The Whole World at My Fingertips

I cannot begin to wrap my head around the fact that my eleven-week internship at the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is already coming to an end! It seems like just yesterday I was participating in orientation and nervously trying to speculate what my experience would entail. Thankfully, I can confidently say that my internship at the Consortium this summer has far exceeded my expectations. I worked with some of the top feminist scholars in the fields of security and development and made friendships with fellow interns that have greatly impacted my life.

Although a few short months ago I was in denial that my time at Boston College was quickly passing, my internship has made me extremely confident and excited about my future. As an International Studies major with a concentration in Ethics and International Social Justice, I have always known that I wanted to pursue a career in the field of humanitarian assistance and human rights violations. My work with the Consortium has validated that passion, but has also exposed me to the idea that a career goal can be achieved in many different ways. Although I still hope to work at an NGO or Think Tank that conducts academic research of human rights infringements after graduation, I have learned that many different disciplines and job opportunities can allow me to do this.

This summer I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Ghazal Zulfiqar, a feminist academic and director of the Social Enterprise Centre at L13879296_1238875846146805_2469084056047807131_nahore University. She spoke so candidly about her transition from a career in finance at Citibank to her present work conducting gender analysis of microeconomic policies on women in developing countries. Although I was amazed that she could have such a shift in careers, Ghazal’s story was a major learning moment in my internship. She taught me that all career experiences are important and can contribute greatly to your end goal, whether or not you know it in that moment. My internship at the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights has made me aware that studying International Studies allows me to follow my passion for human rights, but also exposes me to an enormous variety of jobs that can allow me to achieve my vocation in many different forms.

Written by Kathleen Callahan, BC Class of 2017

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UNICEF: Children First

“There was a time when I, like may, had been inclined to feel pity and see myself as a great savior swooping in. Now I know better. I sing it from the mountaintops, over and over again, as loud as I can: when you see people in the wake of a disaster, do not only count what has been taken from them; count what they have left. They may have been traumatized by the disaster, but they are not merely its victims. They are also its survivors”

  • Caryl Stern, CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF

This is the most inspired space I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Each person in this office knows that their work is meaningful, important and leading to tangible successes for children everywhere. Every phone call with a donor, ever successful lunch meeting, every school visit has the very real potential to save the life of a child. Like Caryl Stern, I know that many of us get wrapped up in the idea that we as Americans, as the privileged, are the world’s saviors but if I have learned anything from working at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is that without global support no long term impacts can be made. UNICEF as a whole and the women I worked with this summer truly embrace this idea. They are collaborative, supportive  and communicative. They have taught me that to be a global force you must have the determination and support of thousands of people. Working with this mindset made me value the time I had here and the work I was doing. It was amazing to know that even the menial tasks, like researching donors and sitting through meetings were some of the moving parts in effecting this global change.

I really love the UNICEF definition of Global Citizen. They say a global citizen is someone who understands interconnectedness, respects and values diversity, has the ability to challenge injustice, and takes action in a personally meaningful way. They encourage all of their employees to be global citizens and to encourage those around them to act as global citizens as well. My favorite piece of the definition is; to take action in a personally meaningful way, it inspires something greater. It felt incredibly pertinent to me as I read Cheryl Stern, CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s book. I felt overwhelmed by the stories she told. Saddened and discouraged by the fate of children. I was overcome by a feeling of inadequacy, feeling as though I could do nothing to help. Then I thought of the definition above, and how the action I was taking was personally meaningful. Maybe I am not at a place in my life where I can be donating thousands of dollars to this cause or traveling to world vaccinating children, but my work here at UNICEF made a difference, I contributed to an organization that is working to provide healthy and hopeful lives to children. I can not imagine working for a more wonderful organization.

My time here at the U.S. Fund has only strengthened my desire to work for UNICEF. I am more inspired each time I learn about their efforts. I hope to continue to pursue a career within the organization, hopefully shifting from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, to UNICEF Global. This would allow me to move away from the fundraising side of things and be more hands on in program organization and implementation. I know that whatever I choose to do I will have this wonderful team of women here at the U.S. Fund to support me. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to work at this organization and energized by knowing that this is what I some day hope to do.

 

Thank you so much for allowing me to have this opportunity, I can not imagine the summer without it.

Written by Molly Davis, BC Class of 2018

Victories in Court Didn’t Mean We Won

When I started this internship in May, I wanted to explore public defense and everything it had to offer. The people that made my internship much more than just a summer gig were a team of incredibly passionate lawyers, social workers, intake specialists, and investigators. They came in every morning ready to tackle the storm ahead, a storm that was always there. I got front row seats to murder trials and then backstage passes to lawyers decompressing in the break room. While I enjoyed learning about all the incredible work the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office does, it did help me realize I was not interested in this field.

The majority of our clients live below the poverty line, suffer from mental illnesses, and are repeat offenders. Solving their current legal issue is a band-aid to a much larger wound that is not only affecting the city of Providence but cities everywhere. For this reason, my career goals are still centered around the legal field but at a much “higher level”. While that “higher level” remains undefined, I want to attend law school after graduating from Boston College. All I know at the moment is that I want to be able to address this issues that our clients struggle with. Helping them win a court case never meant the bigger issue was solved,  and that bothered me all summer.

Even though my goals and interests shifted in the middle of my internship, I still gained an invaluable amount of knowledge while working. During my third or fourth week there, I started to realize a lot of our clients listed schizophrenia as a disability. I was perplexed because I was previously led to believe that schizophrenia was a very noticeable and hindering mental disorder. I engaged in a discussion with one of our social workers about it that resulted in an office-wide lecture about the different levels of schizophrenia, the history of diagnosing it, and how/why some clients might be wrongly diagnosed yet given treatment for it. Learning about this disorder did not necessarily change how we treated our clients but helped us understand cases better.

Although I am no longer interested in public defense, this summer was incredible, and I have the Boston College Career Center to thank for it. Without the support of the Career Center, I would not have been able to accept this internship which taught me an incredible amount about the justice system in Rhode Island and my desire for my future.

Written by Raf Torres, BC Class of 2018

Navigating Non-Profits

After studying abroad the fall semester of my junior year in Geneva, Switzerland, where I spent time learning about the operations of major international institutions and NGOs, I knew that I wanted to look for opportunities working for a smaller, more direct service oriented international non-profit. I spent a lot of time looking at the mission of NGOs in the Boston area and SBHF really stood out to me. The organization’s dedication to provide well-rounded health care to any patient that walks in the door, while also working to empower the community through a wide variety of programs, and its commitment to keeping a majority Haiti staff really drew me to SBHF. I think that this organization is an outstanding example of what holistic healthcare means. As the non-profit industry is incredibly vast, and this insight has provided me with the tools needed to navigate various opportunities in the future.

Going into my senior year at Boston College, my experience as the Development Intern for the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation has provided me with a sense of confidence and direction in my path for life after graduation. Having the opportunity to work alongside staff from various departments throughout the organization has given me insight about what each role entails and which types of roles I hope to see myself working towards. My experience at SBHF has also provided me with many of the technical skills needed for working in non-profits while also engaging my perspective on international development and global health work. I think the biggest takeaway I have gained from this experience is that with confidence, drive, and dedication to goal (or entire mission of an organization), it is possible to achieve incredible things. I witnessed this so many times in my work at the organization, whether it be the installing of a waterline in the rural mountain town, flying in patients that could not be treated anywhere else in the country, or the treatment of a burn victims with a new skin graft machine. There have been so many times where I have been in awe of the work and people involved with SBHF both in the Newton office and in Haiti, and I am very humbled to be have been a part of it.

 

Career Outcomes: The Importance of Legal Advocacy and The Many Hats of an Employee at a Small Nonprofit

Career Outcomes: The Importance of Legal Advocacy and The Many Hats of an Employee at a Small Nonprofit

            Over the past 10 weeks, I have had the pleasure of working in all facets and sectors of  the Maine Youth Court (see my last blog post for more information about the Maine Youth Court and how I got connected with the organization).  This internship has given me great insight into the impact of restorative justice, and the power of social justice on the lives of youths and their families, and the work of employees at a small nonprofit.

Through this internship, I have been able to combine my interest of social justice and service with my enthusiasm for the law. I have seen the flaws, but also the positive hope of the Juvenile Justice System in the State of Maine and the nation as a whole. One of my most predominant roles as an intern for the Maine Youth Court has been to oversee hearings and advice students on legal dispositions. This role has provided me with the opportunity to see youths take accountability for their actions and work to repair the harm that they have caused. The Maine Youth Court is a program that not only provides offending youth with a second chance – by keeping offenses off their records and connecting them to the community, it equips them with the resources and support needed to succeed. The Maine Youth Court is an inspiring organization that has fueled my desire to fight for social justice and serve my community through legal advocacy.

This internship has taught me two remarkably important things as I work to pursue and create a career path:Additionally, this internship has transformed my career interests and most likely, my career path through the knowledge of the work at small nonprofits. The Maine Youth Court consists of two full-time employees and 75 active- trained youth volunteers. The burden of work that falls on the shoulders of the two full-time employees is remarkable and distinct. Not only do these employees advocate for the diversion of youth, conduct intake meetings, oversee hearings, and manage cases, they write grants for funding, manage the budget, and conduct all the marketing and outreach for the organization. I have learned that if I were to work at a small, legal nonprofit, I would not only work in legal advocacy but in finance, management, marketing, and administration. Furthermore, I have learned that the environment of the Maine Youth Court, and many other small nonprofits that I have worked with, may not be as face-paced as I would like in the organizations or companies that I work for.

  • I definitely do want to attend law school and work in legal advocacy
  • I want to work in a larger organization or company.

I am beyond grateful of my time with the Maine Youth Court, which has also lead me to a small work shadow of a judge at the District Courthouse in Portland, ME, because it has been amazingly interesting, educational, and most importantly enjoyable.

Written by Dylan Tureff, BC Class of 2019

Speaking my Truth…

Entering this internship at the beginning of the summer, I had a vision for my future: fuse my passions for health care and economics to work towards health equity and equal opportunity. However, I wasn’t certain how to actively pursue it because I hadn’t made any definitive decisions about career paths. My internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center guided me in this exploration and opened my eyes to various ways to incorporate my broad interests in a future career.

While the primary focus of my internship was research, I had the opportunity to network with various health care professionals, which aided in my career exploration. I was able to see multiple facets of working in a hospital environment – clinical, research, financial, and administrative. While I spoke to professionals with a diversity of backgrounds and in a variety of settings, all of them emphasized the importance of working as a team with other individuals. In order to attain better outcomes, information must be effectively communicated and patient care must be carefully coordinated. Within a hospital environment, everyone has a part in bettering the outcome and experience of the patient. Having the opportunity to see various roles (direct and indirect) of the patient care team allowed me to see that one can make an impact in healthcare without necessarily being a doctor, or even a clinician. While my career goals have changed slightly, I still desire to make a positive impact via pursuing a career in health care.

One of my biggest learning moments for the summer was actually outside the hospital where I observed my supervisor’s work in community health. In this setting, I witnessed a host of activities: the grant-writing process, long-term goal setting, and neighbor-to-neighbor outreach in the community, all of which require coordination and collaboration.  In discussing the organization’s conditions for success, an Americorps Public Ally shared a tenant she learned in her program – “speak your truth.” She explained that this means not only speaking honestly, but also speaking what you, as a unique individual, know to be true. During my experiences with this community organization, I learned that this means you can’t make assumptions that everyone thinks the same way you do. You can’t speak on behalf of others, but you can speak on behalf of what you know to be true – your vision for the future.

This summer I learned how to pursue my vision for the future and how to really own it.  Just because my career goals change, doesn’t mean my vision for the future has to. I know that wherever I end up, I will be taking an active part in the the pursuit for health equity and equal opportunity to survive and thrive. That’s my truth that I will speak.

Written by Katie Wheeler, BC Class of 2017

A Vision.

yoo2I cannot believe that it has already been eight weeks! In those eight weeks, not only have I met about twenty different children, but I have also had a glimpse into the hardships each child encounters every day of his or her life.

Working at a clinic that is specialized in occupational therapy services gave me the confidence that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Each child that comes into our clinic presents different needs and struggles. One child can have a very defensive tactile system while another child has severe emotional dysregulations. During the first half of the internship, I spent my time in the background, watching how my senior therapists would react to a certain child. I learned how to distinguish whether a child’s behavior is the result of a physical or sensory need versus a behavior that is just plain naughty. During the second half of my internship, I tried to really implement the techniques and strategies I picked up. I learned that some children have an easier time understanding verbal cues while other children are better able to control their bodies when they are receiving exterior pressure like a massage.

yoo1Working with this camp has opened my eyes to the reality of occupational therapy and how necessary the profession is. I also learned how creative and flexible it can be, especially when working with children! We had arts and craft classes every week for these children to work on their fine motor skills. Many of these kids have a hard time cutting with scissors and working with glue. We even had cooking class every week for children to explore different kinds of food in a fun way! Most of the children that come to camp are picky eaters, on medication that reduce their appetite, or even a complete loss of appetite as a result of social anxiety. Through cooking, we try to show them that these new fruits and vegetables are okay and actually even fun to eat!

I am not a hundred percent sure whether or not I want to pursue a career in pediatrics but I am two hundred percent sure that I want to go into occupational therapy. I want to be able to help the individual live a life as normal as possible despite any hardships or struggles he or she may be facing. Struggles can range from physical shortcomings, emotional trauma, neurological issues,etc.

I am excited to see where the future will take me as I apply to graduate school this fall. I want to learn all there is to occupational therapy and start working!!

Written by Joyce Yoo, BC Class of 2017