lot of time in organizing spaces concerning climate justice, where it is often essential to be combative and confrontational to corporate power and responsibility. Large corporations have contributed unimaginable amounts to the climate crisis, poverty, gender and racial inequality, and many other humanitarian crises. Given their position in these issues, it’s incredibly easy to blame them for their behavior and dismiss their role in the solution. And this route holds much truth – it is essential to hold them accountable! However, the reality is that these powerful corporations are not vanishing any time soon, and we must seek ways to hold them accountable effectively given that reality. I am grateful to be witnessing the difficult work that is taking place to do this. It is incredibly challenging to actually do the work of guiding these corporations towards more equitable business practices whilst holding them accountable. Oxfam navigates a difficult path between the relationships they must uphold to do this and the goals they are ultimatley seeking to achieve. It’s truly a joy to observe and assist such impressive projects being done by people so knowledgeable and experienced. Given my experience so far – I can’t wait to see what lessons the rest of my time at Oxfam holds!

My first week as an Anthropology research fellow at Lemelson-MIT

When applying for jobs and internships this spring, I was unsure of what I wanted out of my summer. All I knew was that I wanted to work a job that was fulfilling and helped shape my future. As a double major in Sociology and Anthropology at Brandeis, I’ve become well acquainted with the Sociology department, faculty, and overall nature of the field. However, I’d only recently decided on my Anthropology major just a few months prior to starting my job search. I realized I wanted to utilize this summer to delve deeper into different fields and areas that Anthropology has to offer. 

This desire to broaden my studies led me to my current role as an Anthropology research fellow at the Lemelson-MIT Program. This newly found program is a six-week program that allows students to learn and gain experience in ethnographic and qualitative research. Their mission is to bring invention education to low-income communities and minority groups. I have been selected, along with six MIT students, and two other non-MIT students for this program.

Only a week into my fellowship, I’ve expanded my knowledge and preconceived notions about ethnographic research and its purpose. My current role in this program is to learn. This past week was solely devoted to gaining exposure to some of the foundational documents of ethnography to get a sense of the work we’re going to embark on. This included learning about observations, taking field notes, and hearing from various guest speakers about their experiences with ethnographic and qualitative work.

Our overall goal in this program is to understand the significance of ethnography to invention education and innovation. In the weeks to come, we will be learning to create archives and literature reviews, conducting our own observations and ethnographic interviews, analyzing records, and turning it all into a written report at the end of our six weeks. Although our work is done entirely remotely, we have been able to form bonds and relationships with one another just in the first week. Many question whether ethnographic and qualitative fieldwork can be done remotely, so we hope to accomplish our goals as if we were all in-person.

My personal goal throughout the rest of my time within the program is to enhance my knowledge of ethnography and the strategies involved to identify and understand large systemic issues. While I’ve come into this internship with a brief understanding of ethnography and its primary facets, I hope to learn by actively participating in interviews and participant observations. Being surrounded by distinguished anthropologists, ethnographers, and researchers will allow me to uncover the complexities of fieldwork and prepare me for future job and research opportunities. 

Empowering Women Through Translation

Hey everyone! I’m excited to share my internship journey with you as I delve into the inspiring work of Women On Top. As a recipient of the Women’s Rights and Education Fellowship, I feel honored to contribute to an organization dedicated to empowering women and breaking down barriers.

My role at Women On Top revolves around translation, where I aim to bridge the gap between languages and expand the organization’s reach. By converting their valuable resources and materials from Greek to English, we ensure that the empowerment of women can resonate with a wider audience.

Feminism, to me, is not just a buzzword but a movement that advocates for equality, challenges societal norms, and uplifts the voices of marginalized women. Through my work as a translator, I have the opportunity to amplify these voices and empower women across cultural boundaries. It is a profound experience to witness the impact of sharing stories, educational content, and resources that enable women to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams.

Supporting organizations like Women On Top is crucial because gender equality is far from being fully realized. We must actively address the systemic barriers that limit opportunities for women and provide them with the support and resources they deserve. By expanding the reach of Women On Top, we can raise awareness about the importance of women’s empowerment and encourage individuals and communities to join this movement.

Every translation I undertake is a small step toward dismantling the language barrier that often hinders women’s progress. It is a testament to the power of communication, understanding, and collaboration. Through these translations, we foster a sense of solidarity among women worldwide, creating a network of support that transcends borders and unites us in our pursuit of equality.

As an intern at Women On Top, I am inspired by the resilience, strength, and determination of women. Together, we can break down barriers, challenge societal norms, and create a future where every woman has the opportunity to thrive.

Stay tuned for more updates on my internship journey with Women On Top. Until then, I will continue to empower women and work towards a more inclusive and equitable world.

post 1- introduced to the cvvr

My summer internship is at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research (CVVR) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Their mission is to advance research, education, and outreach “focuse[d] on the development of vaccines against infectious, oncologic, degenerative, and other diseases” ( I primarily work with the CTU, or clinical trials unit, of the CVVR which focuses on the human side of vaccine research. Their important work includes outreach, obtaining IRB approval, and starting observational trials and/or working with sponsors such as pharmaceutical companies on interventional studies. They also help run participant visits for each trial and help transport samples to the labs within the CVVR.

In terms of current projects and tasks, I’ve completed several trainings because of the importance of ethically working with human participants in a healthcare setting, particularly because many of the demographics in the studies being conducted at the CTU involve vulnerable groups. Nevertheless, I’ve been fortunate enough to sit in on meetings and shadow the RAs (Research Assistants). Some of the meetings I attend are:

  • Monthly Student Meetings: Meeting with the undergrad and graduate students as well as Dr. Dan Barouch, the physician and immunologist who runs the Barouch Lab. During this check in meeting, each student goes over what we’re working on, and Dr. Barouch advises us.
  • Weekly CTU Meetings: Discuss updates on community engagement projects as well as ways to spread the word about recruitment for future clinical trials. Go through updates on ongoing trials, including the Covid-19 Biorepository, Infant Vaccine Biorepository, Yellow Fever trial, HIV interventional studies, and MPox study.
  • Weekly Post-doc Meetings: See presentations on ongoing research being conducted by post-docs in and out of the Barouch Lab. So far, I’ve learned about projects regarding HIV vaccine research, beginning a new MPox study from a public health lens, and updates on potential cancer vaccine research.
  • Barouch Lab Meetings: Collaborative meeting where several departments within the Barouch lab provide updates. These departments include, but are not limited to, the Protein, Immunology, and Clinical groups.
  • CVVR Weekly Seminar: Weekly zoom meetings where a professional either within or outside of the CVVR gives a presentation on their current projects. These presenters can be from many fields. The ones I’ve attended so far have been about advances in HIV vaccine research and imaging techniques used to find treatment for melanoma.
Part of the team at the BIDMC Pride Flag raising, which happened the first week I started there: 🙂

I have several learning goals as well as things I’m looking forward to as I continue my internship. They include:

  • Learning about as many components of the CVVR as possible, including laboratory research, clinical research, and Bioinformatics.
  • Learning more about genetic counseling, a field I’m considering as a career option.
  • I will have the opportunity to see an assay in the lab next week, as well as shadow the Bioinformatics team.
  • Continue to make connections with my coworkers (they are such a genuine and fun team!).

Post 1 – Starting my Internship at the New England Aquarium

My name is Declan Tsuyuki, and this summer I am interning at the New England Aquarium in Boston. I am part of the Conservation Learning department, which means I help manage the visitor educational activities happening in the aquarium. The New England Aquarium’s mission is to be a catalyst for global change, with public engagement and education being a focus in reaching this mission. This emphasizes the importance of the Conservation Learning department and my role as a part of this team. I took on this internship role as I find the mission of the aquarium to line up with my views to engage with the community and help guide people toward being advocates for ocean protection and sustainability. My main goals for this internship are to gain a more detailed insight into ocean conservation, improve my public speaking and interpretation skills, and network with people who also value ocean conservation and environmental sustainability. 

On a normal day, I wake up around 7:30 am to get ready, dress up, and take the commuter rail and the subway to travel from Brandeis to the aquarium. Once I arrive, I am given the daily schedule which shows the assignments for everyone on the team. While my assignments will be different depending on the day, I will have certain tasks every day that I must complete. One of these assignments is called “Roving with a Biofact” where I take a Biofact and go out into the exhibits and engage with visitors. For example, I can take out a Spiny Lobster Molt from the Biofact cabinet and then bring it out to start a conversation with a guest. I then talk about what Spiny Lobsters are as well as how climate change and human activities are negatively affecting Spiny Lobsters. Another task I am assigned is gallery interpreting. I go to a specific gallery and interact with guests to give them information about a particular exhibit, connect this exhibit to climate change, and then provide community-level solutions to mitigate these issues. I continuously do both every day I work, and it has allowed me to work towards my goal of improving my public speaking skills and my goal to help people realize the importance of environmental protection. Both “Roving with a Biofact” and gallery interpreting are opportunities for guests to become advocates for environmental protection. There is a figure in our office that describes the “continuum of ocean protectors.” This figure shows how guests can go from curious individuals to advocates for ocean protection by the end of their visit. Our mission as educators is to guide these guests up this continuum. 

The Continuum of Ocean Protectors figure that hangs up in our office.
Our Caribbean Spiny Lobster in the Blue Hole exhibit.

When I am not interacting with guests, I get training on the different exhibits at the aquarium. I learn about the main facts about each exhibit, identify what species are in a particular exhibit, and learn about potential conservation messages that relate to the exhibit. I then get tested on my knowledge and then get tested on my interpretation of the exhibit with real visitors. It can get a little nerve-wracking when I am being tested, but it has helped me build confidence in approaching guests and interpreting with guests. In addition to the training and assessments, I am given “self-guided learning” time to learn more about a particular exhibit or research more about our animals. 

After all of my tasks are done for the day, I check out and leave the aquarium at 6 pm to catch the train back to Brandeis. As I keep gaining experience in my internship, I find that there is a lot that goes into educating people about climate change. It can be exhausting to help people understand climate change, but hearing people feel more informed and eager to protect the environment makes it worth it. Overall, I am enjoying my summer with the New England Aquarium, and I am looking forward to the coming weeks as a Conservation Learning Intern!

It’s always nice to say hi to the African Penguins after a long day in the aquarium!

An Outstanding Commitment to Ethics and the Community: the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office and my Internship

The Rockingham County Attorney’s Office (RCAO) is the prosecutor’s office for Rockingham County, New Hampshire, the second most populous county in the state. As an aspiring lawyer, the opportunity to intern for a renowned prosecutors office like RCAO instantly enticed me. This was especially true given the lack of legal internships for undergraduates, and my aim to gain a more nuanced understanding of the criminal law system (most of my classes and previous experience related to civil law). I have also lived in Rockingham County my whole life, and I am a proud resident. I felt that interning for RCAO was an obvious way to use my talents to help make my community a better place.

A social injustice RCAO seeks to remedy is the unequal application of criminal laws. Some prosecutor’s offices, even in the state of New Hampshire, preference the wealthy and powerful. Yet, RCAO’s renowned commitment to ethical standards has led to an even-handed approach to criminal prosecution. In a county with extreme wealth inequity, RCAO ensures that the wealthy and working-class are treated equally before the law. Another social injustice RCAO works to solve is the carceral system’s inability to rehabilitate some non-violent offenders. Studies show that prison, in fact, worsens mental health outcomes for non-violent offenders with pre-existing conditions (like substance addiction). This can be explained by the outsized role law enforcement partake, with no medical or mental health training, in the rehabilitation process while the defendant is incarcerated. RCAO resolves this dilemma through its Prevention and Intervention Programs. Patricia Conway, the County Attorney, recently created these innovative programs that grant special trials and resources to some non-violent offenders. Chief among these programs is the Drug Court due to the quantity of non-violent drug offenders in Rockingham County caused by the Opioid Epidemic. Treatment professionals play a much greater role in the prison experience for these offenders, and they ensure the centrality of rehabilitation in the carceral system.

I am having a conversation with my supervisor, Senior Prosecutor Rodger “Rusty” Chadwick, Jr. .

The projects I am responsible for are evidentiary summarizations. Most of my assignments have been discovery and witness summaries. I create a chart that analyzes each page of a case’s discovery, including the main points on the page and every individual mentioned. I also write jail call summaries; the court possesses the power to preventatively detain a defendant if they are deemed a threat to themselves or the community. The defendant can seek an evidentiary bail hearing that releases them from preventative detention, but a release relies on good behavior while detained. The terms of good behavior, which are specified in the court order for detention itself, specifies that a defendant may not be able to speak with certain people, or about certain matters, while in prison. I listen to a defendant’s phone calls to ensure their compliance with the terms of their bail. I recently completed an inter-case analysis, where I created a report about multiple related cases and analyzed them for my supervisors. My supervisors deemed my research to be so vital that I will be part of a meeting with local law enforcement about these cases. My work furthers my organization’s social justice aim because I can advocate a defendant’s case for a Prevention and Intervention Program, if I determine they are a reasonable candidate. I have already worked with multiple defendants who make potential candidates for the Drug Court. The course of the prosecution is obviously the prerogative of my supervisors, but they value my input and always look for the correct opportunity to utilize the Prevention and Intervention Programs.

Post 1 – My Work with the Hoosic River Watershed Association

For a month now, I’ve been working with the Hoosic River Watershed Association, an organization that advocates for and tests the water quality of my local river. My main job has been taking water samples from spots throughout the river to test for E.coli, an indicator of other potentially dangerous bacteria. My coworkers and I were trained by a representative of the Housatonic Valley Association, another local environmental organization that we work with. Collaborating with a local college’s lab, we test our samples and record the data throughout the season. The sampling has been a wonderful experience, and I’ve gotten to know the other HooRWA employees as well as our collaborators from other organizations.

Taking a water sample from the river.

We have nine sampling stations along the Hoosic River and its tributaries. Getting to our locations can be difficult at times, as there is often some forest surrounding them, and the rivers can be difficult to walk through, especially after rain, but we manage to get it done. We also do a field duplicate and blank each session, a duplicate being when two samples are taken simultaneously, and a blank being a sample of just distilled water to ensure the E.coli testing technology is working as intended.

I’ve only just begun recording and analyzing the data, but I’m enjoying it so far. It’s very interesting to see the way E.coli levels change along the river and theorize as to what the causes for this may be.

I’ve also been heavily involved with our Music & Poetry Along the River project, where we’re collaborating with local musicians and poets to do performances throughout the Hoosic watershed. Our goal is to get locals invested in the health of the watershed, as well as encouraging them to enjoy it and see it as an important part of our community. I’m in charge of correspondence with the artists, and have been coordinating times and places for the events, as well as filming and editing them. It’s been great being able to meet artists from my community and beyond. We’re still waiting to see how this project affects locals’ relationship to the river, but I can tell it has given our partnering artists a greater connection to it.

One of my favorite parts of this internship has been how much of the watershed I’ve been able to explore. Just the water sampling process has introduced me to so many beautiful parts of the natural world around my home. My favorite place so far has been the Cheshire Reservoir, where the south branch of the Hoosic begins!

View of the Cheshire Reservoir.

One thing I really want to gain from this internship is learning what working in an environmental monitoring field is like. So far, this internship has been helping me with that, and it’s been wonderful to get this firsthand experience. It’s really helped me to find out what kind of work I enjoy and want to go into in my future. It’s also wonderful to do this work so close to where I live, as I really want to help out my local community. I hope that I’ll be able to do similar work to this after I graduate!

#1 – Understanding the horrors of incarceration

The first few weeks of WITNESS to Mass Incarceration’s internship program have been dedicated to diving deeply into understanding the details of incarcerated life. The director of the organization, Evie Litwok, designed a rigorous curriculum, where each day focuses on a different realm of life in prison. Though some topics may seem to be easier, perhaps, to digest—traveling while in prison, for example—each lesson has been, truly, horrific and difficult to hear. Not a single day of lessons has felt easy to get through. But this is the point. There are so many atrocities happening behind prison walls on a daily basis that most people are simply unaware of. Evie has dedicated her life to exposing the horrible realities of life in prison, and, taking it a step further, attempting to change this reality. Evie clarified that we will be continuing to learn more about life in prison throughout the whole summer, but that before we can actually begin working on prison justice, we must have a sense of the atrocities that incarcerated people are forced to endure. 

Each lesson either consists of a film or article that we watch or read together, or a live interview between Evie and a co-worker or friend. The amount of knowledge that I gained from these lessons has been exponential. We have learned about medical care, mental health care, prison air travel, solitary confinement, parole, voter disenfranchisement, the three-strikes law, and the experience of leaving prison, to list just a few of the topics we have thus far discussed. 

Evie also shared her story with us . She worked for 30 years in the non-profit world and on Wall Street, but was sent to prison at 60 years old for two years. During her time in prison, she wrote publicly about the lack of adequate medical care in the prison system, which then led to her being put into solitary confinement for seven weeks, an experience that severely traumatized her, and to this day continues to make her life difficult. Evie has written extensively about the trauma she has endured due to being placed into solitary confinement and the sheer inhumanity and torture of it. When Evie was released from prison, she had just $30 and a one-way Greyhound ticket. Though she had an extensive, decades-long resume and a Master’s degree, she did not receive a phone call from any of the 200 jobs that she applied to. No one wanted to hire someone who was in prison. She stayed homeless and penniless for 16 months, until a friend helped her find housing in a low-income building for seniors and provided her with money for a year until she found a stable job. After witnessing the generosity and kindness of her friend, she committed herself to helping those who experienced the same difficulties leaving prison that she has.

The topics we have learned and discussed thus far have been some of the hardest information I’ve ever had to digest. I have already heard countless stories of immense pain and suffering. There are no words for me to adequately express my horror at the sheer inhumanity those in prison are forced to endure. It has, however, been inspiring to juxtapose the inhumanity and cruelty of life in prison with the compassion and humanity that those working toward prison justice have. There is so much pain and suffering happening on a daily basis, but there are, at the same time, so many individuals and organizations who are working tirelessly to stop this suffering. Each story of pain and suffering has further reminded me of the necessity to raise awareness and continue to fight for prison justice.

Starting My Summer Internship at MGH

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 am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work at this hospital, and am honored to be surrounded by hardworking and inspiring professionals in this research lab. 

The main entrance of MGH

The Berra Clinical Research Group, led by Principal Investigator, Dr. Lorenzo Berra, is part of the Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research at MGH. The research group focuses on utilizing nitric oxide gas as a therapeutic for critically ill patients with cardio-pulmonary issues. Specifically, the group uses large animals for testing, such as pigs, but also conducts clinical research in patients. This summer, I will be assisting my mentor, Dr. Roberta Ribeiro De Santis Santiago, with the clinical research aspect of the research group. Together, we will be working on a new clinical study researching the changes in blood flow in the lungs of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome after receiving inhaled nitric oxide treatment. Additionally, we will investigate the efficacy of a novel imaging software called electrical impedance tomography, and explore how it can be used as a tool at the bedside of critically ill patients. Overall, the group’s research on nitric oxide is highly innovative, and has led to the improvement of the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of critically ill patients nationally.

While it has only been two weeks since my internship started, I have already gained invaluable skills and experience. In regards to clinical research skills, I have been learning to use the platform REDcap, which is a database used for maintaining surveys and other data collection methods. I have also been able to access Epic, which is another database allowing employees and healthcare providers to access patients charts and data. Aside from learning how to use these platforms, I have also been able to shadow my mentor when she visits patients in the Intensive Care Unit, and watch how she uses electrical impedance tomography to measure lung circulation and function. In the upcoming weeks, I hope to keep learning about how to conduct clinical research, and also improve my patient interaction skills when I begin to screen patients for the research study. 


My favorite part of the day is commuting with my good friend and roommate Susana! She also works as a research assistant at MGH.
Exploring Boston with Susana after work!

This internship has strongly affirmed my desire to go to medical school and become a physician in the future. One of my main goals this summer is to not only learn the ins and outs of clinical research and expose myself to working in a hospital setting, but to also learn how to work on a team with different people. Everyone I have interacted with has been so hospitable and welcoming, and I feel that I am already a part of a community. Learning how to collaborate and communicate with different people is an essential part of any career, and I am looking forward to strengthening my public speaking abilities and leadership skills. I am so excited for new experiences and cannot wait to keep learning! Here’s to an enriching and fulfilling summer internship at MGH!


Post #1: First Three Weeks at Citizens for Juvenile Justice

This summer, I have the privilege of interning with the Boston-based Citizens for Juvenile Justice: an independent, state-wide nonprofit whose mission is to improve the juvenile justice system and other youth-serving systems in Massachusetts – the only of its kind throughout the entire state. CfJJ’s work centers around changing systems: they conduct research, organize in and involve local communities, produce reports, and advocate at the legal level for systemic policy reform. Joining in coalition with a number of other Massachusetts-based organizations, they advocate together for an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and school-hardening policies that criminalize youth in their educational spaces, emphasize rehabilitation, advocate for raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, and much more. Overall, CfJJ is committed to creating the basis for more equitable and developmentally appropriate youth-serving systems in Massachusetts.

As the Community Engagement Intern, my focus is on helping to involve the community in CfJJ’s work. It is also the responsibility of my Coordinator and I to collaborate with and show up for other organization’s rallies, discussions, and events. In my three weeks so far, I helped to see that CfJJ’s Annual Youth Justice Lobby Day was a success, and I supported a rally led by the Youth Justice and Power Union, advocating for a more just city budget – one that funds affordable and safe housing, youth jobs, resources for community mental health crises, and participatory budgeting systems.  Additionally, I attended a gathering led by the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence outside the State House, calling for stronger gun violence prevention legislation. Lastly, I listened in on an Education hearing at the State House, where lawyers, advocates, and parents encouraged legislators to support a number of equitable education-related bills.

My tasks this summer revolve around two main projects. The first is creating a Respect Youth Stories Presentation, which will be delivered to youth-serving advocacy organizations in Massachusetts at the end of the summer. I have been working on formulating this presentation based off of a Respect Youth Stories Toolkit, published by CfJJ and the National Juvenile Justice Network in 2021. This toolkit, made in partnership with a number of youth advocates, details steps that advocacy organizations should take to more ethically include youth stories in their work. Its main goal is to ensure that advocates are not tokenizing, taking advantage of, or re-harming youth when they share their experiences. Drawing on my previous facilitation experience, I have been exploring how to make this meeting engaging and productive for our participants. 

My second project will be building Youth Roundtables on school safety. CfJJ’s Community Engagement Coordinator and I will be leading these roundtable discussions to offer youth an opportunity to speak openly about what a safe school means to them. While CfJJ produces reports that prove the harm of school-hardening policies like metal detectors and police presence in schools, we also want to hear from young people directly. 

Further, I will be offering support to another CfJJ staff member on their writing of a Restorative Justice Best Practices Guide. This has first involved speaking with both local and national Restorative Justice practitioners, with a specific focus on RJ practices in schools. 

My first internship goal is to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the framework of restorative justice and other developmentally-appropriate alternatives to school discipline policies. I will achieve this by engaging with CfJJ staff and other youth-advocates. My second goal is when adapting, designing, and co-facilitating trainings for other advocacy organizations on the ethical use of youth stories, I will aim to incorporate the lived experiences of impacted young people and to uplift their stories. My third goal is that by the end of the summer I will have read three books and listened 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. 

1 – Fighting Corporate Power at the American Economic Liberties Project

This summer, I’m working remotely as a Research Intern for the American Economic Liberties Project, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. that fights against monopolies and concentrated corporate power. As a political advocacy group, the organization seeks to demonstrate that the government can leverage its powers to promote a fair and competitive economy (as opposed to directly encouraging corporate accountability).

One aspect of the work Economic Liberties does is create reports and other policy products to inform various audiences. For instance, policy briefs like this one on hospital mergers are brief informational write-ups that help both the public and policymakers understand an issue and the best practices to address them. The organization also creates full reports, such as this one, analyzing antitrust policy under the Obama administration, and toolkits such as this one about Big Tech, which are directed more towards and provide guidance for lawmakers.

I am currently assisting on the research team of the organization and just finished my first project analyzing junk fee legislation on the state level. In terms of how my work impacts the greater organization, the work Economic Liberties does necessitates a research process to investigate issues that are especially salient or where there exists a political landscape (or the potential to create one) to take further action. Research around how and why something is an issue, which agencies can act, what legislators are currently proposing, etc. sets the stage to launch campaigns, employ strategic communications and advocacy, create political conditions or outside pressure on enforcers and Congress to act, etc.

Remote work comes with a variety of challenges and perks. For instance, it is more difficult to meet and get to know members of the organization, so I’ve had to go the extra mile and actively reach out and schedule “virtual coffees.” However, it has also afforded me the flexibility of exploring and working in various places in Boston, where I’m based for the summer. One of my favorite locations has become the beautiful, Boston Public Library Courtyard.

My goal for this summer is to be a sponge and learn as much as humanly possible. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little out of place at times among a team of highly knowledgeable and experienced experts and advocates. However, when my imposter syndrome rears its head, I’m choosing to use it as a learning opportunity to embrace my beginner’s mind and learn from this incredibly qualified team, rather than wallow in self doubt.

I hope to continue learning about corporate power and monopolies in a real-life context and how they impact everyday households beyond what is typically discussed in the classroom. Even just a few weeks in, I’m beginning to see monopolies and the effects of concentrated corporate power everywhere – as one of the members of the organization has said, “once you see it, you can’t unsee it.”

Finally, I hope to gain a better understanding of economic justice and the various tools for fighting for economic and social justice. I’ve previously done social justice work in the form of grassroots activism (things like protesting and coalition-building), but the work I’m doing with Economic Liberties adopts more of a policy-oriented approach. It’s been illuminating to expand my capabilities in various avenues of activism and justice, and I look forward to continuing my work with Economic Liberties this summer.

1- Starting My Internship at the Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program

Hi, my name is Eric and I am a rising sophomore majoring in neuroscience and psychology. Through the WOW Fellowship, I am able to work at the Geriatric Psychiatry Research Program (GPRP) at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. McLean is a psychiatric hospital founded over 200 years ago and offers inpatient and outpatient care. Additionally, McLean has numerous clinical and neuroscience research labs that focus on a variety of neuropsychiatric topics and populations.

GPRP is a clinical research lab that focuses on addressing the needs of older adults with Alzheimer’s Disease, other forms of dementia, and mood disorders such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. The lab’s research centers around three main areas. The first area of research is a series of clinical trials that test disease-modifying therapeutic drugs for older adults with Alzheimer’s. The second category of research at GPRP aims to reduce behavioral changes in older adults with Alzheimer’s such as agitation and anxiety symptoms through the use of specially-formulated THC and CBD treatments as well as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). GPRP’s last research focus aims to further understand and mitigate the effects of mood disorders on cognition and quality of life in the geriatric population.

South Belknap- Site of GPRP and Geriatric Inpatient Care at McLean

During my first month at GPRP, I have been involved in a variety of projects and have gained exposure to the ins and outs of clinical research. Getting introduced to the 10+ studies at the lab was a little confusing and overwhelming initially, but it has also been really interesting to learn more about the current research that is being conducted in neuropsychiatry and promising findings that can help the older adult population.

One thing about research that was new to me was how involved research assistants are with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to update study protocol procedures, report any unexpected or adverse events, and ensure the lab is following all regulations. With that, I have been able to help with GPRP’s studies on electroconvulsive therapy and geriatric mood disorders by organizing and updating study documents and databases to ensure everything is in line with regulations. 

A goal of mine for the summer is to learn more about what clinical neuroscience research looks like in practice, and I feel like the shadowing opportunities of this internship have given me a greater understanding and appreciation for this field of work. So far, I have been able to shadow research assistants during study visits for GPRP’s Geriatric Mood Disorder Database (GMDD) and the Caring for Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia (CBD-AD) studies. During these visits, I administer neuropsychiatric tests which measure memory, language, and attention as well as screening tests which measure levels of depression and mania. After the study visits, I compare my scoring results with research assistants and work through any discrepancies in scoring. It has also been a really great experience interacting with study participants and their study partners during these visits. Overall, there is great hope and excitement that the older adult population brings into McLean when they come in for research studies and I always enjoy hearing about their experiences while working with them. I look forward to the experiences I’ll have at GPRP over the rest of the summer!

Working at a boutique matrimonial law firm

Hello! My name is Ariel and I am excited to share my experience at my internship so far with you. I am now over 3 weeks into my time at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield and I have been loving it so far. I am learning so much about law and the world of attorneys and judges which I am so grateful for because that was my primary motivation in pursuing this internship.

I start most mornings at about 6 or 7am which is a huge lifestyle change for me. At Brandeis I usually schedule all my classes for the afternoon so this schedule has been very different to my usual one. After showering and getting dressed I usually make myself lunch for the day. After that I get a ride from my father to the bus stop where I usually catch the 177X, an express bus that takes me from my home in Bergenfield to NYC. The bus is nice and depending on traffic gets me into the city in 30 minutes to an hour.

Here is a picture of me waiting for the bus

Once I get into the city I head towards one of two destinations: 1) the office at 48th Street between 5th and Madison or 2) The Supreme Court located at 60 Centre Street right near city hall and Wall Street. My commute time depends on if I am going to court which usually takes another 15 or 20 minutes to get to.

On a normal day where I head to the office I start my  day with a coffee before checking in with the partner at the firm who I am working under. Usually she will let me know what her schedule looks like so that I know where I should be and when. I sit in on most of her meetings with clients and other attorneys (when given permission from all other parties) and take notes. This has been one of my favorite parts of the job so far. I really value this time because it is super interesting to watch the interactions between different clients and attorneys. Additionally, there are so many moving pieces that make up each case in matrimonial law. I am learning a lot about how things like custody, finances, scheduling, and more all play a role in these cases. Outside of meetings I spend a lot of my time doing legal research. This is where I look up old cases in order to find precedent that supports the arguments we hope to make in court. This can get a little monotonous, but I enjoy reading and most of the cases are fairly interesting so it is not too bad. I also work on writing motions which is challenging, but it is really cool to see my work directly contribute to a case. Outside of that I spend a couple hours a day working towards the longer, busy work of updating the firms contact list.

My view from my office

On days that I go to court I have to wait on a long line until they start letting people in. The lawyers have a pass that lets them in, but until I become one I am just going to have to wait on line. After waiting on line I join the the lawyers in the courtroom and sit on the benches in the back. Here I take notes and also watch the different procedures and steps that happen while one is in court.


Me on line

I have had an amazing time so far working at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield and am looking forward to sharing the rest of my time here with you in my other blog posts!

My First Few Weeks at NCL!

Hey There! My name is Grace Lassila and I am a rising junior here at Brandeis University! I am studying economics and mathematics, on track to complete a five year masters program with the International Business School! This summer I have the honor of interning at the National Consumers League, a non-profit advocacy group based in Washington, DC. NCL is one of the oldest consumer advocacy groups in the country! They work on a wide variety of topics including health, child labor, fraud, and so much more. I am their Health Policy Intern, and I started just a few weeks ago! I work remotely from my home in Southern New Hampshire, but that does not mean I am any less engaged! 

As the Health Policy Intern, I work with the Health Policy team doing research about the various topics and issues that the team works on. My main responsibility currently is working on revamping the Health pages of the NCL website. The website is currently very outdated, and requires a refresh of content and organization. I am excited to be working on this project because not only does it expand my understanding and knowledge of these topics, but this has been an area that has really needed some work for NCL. My goal is to make the website content easily digestible and easily understandable for consumers, i.e. anyone would care about these issues! The work I am doing will really improve the relationship between the group and the people they serve. I am also working on several blog posts about health policy related topics, which I will be publishing throughout the summer internship. 

My main goal for this internship was to really gain professional experience working within an advocacy organization. At Brandeis, I am passionate about menstrual justice and the advocacy work that comes with that. I have been a part of PAD (period activists at deis) since I was a freshman, and I have thoroughly enjoyed that work. For my summer internship, I wanted to experience what advocacy was like on a larger scale, in a professional setting, to really see if I could envision advocacy work as a career path. I thought, what better way than to submerge myself in a consumer advocacy group? I have learned so much from my boss and the other employees here at NCL about the kind of work that contributes to real-time advocacy. 

I have also really enjoyed the fact that my internship is remote! It has allowed me to be in charge of my own schedule and to work where I can! I have included below a picture of my typical work set up! I like to go to my local coffee shop and work there. This internship has allowed me to work hard, and also play hard over the summer! I am excited to see what challenges this summer will bring, and seeing how I overcome them!


Until Next Time!

One Petition at a Time: Grassroots Environmental Advocacy

Hello! My name is Rida and I’m a rising junior majoring in Environmental Studies. For the past four weeks I’ve been interning at PennEnvironment – an environmental nonprofit organization based in Pennsylvania. Using the power of grassroots advocacy, PennEnvironment is committed to bringing about powerful environmental policy change. They advocate for policies like 100% statewide renewable energy, plastic bag bans, and clean air and water for all. The organization believes citizen education and engagement is an integral part of the fight against climate change and is essential to creating long-lasting change. 

Pennsylvania is a particularly important state to do this type of environmental advocacy work. Not only is it a swing state where every vote is absolutely crucial to enact policy, but it is also one of the largest “fossil fuel states” in the country. Carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest source of climate pollution in the state. The fossil fuel industry’s influence makes it especially difficult for strong environmental policy to pass in the state, which is why staff members at PennEnvironment are incredibly dedicated to the work. Whether it’s door-to-door canvassing, phone-banking, or lobbying, there is always something more to do to support the cause. 

At the moment, our goal is to collect signatures and statements from Pennsylvania citizens and state representatives in support of a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s new rules would reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants by 617 million metric tons by 2042 – the equivalent of taking half the cars in the country off the road for a year! To ensure the proposal is finalized and implemented, PennEnvironment is working nonstop to garner public support. 

Since I don’t live in Pennsylvania, we all do the work remotely. I often go to a café by my apartment to take calls or do some online work. A fully virtual position is not ideal for me, so I make sure to find ways to make it so I’m not constantly at home – and the place by my house is really lovely! 

A peaceful spot at my coffee shop’s back patio.

The three other interns local to Pennsylvania collect petitions in person, which I then transfer into an online database. Grassroots activism always starts with a good list, so I spend a lot of time compiling contact information in spreadsheets. The next step is phone banking, which is crucial to organizing because that one-on-one call results in more participants. 

Last week, I even testified virtually at the EPA’s public hearing in support of the regulations. It was intimidating at first, but it was a wonderful opportunity to strengthen my public speaking skills! 

I hope that by the end of the summer I can say I stepped out of my comfort zone and contributed to the crucial work PennEnvironment is doing. I’ve already learned a lot, and I’m excited to keep up the work for the next couple of months!

1-Internship Start at the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at UGA

It has been several weeks since I started my internship at the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Georgia. This lab run by Dr. McDowell and Dr. Clemenz hosts a large variety of research projects primarily about schizophrenia, senses, and aging. The different studies are assisted by various equipment including MRIs, fMRI, EEGs, and eye trackers. 

Current research on schizophrenia aims to provide better medications and a more well-informed view of what makes up the disorder to improve diagnostic criteria and identify risk factors.

I was first introduced to this lab in the fall of 2020 when I had a virtual internship with them. I gained a lot of knowledge on the practical application of computer science in the psychology field and had a great introduction to current research on schizophrenia. 

This year I am working under the same grad student Beryl Huang who is researching cognitive flexibility in young adults. My primary duties have been to help her set up the hardware to perform the EEG eye-tracking paradigm and help troubleshoot the technical aspects of this project. So far we have performed timing tests, set up the eye tracker, had two test trials, and have begun to look into preregistration.

EEG set-up on me for a test trial









EEG cleaning process

In addition to these duties, I have been able to meet other people who are working in the lab on different projects. Some of the ongoing research includes a drug trial for clozapine, which utilizes the EEG and eye tracker to assess its effectiveness. Some well-mapped responses of the brain, like auditory processing, react differently in patients with psychosis, therefore this is a helpful biomarker for the disorder. Another project is utilizing fMRI to study the brain structure of participants with psychosis.

Beryl Huang has been a great mentor for me in this lab teaching me practical knowledge and problem solving. I have been completing weekly projects based on a reading she provides and two others that spark my interest. These will help me not only get used to reading psychology research, but also gain experience with presenting about psychology and discovering creative ways to display information. 

It is my goal this summer to explore the full process of psychology research, and especially get more practice presenting findings and research to others. I look forward to continuing to discover the research process in this lab and learning the various methods of data collection and analysis.

Starting my Internship with the Integrity Institute

After brainstorming what I wanted to do during the summer after my freshman year at Brandeis, I realized I needed a specific direction. I knew I wanted to find an internship where I could write extensively, but I needed to figure out what I wanted to write about. I also wanted the internship to be with an organization that aimed to help others, but I needed to figure out how. I am thankful to the Hiatt Career Center for helping me find an internship that works well for me. Their postings of Social Justice internships gave me access to the type of work I was looking for.

I am interning with the Integrity Institute as a Communications Intern. The role of an intern in a small think tank, like the Integrity Institute, is not fixed. Although the Communications Intern title fits some of my work, it doesn’t encompass everything I am capable of.

The Integrity Institute is a small think tank that “advances the theory and practice of protecting the social internet.” The institute is comprised of a small staff led by Co-founders Sahar Massachi (a Brandeis alum) and Jeff Allen. Before founding the institute, both Sahar and Jeff had professional experience with Facebook, doing the integrity work which the institute is known for. The largest demographic in the Integrity Institute is its fellows. The fellows, who have all done six months of integrity work before joining the institute, are tech professionals working across social platforms such as Meta, Twitter, Airbnb, and many more. As unpaid volunteers, the fellows bring their research and overall knowledge of their fields to Weekly discussion groups on topics like “AI taxonomy of harms,” “How elections affect social platforms,” and whatever else the community wishes to discuss.

I have had the privilege of spending a large portion of my internship with visiting fellow, Talha Baig, a former ML engineer with Facebook and a graduate of Cornell University. Talha is the co-founder and producer of the weekly Integrity Institute-backed podcast Trust In Tech. The Trust in Tech Podcast discusses integrity issues across social platforms with fellows of the Integrity Institute. The latest episode, which features guest, Alex Leavitt, and co-founder, Alice Hunsbereger, in the hosting role, discusses protecting the LGBTQ+ community on social platforms. For this episode, I worked with Alice to edit the podcast.

In the past week, I have focused on the podcast, expanding my role from exclusively editing to researching, scriptwriting, and producing. In addition to my work on the podcast, I attend institute member discussion sessions to learn more about integrity work. The most engaging session I joined last week discussed generative AI and its potential role in content moderation. In the past three weeks, I have learned more about generative AI than I previously knew, and now I use it to correct my notes.

The work environment of the Integrity Institute differs from what I expect most professional organizations to be since it operates remotely. However, the lack of in-person interaction doesn’t hold the institute back, and they make great use of short but to-the-point meetings, as well as Slack messenger, to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

I look forward to learning as much as possible from this opportunity and am excited to see where my work takes me this summer.


New Beginnings at the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office

This summer, I am interning at the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Within this office, I am interning for the supervisor of the Victim Witness Advocacy Program. The mission of the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office is ensuring justice is sought through tough and fair prosecutions, working to prevent crime before it happens through progressive community programming, seeking justice for victims, and protecting the safety of its citizens. This office not only does prosecutorial work, conducted by Assistant District Attorneys but also provides victim services and community outreach resources, among other services.

While I have yet to learn about all of the tasks that I will be responsible for, what I have done so far includes observing trials and attending presentations by various court actors such as Assistant District Attorneys, judges, the Clerk Magistrate, and the District Attorney himself. I think the impact my work will have on the District Attorney’s Office will contribute to its mission of conducting fair prosecutions and seeking justice for victims. Since I will be working for victim advocates who assist victims throughout the criminal justice process, I will have an indirect role that helps to ensure the needs of victims are heard and reflected during the prosecution of offenders.

My academic goal for my internship will be to draw comparisons between my previous experiences with the criminal justice system and this new experience, be able to apply what I have learned about the criminal justice system, and be able to expand my knowledge on the system. Observing court proceedings is a task that will help to address and achieve this goal. Observing court proceedings will allow me to see how the court actors work within the criminal justice system to seek justice or defend people, how the criminal justice system impacts the lives of real people, and what the immediate problems with the criminal justice system are.

My career goal for my internship is to develop networked relationships with the attorneys and other office members and be a dependable team member. The best way to address and achieve this goal is by producing the best work I can from every task I am given and listening to and applying feedback whenever it is given to me. Producing strong work from my responsibilities will aid in developing strong networked relationships because I will have demonstrated to be a good worker, which will lead to connection-building.

My personal goal for my internship is to enjoy and feel fulfilled by the work I am doing and develop a sense of excitement for my future career as a District Attorney. I hope every task I am responsible for will help me to address and achieve this goal. I look forward to the next weeks to solidify what my responsibilities will be, to learn from my internship supervisor, and to get advice from the Assistant District Attorneys.

First Days at the JPLA

When I was imagining what I wanted to do this summer over the past semester, I knew two things: I wanted to explore a new city and do something related to Yiddish. Having spent the past two summers in a Yiddish intensive program, I wanted to see what I could do with my new language skills outside of the classroom. Thanks to the WOW Fellowship, I have found myself at the Archives of the Jewish Public Library (JPL) in Montreal.

The JPL is a unique institution, as it serves both a local community, but also a global community. Founded by Eastern European Jewish immigrants in 1914 to serve the growing community, the JPL now has the largest publicly circulating collection of Judaica in North America. Their circulating collection is quinti-lingual, with books in French, Hebrew, English, Yiddish, and Russian, and has long been a celebrated site of Yiddish culture. As Eastern European Jews arrived to Montreal at the turn of the century, they found themselves in the middle of “The Two Solitudes” of the Catholic Francophone population and Protestant Anglophone population, so they developed their own services and institutions in Yiddish (Yiddish Book Center Lecture, April 20, 2023). Now, the library provides services to their diverse community members, and the archives of the library serve to retain Montreal’s Jewish history and heritage and to support researchers. It is located in a building that houses many other Jewish organizations in Montreal, such as the Holocaust Museum, Agence Ometz, and Federation CJA.

The JPL Archives, as most archives, are organized with respect to provenance that is, from where the documents came. In Canada, these groupings are referred to as a fonds, and the documents are labeled and processed in this respect. For example, if Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz happened to donate his documents to the JPL Archives, it would be named the Ron Liebowitz Fonds. I am working with the processing archivist to process several small Yiddish fonds, as well as translate Yiddish labels to English and otherwise assist with Yiddish. In terms of processing the fonds, I look at what the contents of the files are and make note of it to later input into the new online catalogue. I am also doing some light preservation work, and I am hoping to learn how to digitize materials. I am excited to see if I enjoy this type of work and working in an archive.

So far, I am enjoying it! I have started working on the fond of Yiddish writer Moshe Shaffir. Originally from Bukovina, a region in the Carpathian Mountains today divided by Romania and Ukraine, Shaffir came to Montreal in the 1930’s. He was a prolific writer as well as a teacher, and from what I’ve seen so far, he wrote a lot remembering his childhood home and region, and reflections on the Holocaust as well. He maintained correspondence with individuals around the world, and it has been so interesting to read the letters he received (once I am able to decipher the Yiddish handwriting). Going through his files has been fun, but also has some challenges. My first main challenge was the file entitled farsheydenes, miscellaneous. I ended up sorting the file into several categories to make it easier to access.


I’m excited to see this work progress throughout the summer, what my other challenges will be, and what I think at the end of it all! I am also settling into life in Montreal and exploring the present Jewish community here (and particularly enjoying the oysergeveyntlekhe babke {amazing babka} at Cheskie’s Bakery!).

Beginning of my internship at Wolfe Research

Hi everyone – I’m Ethan, a rising junior on the Men’s soccer team at Brandeis University. This summer, I am lucky enough to be working as an intern for the equity research firm, Wolfe Research, in New York City. For my specific role, I am working on the healthcare team to analyze different companies in that space and help determine which companies will be most profitable and not profitable in the future. After this opinion is made, we share our ideas with our clients (hedge funds, other investors, etc.), who use our information to make more accurate investments. A few types of companies I look at are managed care companies, hospitals, and behavioral health companies. The main goal I have for myself in this internship is to gain a better understanding of the healthcare industry as a whole, specifically analyzing its financial aspects.

On a normal day, I usually take the subway at around 6:30am to get to the office around 7am before the morning call. The morning call is a time where the researchers are able to talk to the sales team about whatever new information they have on a certain company or industry. This gives the sales people the right information to tell their clients throughout the day. After the morning call, I usually go into a meeting with my specific team to talk about assignments for the day. This is where I’m assigned to make data tables for certain hospital numbers or update a financial model for a specific company. The senior people on my team use this information to create notes/guides to send out to our clients. By continuously doing these things, I can already feel my knowledge of the industry growing.

There are so many moving pieces in the healthcare system that I was not aware of before coming to work here, which has made me eager to keep learning. When lunch comes around, me and a few of the other interns will walk around to find a local spot to eat. One thing I’ve learned is that you cannot go wrong with New York food (most of the time). On certain days, we host lunch or meetings for the CEO, CFO, or investor relations of a company. In these meetings, we are able to ask them questions that are not seen on financial statements or in company reports, and this gives us important information on how to value the company in the future. After all of my tasks are done for the day, I usually leave work around 5:30 to go home for the day. Even though the hours are long, I am really enjoying the experience and can’t wait to learn more throughout the summer.


A view of my desk

3 – End of Baby Brain Research Internship

This summer, I saw how the theories I’d learned about attachment and developmental psychology at Brandeis apply to actual patients and research in the field. I learned several new skills, such as applying caps/optodes for fNIRS scans, preparing participants for and running fMRI scans, processing saliva for oxytocin assays, screening patient medical charts, and approaching hospital patients for study recruitment. 

I was able to explore a potential career as a clinical researcher and learned about various career trajectories in psychology and medicine (e.g., child psychiatrist, developmental-behavioral pediatrician, clinical psychologist, etc.). I received invaluable wisdom and guidance from Dr. Kim and her team. Also, I had the opportunity to observe a psychiatrist perform diagnostic tests and MRS scans, and learn from a school psychologist about diagnostic testing used in school systems. These experiences helped me envision potential future careers in psychology and/or medicine. Although my career interests are not completely solidified, this internship has given me a clearer understanding of what potential paths could look like. I was able to ask several professionals about their experiences and suggestions when it comes to choosing between various careers in the field.

I gained experience working in a professional setting. I was eager to gain confidence in my verbal and written communication skills to feel more sure of myself in professional spaces. This internship provided me with incredible opportunities to communicate confidently with professionals in the field.  

My advice to a student interested in a psychology research internship is that it’s crucial to find a project that genuinely excites you and aligns with your academic/personal interests. From there, it’ll be easy to immerse yourself in the work and perform to your highest potential. To a student interested in an internship at UMass Chan Medical School, my biggest piece of advice would be to take advantage of and seek out opportunities to learn from mentors there. The team is full of incredibly intelligent and insightful people eager to help you reach your goals. 

I’m proud that I can confidently say that I gave this internship my all and made a real impact with my work this summer. I am proud of my commitment and effort over the last three months and that I’ve been asked to return to the team as a Clinical Research Assistant once I graduate in December. I am excited to continue working with and learning from Dr. Kim and the larger CANDI (Child and Adolescent NeuroDevelopment Initiative) team at UMass Chan Medical School.

I am incredibly grateful that I was selected for a WOW Fellowship this summer. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences over the past three months that would have been impossible without it. Thank you!

Concluding my Internship with The Caterpillar Lab

Through this internship, I have met my goals to better understand New England’s caterpillars and plants. By caring for the animals, I began to familiarize myself with each species’ characteristics as well as gaining an understanding for identifying the native plants they eat. I especially furthered my learning of these species by listening to my peers at the lab and during programs. Once I grasped these facts and concepts I was then able to share it with visitors at programs. Programs were an important aspect of diving deeper into each caterpillars’ unique evolutionary traits as well as teaching broader concepts of ecology and the importance of species interactions. 

While I always loved insects, I was mainly drawn to the larger vertebrate species growing up. These used to be the animals I wanted to conserve the most, but through this opportunity, I gained a new appreciation for invertebrates and their critical roles in the ecosystem. The world of conservation is extremely devoted to protecting the large animals and this leads to people forgetting to protect and fund invertebrates. By learning the important yet overlooked facts about the roles of insects, it became apparent that these larger iconic animals and ecosystems cannot be well protected without conserving the staple organisms such as plants and insects. 

In New England, caterpillars consume more plant material than all other herbivores combined and are crucial in breaking down plants and becoming a new energy source for other organisms. On top of this, we can then see that wasps are the most prevalent consumers of caterpillars and without them, the caterpillar would be overpopulated and far too destructive to the ecosystem. This example interaction demonstrates the need for both caterpillars and wasps in an ecosystem to sustain a healthy ecosystem.

Insect decline is a serious threat to most ecosystems, yet it is often left behind in conservation planning. I’ve learned about the declines and local extinctions of these amazing caterpillars that provide significant ecosystem services and become far more aware of the need to protect and restore their populations. 

This experience has inspired me to explore new topics and ideas that I would like to pursue in the near future. It has completely changed the way I view wildlife, and I believe that it is a great internship for any students that are interested in conservation. I would recommend applying for this internship even if you may not love or be familiar with entomology. It can definitely make you fall in love with these beautiful animals and provide you with a learning experience from extremely knowledgeable people.  

(3) Learning to Appreciate the Importance of Interns

A central concept that I have taken away from my internship is that the mechanics of social justice work are just like they are in any other position. An organization may have an inspiring mission, but achieving these goals may involve a lot of grunt work. My internship at the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) helps low-income people facing eviction get access to legal aid. Through this experience, I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people and hear their stories. However, on a day-to-day basis, I was working with spreadsheets, PowerPoints, and online filing systems. Social justice work can be life changing and extremely powerful, but it can also be quite boring. However, what makes it boring is also extremely important and this is a lesson I have learned quite recently.

Over the past few months, I was trained to complete what VLP calls “outreaches.” This is a task on VLP’s online filing system called Legal Server where I record what clients VLP has served. This entails documenting the client’s personal information (name, address, citizenship status, etc.), what services VLP provided to the client, which attorneys worked with them and how much total time was spent with said client. Initially, I enjoyed completing outreaches because it was fascinating to read all the different stories of who VLP has helped. However, after a while it got quite dull, especially because I was just copying information from an Excel spreadsheet into Legal Server. This puzzled me. Why did the information VLP had in Excel also need to be in Legal Server? What purpose was I actually serving? 

I posed this question to my supervisor, who had a very satisfactory answer. VLP is funded largely by a Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grant, which comes from the federal government. Along with this grant comes strict requirements about what type of clients VLP can serve and what aid we can provide. For example, all of VLP’s clients must be legal U.S. citizens or have proof of lawful residency. Even though VLP may wish to serve undocumented people, we are unable to due to LSC requirements. It turns out that making sure that VLP is compliant with LSC requirements is the entire purpose of the outreaches that I was completing. This detailed documentation in a legal filing system ensures that VLP has a legitimate record of the work they have completed, and that it was done so in a manner appropriate to the funding they receive. If this process is done incorrectly, VLP could be at risk of losing their funding.

58,800 Happy Office Illustrations & Clip Art - iStockIn this instance, I learned a lesson that I wished I knew at the beginning of my internship. When doing social justice work, every little task matters. Even if an assignment seems mundane or pointless, it is likely part of a bigger wheel that keeps your organization rolling. This is advice I would give someone pursuing an internship in legal aid or at any kind of non-profit. Grunt work is often given to interns, but this in no way means you are not doing meaningful work. You are still contributing to the valuable mission that your organization is striving to achieve.

End of summer


This week I concluded my internship at Start Strong and I can say with confidence that I made the right decision. I have worked various jobs and by now I know what a healthy work environment looks like. I have never been in a space where my coworkers and supervisor have supported me with  such grace. There wasn’t a day that I did not look forward to showing up and teaching the adolescents. With much reflection I am astonished at how grounded they were and how much emotional maturity they display, I saw my younger self in them. They have demonstrated full acceptance of others and the willingness to learn. That serves to show how impactful Start Strong is on their youths. I am happy to play a role in that. 


One of my biggest takeaways from this summer is how I need to approach young people in my field of work. I learned that teenagers are at stages in their lives where they are learning lessons that mold their adulthood. It’s essential to give them grace for their mistakes and to emphasize that they are still learning what makes them happy and whole. This is important to me because I often am hard on myself for the mistakes I made in my teenage years. I have now accepted at those ages I did the best I could knowing what I knew at that time. 


Additionally, my favorite conversation we had this summer with the youths was how to navigate a healthy break up. It meant a lot to me that I was in a position where I could teach them this valuable information because something as simple as conversation on what a healthy break up looks like can save a life. I did not grow up in an environment with healthy representations of break ups and relationships overall. Due to this void I didn’t know how I should be treated in a relationship and I ended up in an abusive relationship. Surviving this relationship motivated me to begin the path to being a social worker and compelled me to want to be in a space like this Start Strong. 


Being a social worker means that I get to be in a position where I can connect underprivileged  people with resources. These resources will ultimately help them make their quality of life better and take them out of harmful situations. Sometimes people need someone there to guide them because they don’t know where to start to make their life better.


(3) Do what you love

It has been quite a fulfilling experience interning with The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) this summer. I’ve not only been immersed in immigration law, but I’ve had an opportunity to witness the law in action and learn more about the world of work. In addition to feeling much more prepared to take on the challenge of law school and hit the ground running, I have continued to build on soft skills like communication, self-accountability, and work-life balance in preparation for life beyond college.

One of the most important things that I have learned this summer is the importance of developing and nurturing soft skills, such as those mentioned above. A person’s ability to complete a job isn’t necessarily defined by their experience or qualifications, but rather by their ability to adapt, effectively communicate, and hold themselves accountable in terms of asking for help and managing deadlines. In the world of social justice, this is especially important, as clients put their lives in the hands of their attorneys, accredited representatives, and/or advocates.

In terms of the impact that I have had on TRII, I believe that just by participating in the first cohort of trainees to become accredited representatives helped to pave the way for advancing the program for future trainees. Having the opportunity to participate in a six-month program tailored to undergraduate students who want experience in the legal field is incredibly rare; what is even more rare, at least on the undergraduate level, is the opportunity to work alongside professional attorneys who are passionate about devoting their extra time and energy to bettering the skills of those who intern alongside them. While working on cases, I have been encouraged numerous times to take the lead on client meetings, file paperwork, or write client affidavits, on top of legal research. I have deeply appreciated and enjoyed the learning experience working at TRII and the support from our executive director and attorneys, and I plan to continue to intern with the organization until I graduate from Brandeis.

If I were to do it all over again, I’m not sure that there is a lot I would change. I got lucky in the sense that I found the program when I was able to find the time to do the training and to take on an internship doing consistent client work. In terms of advice to those interested in working with TRII or in immigration law in general, I would encourage you to not be afraid to ask all the questions you have. In my opinion, education is the greatest gift in the world, and you won’t learn unless you take an active role.

I am grateful to the World of Work fellowship program for supporting me in my internship with The Right to Immigration Institute this summer. This experience is an important step on my path to becoming a lawyer and the skills I have developed over the course of this internship will no doubt propel me further. Law school, here I come!

(3) Takeaways from the NCL Experience

My time at NCL will be my framework for shaping my expectations for future jobs and how I approach social justice. Through this experience, I learned the value of communication and collective action. Without them, nothing I worked on would have been possible.

In order to create positive change on the national level, collective action is critical. The likelihood of achieving desired goals increases immensely when organizations and individuals work together and form a unified front before lobbying Congress, governmental institutions, and more. Together, distinct groups can place pressure in different ways and offer diverse perspectives, incentivizing targeted parties to support or even vote in the best interest of the collective. However, this collaboration cannot succeed without effective communication.

This is imperative at all levels, from planned strategic meetings between organizations to my boss laying out clear instructions on what she needs from me as her intern. Some of the ways I have applied this at NCL are: replying to emails in a timely manner; asking questions when I do not understand an assignment or issue; and being direct with what I need and how I can help my bosses. I will take these lessons about the world of work with me throughout my career and incorporate them into future social justice advocacy.

At NCL, I wrote policy statements covering a range of health issues including copay accumulator programs, the monopolistic practices of PBMs, the unfair treatment of pregnant workers, the FDA’s ban on Juul, and the ongoing gun epidemic. In addition, I assisted in breaking down specific issues during lobbying meetings and took notes for my supervisors in meetings they were not able to attend. I also had the privilege of assisting the Director of Health Policy in her testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights. This included helping craft her formal statement, opposition research, and strategy recommendations for the Q&A portion of the hearing. Currently, I am working on expanding NCL’s “Where We Stand” health policy platform by drafting a section on health equity.

One of my most significant takeaways from my experience at NCL was how to approach lobbying. Before starting at NCL, the lobbying tactics I employed were almost exclusively rooted in applying pressure in order to achieve a desired result. However, watching and learning from NCL staff highlighted the importance of maintaining a more balanced approach. While pushing hard and using pressure-based incentives are direct and effective, it is also critical that this does not come at the cost of losing contacts and connections. Before going into a meeting, both parties have researched each other and have likely made their mind up about the issue. In this respect, lobbying can be a formality with a predetermined outcome, and therefore is not something worth burning bridges over. This is something I wish I had known before starting my internship and I will inevitably keep this lesson in mind throughout my career.  

John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, holds up an NCL poster.

For future interns that have the privilege of working at NCL, my advice would be to be proactive about asking for work and to prove early on your ability to produce high-quality material. Oftentimes with internships, bosses do not know what you are capable of and correspondingly will delegate tasks that are not up to personal standards. Illustrating prowess with smaller assignments and then asking to be a part of larger ones not only leads to a more targeted and robust learning experience, but will ensure all parties feel fulfilled throughout this unique and amazing opportunity that WOW and NCL facilitate. 

Blog Post 3: Thank you WOW!

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

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

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

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

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

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

(3) What I am walking away with

I learned two things about myself throughout my internship at United for a Fair Economy (UFE). One is that I would prefer to work at a nonprofit as a part-time job, and the other is that community organizing involves a lot of new client introductions and unpaid work. Overall, I learned the importance of organizing and networking in your community, especially maintaining and growing networks. These lessons are vital for understanding how grassroots organizations collaborate and help each other.

I am now brainstorming what skills and prior knowledge I wish to have to create a significant, powerful impact on my community and bring that talent back home. I learned much about project management, team building, fundraising, and healthy relationships during my internship. I was able to help the office accountant with receiving, cataloging, and cashing in donations. More importantly, I was involved in the correspondence process, thanking individuals, creating letterheads, and mailing them. One memorable quote from a colleague about this process was, “the best way to obtain new donors is to re-engage with old ones.” I also helped my manager by fine-tuning and editing prompts for the Conversation Deck project and arranging a focus group with a diverse group of outside partners. Last but not least, I helped promote and market UFE fundraising and informational events.

I will say that although popular education was a new concept to me, it was amazing to see it in practice. I learned a lot about this type of work. I also realized that the more I did focus groups, the more I learned about the last one and better ways of facilitation.

Someone I wish I had met when I started is a staff member called Eroc. His work is concentrated around Healing Justice and community resource pooling. I wished I had met him earlier and worked with him more often, mainly since he was remote. He was the type of person you would speak to and feel like you got something out of the discussion.

One piece of advice I would give to someone pursuing an internship or career in this field is to take advantage of the learning opportunity and be careful of burnout. Burnout is the reason why I would pursue nonprofit work as a part-time job. I would also recommend that people do their research into organizations, ex-employees, and the work and impact an organization has done because we must be careful of the nonprofit industrial complex. A high concentration of nonprofits in an area signals a structural problem in how society operates. Moreover, being a 501(c)(3) means that the organization does its taxes in a particular way. This means you could end up in a nonprofit organization that mimics and operates the way a corporation would. Therefore, good things to look for in a nonprofit are whether they acknowledge mental health struggles and burnout, and if they work on projects collectively and cooperate with tasks and roles.

Overall, I am leaving this internship very fulfilled and appreciative. 

Me and another intern Felix having lunch for the first time with Eroc and his kids.
Food is the best way to bond.

My Final Month at the Spelke Lab

As I’m wrapping up my internship at the Spelke Lab, I’ve been reflecting on my time here and trying to visualize myself as a psychology graduate student. Originally, I was hoping to use this experience to see if graduate school would be a good fit upon graduation. After being able to interact with the current students at the Spelke Lab and hearing about their journeys, I’ve been able to gain a very insightful view of what it’s like to do research. I’ve decided that after taking some time off school, I’d want to pursue graduate studies in the developmental neuropsychology realm to continue to do research that supports children in their homes and education.

As mentioned, in my first blog, I was looking forward to data analysis to have a better understanding of our results. Unfortunately, the specific project I’ve been working on has not yet completed data collection. However, I was able to get a rough idea of the results by making graphs along with my mentor of the preliminary data for my poster! My poster describes the project I’ve been working on and so far we have been getting surprising results that are different from previous literature. I was excited to put my work into writing and describe the purpose behind our project during our poster session. I also saw my colleagues present on their very different yet interesting projects related to children’s perception and language.

I was also looking forward to presenting a psychology article for our weekly book club meetings. A peer and I focused on articles that had to do with how emotions may affect our memory of prominent events. We chose this topic to step away from developmental psychology for a bit and read about a different aspect of psychology. These book clubs have definitely helped me become more comfortable by learning how to read valuable results from academic literature which was one of my goals coming into this internship.

While working in academic research, I’ve discovered just how flexible you have to be as an experimenter. Especially, when it comes to scheduling participants and seeing how to fill in the gaps in your data. I’ve also been surprised to see how much collaboration there was in the lab. My specific project was collaborating with a neighboring lab as another principle investigator had already done extensive research on the topic previously. My advice to future research assistants at the Spelke Lab is simply to have fun! You get to work with brilliant students who have a deep passion for developmental psychology and you get to learn so much from them. The entire lab consisted of some of the kindest people as they are willing to share their experiences in research and teach you some valuable skills. I’ll definitely be remembering my time as a research assistant in the Spelke Lab while doing research of my own.


(3) Plans for the Future

The summer has gone by faster than I could have imagined back in May when I began working at the Capital Jewish Museum. And the internship itself has evolved over time from the plans at my first meeting with my supervisor, to the description I wrote when I applied for the WOW fellowship, to what I actually ended up working on over the summer. 

When my supervisor and I first spoke, we found that we shared an interest in cemeteries – he regularly walks through D.C. cemeteries, searching for familiar names. As we discussed potential projects for the summer, two cemetery-related projects came up: photographing and creating complete indexes of graves in D.C.’s historic Jewish cemeteries and creating online walking tours of these cemeteries similar to the tours available at the Congressional Cemetery in D.C. As of now, I have fully photographed two of the four historic cemeteries located in southeast D.C. and am working on completing the indexes. Once those indexes are complete, my supervisor, whose knowledge of D.C. Jewish history is much more advanced, will go through and flag individuals or families to be included in the walking tours. The plan is to create multiple tours – for example, the Congressional Cemetery’s various tours include “Brewers,” “Cenotaphs,” “Civil Rights Heroes,” and “Men of Adventure.” Some possible examples for the Jewish cemeteries might be “Clergy,” or “Business Owners.” This project is more long-term than we may have expected, which means my internship will be extended through the fall semester. 

It can sometimes feel like the work I am doing is insufficient – a minuscule change that does little in the larger scheme of things. I have often been asked, regarding my cemetery project, how long would it take to do this sort of project in every Jewish cemetery in the United States? More time than I have. But the work I am doing still makes a difference. It will help the synagogues when people reach out asking for photos or information; it will help the museum with future cemetery-related projects; and it will help many unknown researchers searching for information online about their families whose roots can be found in a plot in southeast D.C. 

When I applied to the WOW fellowship, I mentioned that I hoped to use this incredible opportunity to explore my grandfather’s D.C. family history. As part of the cemetery project, I was able to index the entire cemetery where my great-great grandparents and three of their children are buried. Doing so was a way for me to honor them and their community, making sure their memories are preserved. It similarly helps me serve as a resource to others hoping to honor their families’ histories. 

In this way, my work this summer has helped me become more certain about what I would like to do in the future. No matter what field I end up with, whether I am working in genealogy, a museum, or something else altogether, I hope my work will be of help to others – I enjoy the feeling of being of service, knowing that what I do is affecting others’ lives in a positive way. It has been inspiring to meet so many people this summer who are similarly inspired and who devote their time to historical preservation. 

Concluding My Summer at the ITA

As my time interning at the ITA draws to a close and I reflect on my summer, I feel that I have learned a lot and accomplished the goals that I set for myself at the start of the summer. I have learned about how the U.S. government supports international trade through assisting with that work in my day-to-day tasks. Similarly, through attending intern events and talking with ITA employees, I have learned about the opportunities available at the Department of Commerce, and in the broader field of international trade. In fact, one of the things that I am most proud of this summer is how proactive and outgoing I was about conducting informational interviews. Through them, I have learned that there are many more career paths in this field than I initially realized. Finally, I have improved my communication skills, adapting them to the worlds of business and government. The style of communication there is much more direct and concise than the academic writing that I am used to, but I hope to apply what I have learned to my assignments this upcoming year.

Additionally, I learned a lot about myself throughout the summer. I found that I did well in the environment of my internship. Being remote, it was a very independent environment, but I appreciated that the regional managers were available to answer any questions that arose. I also found that I really enjoyed learning more about the companies that I researched, and the challenge of conveying my conclusions as efficiently as possible. Furthermore, I found that it is important to me to know that the work I am doing matters, and I have gotten this satisfaction through my internship.  I plan to use this insight to identify which companies I think will be a good fit for me when I apply for jobs this upcoming year.

There are several pieces of advice that I would give to students interested in a summer internship at the ITA, or more broadly in government work. One of the most salient is to not be afraid to speak up, be it a question or a desire to work on a particular topic. In all likelihood, the employees will be happy to talk with you and keep you in mind when something relevant to your interests comes up. This is especially important with remote internships since you need to be more deliberate about communication. Also, I would recommend that you take advantage of any networking opportunities that arise, since they are only available for a limited amount of time. Whether you are attending events specifically for interns or are reaching out to a particular person to learn more about their job and career path, every conversation is a chance to learn more about the company (and broader field) in which you are interning. This aspect of internships is very much what you make of it, and I recommend taking advantage of the opportunity provided.

(3) Impact Is Ongoing

As student activists, leaders, and change-makers, we know that change is a slow and ever-evolving process. This also applies to the work we do at Fulphil as we try to impact as many high school students as possible. We update our curriculum each year to include the most up-to-date content, examples, and scenarios, which involves consistently supporting and aligning ourselves with the mission and values of the organization. I think of Fulphil’s work as slow but impactful steps towards building the next generation of highly motivated and like-minded students. 

At Fulphil, I have been able to support my own team of students working on the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion curriculum while assisting the development of other curriculums in Social Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy. In addition to crafting curriculums, I created slides that teachers across the country can use in their classrooms as supplementary materials to the curriculum. The work that we do sits at the intersection of being independent and collaborative. Being able to work on multiple projects that I was in charge of, on my own schedule, while coming together with the larger team to discuss challenges and brainstorm ideas and solutions has been a great balance in work style.

Sample teacher slides for the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Financial Literacy curriculum

If there is anything I’ve learned this summer, it is to never be afraid to be creative, bring your ideas into the space, and take chances to make it happen. We are at a time in our lives where we can make mistakes, own up to them, and stand up again with a new road map in our grasp. What’s special about working at Fulphil is being able to bring your creativity to your tasks and projects—and that is how you make something personable and unique to you and enjoy your experience to the fullest. I learned to be adaptive, flexible, and curious, which allowed me to take on many opportunities throughout this experience. I was given the opportunity to facilitate team and department meetings, create curriculum and content surrounding topics and issues that I was passionate about, and provide suggestions and ideas for future iterations of the internship program. 

I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to work and grow with the staff at Fulphil, and I know that the impact we are creating together is huge, despite not being able to see it immediately. For others interested in pursuing a path in social impact, know that what you do on a day-to-day basis is always valuable and will contribute to the larger organization in ways you may not expect. This learning experience has taught me that the work and effort one puts into anything is always impactful, beyond what is visible to the eye. With that in mind, I know that with everything that I put my energy and efforts into, I am making a difference and contributing to the gradual process of building and creating impact.

(3) My last few weeks with Science Clubs International

The opportunity to spend this summer working with Science Clubs International  (SCI) allowed me to grow and learn in many ways. Having the chance to be involved in such an impactful organization certainly shaped my goals for my professional career. I understand the importance of making science education accessible to spark social transformation, especially in Latin America where there aren’t as many opportunities in the field. Teaching high school and college students about the impact scientific research can have on the world and introducing them to the field is the way to create change-makers. Through engaging assignments, I have grown into a better educator, collaborator, student, researcher, coordinator, and team member. My confidence and understanding of non-profit STEM education has grown, and I know I want to continue collaborating and working with a project like this in the future.

During my time with SCI, my confidence working in a professional environment increased. As an intern, I have been involved in the growth, development, and organization of an SCI international event that will happen next month for over 300+ students from different countries. Every year, the organization hosts young scientists, graduate students, and postdocs to share their knowledge and stories about pursuing careers in science with high school and college students, and to organize workshops to offer a hands-on scientific experience for them. As I worked in the organization of the event, I demonstrated initiative by increasing the number of Brazilian students applying to the event. I improved my communication skills by translating the website, documents, and tutorials across three languages: Portuguese, Spanish and English. While I’m working at the event next month, I’ll be able to see all of our work actually coming to life.

I’m proud of all of the work I’ve been involved in this summer and grateful I had the opportunity to pursue this internship. For those interested in interning with SCI or a similar organization, I believe I can offer advice on how you can make the most of your internship experience.

The main advice I would give is to learn from the experience each professional brings to the team. I understand that as an intern, it may seem scary to approach them in the work environment, but most individuals are open to talking about their careers in and contributions to the STEM nonprofit sector. When I felt comfortable doing that, I received extreme support from those I work with, developed a professional relationship with them, and learned to better advocate for what I believe.

Working with SCI was an incredible experience. This is something that I have always wanted to do since I participated in one of their programs in high school, and being able to be on the inside and learn how everything is put together was a rewarding experience. I also loved reflecting on my experiences by writing these blog posts throughout the summer. I hope  these posts inspire other students to pursue similar internships and apply to be a part of the wonderful WOW cohort in the coming years.

Post 3 — Local News Fills the Void

Tragedy strikes Evansville whilst my internship is coming to a close: a house explosion, killing 3 people and destroying numerous houses, shakes the community. Although a sad way to leave Evansville, this rather abrupt close has prompted a lot of reflection on my part. Namely, in times like these, the importance of local journalism is abundantly clear. Although I have not been involved with this reporting, the experience of hearing and seeing how a newsroom mobilizes in times of crisis has been incredibly valuable. 

Photo courtesy Daniel Sarch / Courier & Press A house, located on 1010 N. Weinbach Ave. in Evansville, IN, exploded Wednesday evening. The explosion caused three deaths and damaged 39 houses.

This internship gave me so much perspective, both in being able to observe different communities’ and peoples’ ways of life, as well as providing me with insight on what careers/opportunities I wish to pursue in the future. I fell in love with this small but mighty newspaper, filled with bright and quiet (yet at the same time also tenacious) journalists.

This summer, I have identified what kind of workplace I value. I now know that I require a loud and busy environment in order to effectively work. I have also learned that I do not want a desk job. I want to work with people and do so in person (pending public health safety, of course). Due to office and family COVID-19 cases, I spent a lot of the summer working from home, something I would like to minimize going forward if possible. 

I am most proud of the connections I made in the community and my increased confidence in interviewing and writing. Little things like introducing myself on the phone to sources brought such a rush – “This is Jen Crystal with the Courier & Press. It was so exciting to claim belonging to an organization in that kind of way, and it was so rewarding to afterward have learned new things from interesting community members. My favorite thing about journalism has been and continues to be the level of trust sources put into their writers to honestly and respectfully portray themselves and their experiences. I think I have grown a lot as a writer and as an interviewer this summer, and I am immensely proud of that growth.  

Here is my advice to people hoping to enter or intern in this field: 

  • Be persistent – In finding sources, interviewing, and even in finding your internship, do not hesitate to go through unusual channels if your initial outreach doesn’t pan through.


  • If there isn’t an internship program in place, don’t let that hold you back – Although the Courier & Press does have an official internship program, I reached out to the newspaper’s editors and acquired my internship that way. Especially with programs like WoW, you can work with your employers to create a position if a formal/paid position does not exist or is not available.




(3) Wrapping Up

The more that I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I’ve felt this to be the case in life, and certainly in my work this summer. Working with Consensus, I very quickly found out the depth of knowledge involved in expertise in the field, and my own excitement to delve deeper.

Unsurprisingly, conflict resolution and peacekeeping is a vast field. I knew this going in. What I failed in some ways to grasp was the degree to which it is tied in with academia. There is a massive body of work dedicated to these topics, and leading experts whose studies are focused on these disciplines.

This is all to say that a person could devote a lifetime to the field. From the delicate intricacies of mastering one on one negotiation to the unbelievable complexities of resolving conflicts between millions of people, it’s a field that requires real expertise. For any good work, including social justice work, success is dependent on deep research and experience, and learning from others more knowledgable.

My own expertise is more limited, but I do have skills to bring to the table. I hope that what I have been working on will have some sort of impact at Consensus. I’ve worked hard to help develop their online presence, and I hope that they will continue to succeed in connecting and communicating with clients in some small part thanks to my work.

But I realize that I am working with a team of talented experts, people who happen to have studied communications extensively. These are people who I am lucky enough through this work to have had access to. Considering my desire to improve my own skills, I have tried my best to take the fullest advantage of this opportunity.

I think if I were to start over again, however, I would have worked harder to connect with and learn from the experts at Consensus Group. Working virtually makes forming professional connections more difficult, but that’s the reality of the world we are in today.

If I were to talk to someone just entering into the field like I did, I would give the same advice I wish I had: Do not shy away from talking with the people you work with, as it is all an opportunity to learn. The experience you have in work such as this is very much “what you make of it.” This is an opportunity to meet interesting people and learn more about a certain field, so use that chance to the fullest. While I was able to do this with some success, I wish I had done so more.

I have learned a lot from my work this summer, but I can see now how I have only scratched the surface. I hope to dig far deeper in the future, and to use this as a jumping off point for further work in the field of conflict resolution.

(3) Overall Experience at the Greenfield Court Service Center

Throughout this summer internship, I have learned so much, and learning feels like the number one thing I do every day. What stands out to me the most out of my entire experience is that you are not going to be able to help everyone. Sometimes you have to recognize when you are not the one to help, and either the person may have to figure it out on their own or there may be other resources for people to turn to. What is upsetting is people who we help in this work who we turn away do not have the resources to get the proper help. It can be hard to put your own personal feelings aside and not try to do everything in your power and do something small. An important and difficult skill to develop is learning how to turn people away. Along with putting feelings aside, it can be difficult to help someone who has done something terrible. Learning to respond in an appropriate and professional way to anyone who comes in is also essential. 

The stacks of resources to go through

One of the biggest impacts I had was updating all of the in-person resources/pamphlets and helping to create templates of information that future interns will use to guide litigants. Some of these resources have not been updated since 2016 or before the pandemic. A lot has changed, and many people turn to these physical handouts to further educate themselves. One of the big projects I undertook when days were slow was to go through stacks of papers, see if what is there is the most up to date information, and update the information if necessary. The templates will make it easier for the next interns to understand the basics of what litigants will need in basic scenarios. This will benefit the interns and will serve as a better helping hand to the managers and supervisors from the start.

Something I wish I knew before I started this internship was that this internship requires you to constantly learn as you go, and that nearly every case that comes in will not be super cut and dry. I expected to know every kind of situation in a general sense going in so I could be prepared for anyone. This simply is not possible. You must be prepared to adapt and try to do everything to the best of your abilities. At the end of the day it’s okay to make mistakes because white out will always be there!

The view in person at the Greenfield Court Service Center

If I could share pieces of advice for the next person who wants to pursue an internship or career in the Court Service Centers, there are two big things I would want to share. First, sometimes you are the person who takes the heat for not being able to assist someone and know that this is not your fault. And second, advocate for yourself and do not be afraid to help someone with an issue you have not seen before. Again, the biggest thing you will be doing is learning, so do not be afraid to dive right in. Overall, I am very appreciative of the experiences that have come out of this internship. I have been able to grow as a more confident person, and most importantly, I have been able to get a better understanding of the characteristics that I want in my future career.

(3) A Hard Farewell

At the beginning of my internship at Our Sisters’ School (OSS), I was naïve about the world of nonprofits. As a Title I, independent, tuition-free school, the dedication of its community members is vital for its success. I started in May knowing that my contributions would significantly aid the school, but I did not realize the impact the students and educators would have on me. As an alumna, I was nostalgic each moment I stepped foot on their campus, yet I was invigorated by the changes I witnessed daily. As a staff member, I experienced new additions to the school in a way that fueled my inner child like eating lunch and completing tasks in the outdoor classroom, creating pottery, and attending surfing camp (as a chaperone and camper). As a low-income student myself, I felt grateful for the opportunities OSS afforded me years ago. I now feel even more committed to their mission as I witness other kids with similar backgrounds experiencing even more than what I could. 

Students and Director Tobey Eugenio partaking in the Whipped Cream Challenge

One unique aspect of nonprofits is the unwavering commitment of the staff to the organization’s cause. To describe OSS’ team as dedicated is an understatement. My supervisor this summer, Tobey Eugenio, started at OSS during my 8th-grade year in 2016. As the Creative Director, she has encouraged students to view themselves as creators, engineers, and critical thinkers. She is who I think of when I encounter the term “social justice” within an education framework. As I worked to incorporate social justice in an educational context this summer, I realized that we need to help students redefine themselves. When working with kids from economically disadvantaged areas, there are more obstacles than what appears on the surface. OSS successfully educates students because they provide a space for authenticity and recreation. When a student can view themself as capable and intelligent, we see the barriers begin to dissipate.

Students receiving signed copies of “Strong is the New Pretty” by author and photographer, Kate Parker

A facet of OSS that should be applied to other institutions of education is the dissociation of grades and success. Students are encouraged to try their best and are supported when they find material challenging. In addition to providing support, OSS strays from traditional academia. While they still offer the necessary classes, they expand these constraints through their Creative Suite, offering courses such as Art and STEAM. The interdisciplinary nature allows students to discover their niche and releases the pressure to just be “smart” in a society where the term does not have to be defined one way. OSS’s students are intelligent, courageous, persistent, and always ready to try something new. When approaching an internship or career within education, especially if you plan to serve a disadvantaged population, it is paramount to get to know your students. Without understanding your students’ backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses, you will never be able to justly serve them. 

I am honored to have spent my summer back at my home base, where the foundation was set for me. I genuinely associate my personal and academic successes to the characteristics that were instilled in me during my time at OSS. I am eager to see what the future will hold for them. Thank you to the Social Justice World of Work Fund for enabling me to complete this work. Most importantly, a huge appreciation to the OSS team for being the most supportive and committed team—you are the reason change endures. 

Wrapping Up My Internship at USUN

Manny with U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

My learning goals have definitely changed a bit since first establishing them before my internship. For example, I came to understand and value the importance of doing a wide range of jobs in my internship – whether it be picking up food for a meeting, note taking, or attending a conference. I realized that rather than choosing one specific type of job or focus area, I preferred and would find more value in taking on anything that came my way. I would say I definitely ended up reaching this goal; one co-worker noted that they appreciated my offering to help out with “whatever, whenever.” I have definitely run into information and experiences that have challenged my beliefs, and come to a better understanding of some of the ideological sacrifices one may choose to make (or choose not to make) in working under the guise of a larger organization, or in my case, the government of the United States.

My career interests have certainly shifted. For example, after hearing about the life that Foreign Service Officers in the State Department commit to (moving to a different post every 3 years, sometimes with little choice), I decided that may not be the best option for me. Other opportunities, such as working for other government agencies or in a Civil Service posting in the Department of State seem more like opportunities I’d like to pursue. I still remain uncertain about my career interests, though; the choice still remains between a domestic-focused career and more of an international-focused career, and I hope to clarify these interests in the future.

Over the course of the internship, I’ve come to enjoy the day-to-day interactions with those around me. Whether it be chatting over coffee, a quick work question, or just catching up, these interactions were so important for building valuable connections.

If I could give one piece of advice to someone looking to intern for the Department of State (or more specifically, the U.S. Mission to the UN), it would be that it’s helpful to know what you want. While I certainly got by with my “whatever, whenever” preference, I think it could be really helpful to have a specific area (whether it be a specific type of policy, geographic region, or otherwise) that you “specialize” in. The State Department is structured in a way that those who have a specific focus can really excel in what they do.

One piece of information that I think is important to those going into international diplomacy-focused fields is that small wins and compromises can go a long way. When you show a partner (or enemy) that you’re willing to work with them, they can and will value and trust you. This may lead to specific policy outcomes that are more beneficial to your positions.

This summer, I’m most proud that I got to experience global events on the micro-level. Whether it was note taking for a Security Council meeting on Ukraine or drafting a recommendation for a meeting, I had the opportunity to see and interact with these events, and U.S. policy related to them, up close. I may be mistaken, but I think it’s generally rare to have an internship that gives such up-close access to matters of high importance. I’m proud that I was able to witness these events on a near-daily basis, and that I could always do work that carried meaning and importance.

(3) A Lesson in Collaboration at NNABI

I had an incredible time at my summer internship with NNABl, a women’s health startup that is creating a natural supplement for women experiencing perimenopause, the lesser-known stage prior to menopause. The experience has given me valuable insight into the world of work due to its focus on entrepreneurship. The brand has yet to launch, and plans to do so in March, meaning that my internship was crucial in laying the groundwork for their branding and consumer interaction.

Because the company is still in its infancy, I was given a unique perspective working directly with NNABI’s founders. I learned of the many factors someone needs to consider when starting a company, ranging from the look of the website to social media outreach to analyzing the results of a clinical trial. I can confidently say that if I had worked for a larger, already-established company, my work would not have been as varied nor as important to the company’s growth as it was with NNABI. An important lesson I learned was that working for a small company means you experience incredible highs, such as hearing good reviews from the trials, as well as incredible lows, such as seeing other, larger companies, making similar product claims as you are.

In terms of social justice, I have learned a valuable lesson about empowerment. While knowledge and research on perimenopause is growing among experts, there is still much work to be done to educate the general public about the symptoms that women go through and how they can impact a woman’s life. It was uplifting to see my bosses recognize a growing field and ask themselves how they could contribute to solving a problem that they themselves were experiencing. There is a lot of social injustice aligned with women’s health, particularly in issues like the gender data gap, the lack of comprehensive sexual education, and the misdiagnoses of women experiencing perimenopause. However, NNABI has made it clear that they do not plan to shy away from any of these, and their efforts have been reflected in my work for this summer, like the conversational “cheat sheet” between patients and doctors and a survey asking younger women about their views on menopause.

There are many things that I wish I knew before I started my internship. The first is that time management is a crucial part of any job, but especially in a virtual internship. The fact that there was no office for me to commute to meant I was the one holding myself accountable for getting the work done. It is important to know yourself and how you work, so planning my work time has been crucial for my success. Another important lesson is to adapt to your supervisor’s leadership style. I had gone into the internship assuming I would be given orders and tasks only, but due to the small nature of the company, my relationship with my bosses was much more collaborative. It meant I had to be much more creative with my work and come up with ideas outside of my tasks.

Finally, I would say a good piece of advice for anyone wanting to pursue an internship in women’s health is that you must learn how to collaborate with everyone.  My internship in women’s health was marked by the constant collaboration that my bosses and I had with other women, some of whom weren’t even involved with NNABI. One of my supervisors is involved with a company called Chief, a networking community for women, and through that service, we were able to meet with lifestyle influencers, naturopaths, doctors, and graphic designers, each with unique advice to give. The lesson is that nothing can be gained from not reaching out to others, and it is always beneficial to ask for advice if you need it—a message that will continue to be helpful for me during my time as Brandeis.

Post 3 — Mapping Out an Internship

Overall, I have mixed feelings about my internship due to the mixed experience. Since I was split between two different areas and skillsets within the same building, I made less progress exploring either than I originally hoped.

While my archival work proved fruitful, I am just finishing the mass inventory and categorization. If I had been in that space 3 or 4 times a week instead, I would have been able to plumb my interest in archival work further. Conversely, if I had spent more time in the New Orleans Jazz Museum, I would have grown more accustomed to planning and management, marketing strategies, and the development of the Museum.

Nonetheless, I was interested in both parts of the Museum, so I feel that the depth vs. width tradeoff was necessary, if not regrettable. Working in the archives has still forced me to think about historical categorization in significant ways, and I hope I get to keep working or volunteering in the field.

I believe this internship has helped cement that my writing and synthesis skills need to be a part of my job. Even if it is not the kind of writing I am familiar with, it was a bit of a fun puzzle writing newsletters and memos to potential donors. I had to excerpt all the vital pieces of information, order them properly, and ensure that all my descriptions were concise. In the past, I have struggled to keep my writing brief, so it was refreshing to have the professional and creative boundary that short-form writing provides.

At the same time, I have also learned that I enjoy having some kind of long-term goal to work towards. Many of my projects in the Museum were self-contained, so I spent one to two days working on them and finished. However, some of the work I found most engaging was exploring how the Museum will conduct its Gala auction later in the year. I worked with the Museum’s Squarespace website to best design forms and spreadsheets collecting information about donations, and I assessed auction websites for best results. I did not anticipate these tasks pulling me in, but I think the feeling of the different functions building on each other was a satisfying progression for me. In my future internships, work, and academic life, I will have to experiment with more ways to monitor my own goals and progression to best enhance my work.

If another student were interested in an internship at the Jazz Museum, I would recommend committing to a single field in most cases. And above all else, ask for work whenever you can! The Jazz Museum has a relaxed work environment, but most of the staff have so many different jobs that even taking one to two extra small 15-minute tasks a day helps everybody. Plus, it opens communications and makes sure that if your supervisor hears about a job, you are on their radar as a potential candidate.

For students interested in the field, I would highly recommend attaching goals to all tasks you receive. While it seems simple, it is easy to fall into the trap of compiling information for no exact purpose. Suddenly, you have thirty quotes when you needed four and the editing time has shot up from 30 minutes to 3 hours.

This review sounds more negative than my genuine opinions on the internship due to the way I criticize myself and my work, so I will end by discussing the work for which I feel most proud. My work in the Museum has been the most eye-opening for me since I have found new fields to which my skills apply. My time in the museum has also helped me analyze my work patterns; however, in terms of accomplishment, my work in the archives is my best.

As of the writing of this blog post, I have categorized over 1,500 items in the Louisiana Historical Center, and I am satisfied with that. The quantity is relevant of course but feeling out the process and finding both the fun and rhythm within the work has been a key takeaway from this internship.

Gaze upon my works- the 1500 maps I ended up categorizing lay within all these cabinets.

(3) Becoming more familiar with an office job

Working for BAGLY Inc. this summer has been very informative for me in regards to social justice and nonprofit work, as well as learning how an office job works. This has been an especially amazing way for me to learn about work after college because it is explicitly safe for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The organization is staffed by many people within the queer community and its purpose is to help the members of the LGBTQ+ community. My coworkers and bosses have all helped make this an informative work environment while feeling socially comfortable within my own identity. Although this internship has been mostly online, I have gone into the office once to do some written work and it was interesting seeing such a safe queer working environment. The office also functions as a community center for Boston, so it has a very safe and open feel to it.

While I was at BAGLY Inc. as an intern, I mostly did work behind the scenes that most people would not see. My impact mainly took work off the plates of the paid employees and made it easier for them to do less monotonous and more person-to-person work. I essentially helped BAGLY function better by doing administrative work such as sending emails to donors or thank you letters to people for donating. Although this is not very direct work for social justice, it does help to get more donations for BAGLY that can then enable the company to grow and help more people. It has also been nice seeing my coworkers help the company grow along by doing similar work because we know what we are doing is meaningful and a good cause. Getting to know my coworkers who are within the LGBTQ+ community also helps expand my connections as well as expands the LGBTQ+ community. My coworkers and I have come a long way since we first met.

Starting at BAGLY, I wish I had not been so afraid to meet and get to know my coworkers. Sometimes I can be hesitant in social situations and this time I was very hesitant. Through working at BAGLY, I have learned how amazing and supportive my coworkers are. This will help me greatly in a post-college career because I know not to be afraid to reach out and make connections. I have especially grown to know my coworker Mary, who is the one always in the office.

Someone who is going into the social justice or nonprofit field cannot be afraid to make connections. Connections are extremely important not only to secure a job, but also for doing anything within the field. If one needs people to donate, someone to write a blog post, or speak at an event, then one must be able to make connections. Social justice is not an easy field for a career, but it can be an extremely satisfying one if one truly believes in what they are doing.

Wrapping up an Incredible Experience

I’m so thankful I’ve had the opportunity to be an intern at Southwick’s Zoo this summer! I’ve been able to accomplish my original learning goals while gaining valuable insights along the way. I’ve had the opportunity to work with almost all of the intern birds and in depth with a specific few. This has allowed me to gain real-world experience in training and conditioning behaviors, and I’ve been able to do more than I expected.

The beautiful female eclectus parrot Amber Rose

I’m still implementing a training project I drafted for one of the birds, Kiki, in order to stethoscope-train her so that she’s comfortable with having a stethoscope on her chest during veterinary exams. The process of designing her training plan was useful in and of itself, because it taught me how to break down behavioral training into achievable steps. Inevitably, unanticipated deviations happened almost immediately that I then had to problem-solve. For example, Kiki has a habit of bobbing up and down between cued behaviors, which causes her to become distracted and makes training more difficult. I found I had to start training a different cue to help keep her calm and still between cues so that training could progress. The progress I’ve made with her will be continued by staff members after my internship ends, but it is rewarding to have started her down this path.

A very silly Emu

Another goal I fulfilled was contributing to education about wildlife conservation. In addition to outreach during the shows, I also participated in EARTH Awareness Day on August 6th, where groups of interns made projects centered around any pressing conservation issue. My group chose to talk about how dangerous the illegal pet trade is for the captured animals themselves, the humans who attempt to keep them as pets, and the environment on a larger scale. For this project, I spent a great deal of time researching this issue and how it intersects with other environmental issues. We centered our discussion around a specific species, the cotton-top tamarin, which is critically endangered (there are only about 2,000 mature individuals left). They not only have been taken for the pet trade (and used as test subjects in colon cancer studies), but also have been severely impacted by deforestation and urban sprawl. My group put together a poster presentation as well as creating three interactive activities. We presented this to the public all day, and I enjoyed talking to people about this issue. We were able to talk about ways to help, and for those interested in concretely helping cotton-top tamarins, we encouraged them to look into Proyecto Tití, an organization that specifically focuses on aiding this species. It was nice to see how receptive zoo visitors were and to see them enjoying our activities.

Pongo, a red-legged seriema

In addition to gaining skills and experience in both the animal care and conservation outreach areas, I’ve also gained insight about my learning style in the workplace. Figuring out how I take in and process information has been helpful, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone has helped me feel more confident and capable. For example, now I’m able to comfortably stand on a stage in front of a large crowd and give informal presentations. Overcoming my fear like this has taught me that as long as I do something I initially find intimidating a few times, I become desensitized to the feeling and can move past it more quickly than I realized. This lesson will stay with me as I move forward.

For anyone interested in pursuing an internship at Southwick’s Zoo, I highly recommend it. One practical piece of advice I’d give for those doing a summer internship is to stay hydrated! Half the day at work is spent outside where it’s insanely hot, and the other half is inside (where it’s actually even hotter). So drink a lot and be prepared to sweat a lot! Also, be prepared for longer hours than expected in the beginning of the internship. It takes a fair amount of time to learn the specific terminology used and to learn how to perform a plethora of niche tasks both efficiently and quickly. There are also different protocols for indoor vs. outdoor husbandry, and even different rules for each specific bird, so the days often ran long for the first few weeks. You don’t clock out until you ensure all tasks are complete and the animals are cared for (as it should be, because their well-being depends on it), so having a flexible schedule is necessary. It’s also good to be aware that despite being fun and rewarding, working in the animal care field isn’t always glamorous. Most of the day is manual work, and while it may not be lifting heavy weights all the time (which depends on the department and what animals you’re working with), it is still constant movement and a lot of crouching in awkward spaces. A large part of husbandry is cleaning poop, so if you have a sensitive nose or get easily grossed out, be prepared!

Glamorous or not, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this internship. It has been impactful and has helped clarify my career direction. My interest in animals started before the internship, but I didn’t anticipate just how much I’d enjoy working with them! I really loved bonding with the animals and being part of a team that helps make sure they have the best care possible. Educating the public and contributing to conservation efforts was also a meaningful pursuit for me. I am enormously grateful to the W.O.W fellowship for helping to support me during this incredible experience! 

All the bird interns together — we received paper plate awards with a feather from the bird our supervisors thought matched our personalities the best. I received the honor of a Pongo feather!

(3) The Value of Experience

There is no better teacher than experience. Being an intern allows you to gain work experience and helps you to understand the inner workings of a field. Even when the internship doesn’t live up to your expectations, it still provides a valuable learning opportunity. While interning at Someone Cares Atlanta, I learned many important lessons, although they were not necessarily the lessons that I wanted to learn when I started my internship this summer. 

When I applied to intern, I was interested in doing outreach work with people who have been exposed to or have contracted HIV. Unfortunately, I was not able to do this during my time at Someone Cares. Instead, I worked primarily with clients participating in the Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse program (IOP). This provided me the opportunity to learn about how intensive outpatient programs were run and operated. I was able to look into the lives of people recovering from substances and understand them better. I also learned about the link between substance abuse and mental health and how mental illness can be a co-morbidity for addiction. Many people turn to substance abuse due to untreated mental illness. This emphasized to me the importance of making sure everyone has access to mental health services.

During my time at Someone Cares, I also learned the importance of clear communication. Unfortunately, my internship was sometimes hampered by the failure to communicate important information and general disorganization. For example, I arranged for the first day of my internship to be June 6; however, when I arrived they were unsure of who I was or what to do with me for almost an hour. Problems like this persisted throughout my internship experience, many of which could have been avoided through communication from management. I believe one solution would have been allowing me to have access to general communication channels for my department so I could stay in the loop.

Despite some of the setbacks, I believe I was able to have a positive impact during my internship. I assisted with the intensive outpatient program group and provided consistency for clients since I was the only person who was in the office every day. I also helped to lessen the load placed on case managers by doing administrative tasks and data entry. Overall, I was able to improve the quality of life for both employees and clients.

One thing I wish I understood back when I started my internship is the importance of knowing what you want to get out of an internship and being able to advocate for it. This is especially important when you’re not participating in an established internship program. If there is a particular experience that you are looking forward to getting during your internship, you should let your supervisor know. Being an intern is about gaining experience and opportunities for growth. It is important to take an active role in your internship experience.

For someone looking to find an internship, I would recommend interning with an organization with an established program or an organization that is willing to work with and support you as an intern. If you’re not participating in a program, I would meet beforehand to establish an itinerary for the internship. Overall, I believe it’s beneficial for someone interested in social justice to do an internship. The work is not easy and the world of nonprofits can be a little disorganized, but the opportunity to have an impact on even one person’s life is why I came to Brandeis.