Since my last post, I’ve become more comfortable with my rubber-man intern position. Unlike the other interns, who are all assigned to a single department, my work divvied up between policy (related to the No Child Left Inside Act), education (writing, editing, and revising environment-themed lesson plans) and green schools (constructing a garden, aka manual labor in the sun with a group of high school students). The past week was the busiest I’ve been at work all summer– from one moment to the next i had an assignment from International, and assignment from Green Schools, the option of going to Anacostia to work on the garden and lesson plans in need of editing, all in addition to the bottomless policy assignment I’d been working on the week before.
Today was quiet. I reformatted a lesson plan, we took an extended lunch break to go to froZENyo on F & 10th, and had an awesome almost-2hr presentation from my official supervisor about his experiences from his trip to Louisiana last month, the history of BP, and various other topics relating to the Deepwater Horizon spill. Afterward, he and I spoke a little about the history of the environmental movement, I gave some feedback on the content on the website, and I got a list of good books to read on the subject. I realized I wished there was a class on the environmental movement, the way I’m sure there is for the civil rights movement, and how important it is to have that enriched worldview that allows one to put current events into historical perspective.
DC is a small city. It’s not uncommon to run into people you know, whether walking down the street in Georgetown or browsing the goods at a farmer’s market. The Green Schools intern went to a performance of Avenue Q a couple weeks ago and saw the International Programs and Events directors on a date while waiting on the concessions line. We saw Gareth’s suitemate at the boathouse, and I’m starting to recognize people at Trader Joe’s. I rode my bike down near-empty streets to and from Metro Center today during my lunch hour, and when I got back the IT guy said he saw me riding. Here, my “it’s okay, I’ll never see any of these people again” mentality (used to justify going outside in yoga pants/PJs, talking loudly about personal topics with friends, etc) probably isn’t such a great idea. There’s no crowd to disappear into, and I definitely see the same people more often than I’d ever have expected.
Read Full Post »
On Thursday, before our networking event, I had my first debate. I prepared my arguments well, I had many things to say, except I didn’t. We won all the same, because the arguments were good, but their delivery failed. Tomorrow is the second debate for me and the last for all of us. we will have a certificate of some sort that we complete the debate training.
Last week I finally mee with the visiting fellow – I am his research assistant for the next 3.5 weeks. Since it’s such a short time, he just said that I can help him monitor the news starting today.
On a positive note, I met with this professor at SAIS and we went to lunch, and had an interesting discussion. I am looking forward to more of this kind of meetings.
I think this is my down point of the internship – I am leaving now in less than 3.5 weeks and would really like to stay longer. I like DC a lot, and I really love the work atmosphere, besides the constant stress. I think I am just not managing my time properly, but it’s extremely hard with 7 people in the same open space and about 6 more walking in and out of their offices past me.
Read Full Post »
Now that I have my laptop back from its repairs, I’m going to attempt to get back in the habit of posting twice a week.
The pace of my internship has picked up a little, though we’re still largely unsupervised, and I’m still in the gray area between two departments. I’ve been working on the set of garden-related lesson plans– today I began a segment on native food species, the Three Sisters (corn, bean and squash), and how foods grown in North America have changed over time. Last Thursday, we had a one-day assignment of making chart- and graph-based algebra problems about solar panels. I spent Wednesday scouring the internet and all the online databases we can access through the CCNY library for cite-able information regarding the benefits of school gardens.
Today the weekly staff meetings were reinstated, so I got a chance to hear about what’s being done in each of the departments. Later this afternoon, there was a brainstorm for the theme/tagline for Earth Day 2011. We didn’t come up with a final decision, but the (extremely democratic) process was a lot of fun, and it felt pretty awesome to be able to have such a say in what a billion people will be celebrating next April.
I’m looking forward to the Campus Progress conference tomorrow and Thursday, followed by Friday at the office (finally finishing the garden lesson plan drafts?), two friends and my brother coming down for the weekend to celebrate my birthday, and breaking ground on the school garden in Anacostia next week! Weather aside, it’s all looking good
Read Full Post »
This week I had my first Debate Clinic. It was informative. There will be one more information session today and the first debates starts next Tuesday. My partner and I debate next Thursday and Thursday following that one. This is exciting and stressful. But I am looking forward to it. This is my challenge. Actually, we should organize a debate training session in our school. It’s an essential skill for effective policy presentation and communication! What about a debate class?
There was also an interesting event of media coverage of Africa: too many biases, too little interest, and the least amount of funding for media coverage of Africa. For example, Washington Post has 1 permanent correspondent for the whole continent. Sad.
On Wednesday we finally had our team meeting. we went to lunch – our visiting fellow, boss, coordinator, 4 interns and fellow coworker. It was a good “event” – a semi-formal get-to-know-you kind-of thing.
I am responsible for writing a blog that will go on our website. So I have to have my proposal by the beginning of the afternoon, and draft by the end of tomorrow. I’ve never written a blog entry of that kind before. Wish me luck!
Read Full Post »
Last Friday we had a morning event ambassadorial briefing on the newly released paper on strategy in Afghanistan. It went well. I liked the presentation (heard it for the 2nd time). The proposal is to renew Afghanistan’s status of Silk Road. This requires strategic long term investment into infrastructure which will help Afghans and others do business. As has been proven many times over, countries that rely on each other economically do not go to war (think Germany and France and European Union). That’s the idea. After we had a lot of leftover fruits and cake – the whole floor had ambassadorial breakfast =)
For the rest of the day we had things to do, events to attend, a bit of Friday socializing. Around 2:30 I started freaking out that I didn’t write ay reports and the day was almost over, I was all focused on the computer screen. Out of nowhere came my coordinator and quickly said something like “lets go to the conference room, we need to talk about your report ASAP!” By the time I got up form my desk he was already gone. I quickly followed him into the conference room where the lights were off for some reason. I turn them on and “SURPRISE!” from 10 other interns on the floor – it was my birthday surprise! =) they sat me down on a chair, gave me a card and 2 boxes of ice-cream to hand out as cake. It was really sweet of them. It was a great surprise.
The workday ended at 6 – I did have to finish my work before leaving.
Read Full Post »
OK I have not blog in a really long time, truth of the matter I’m not fond of blogging and being witness of the relevance that this media has in my organization, I reinforce my position. I like Editors.
However, you got do, what you got do. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. I’m working on the diversity department, which basically have the mission to create alliances with other civil rights organizations to promote policies of mutual interest. Of course the department manages several issues, from African American LGBT population in colleges to LGBT population in their path to citizenship.
My first weeks in the office people from the outside asked my why to work in an LGBT organization? Are you gay? Well, it is extremely awkward to me when people ask me why do I have social sensitivity, or why do I care about other people being discriminating against.
For know the organization is working resignedly in repudiate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by the end of the summer, there are 5 more weeks and we just keep calling people, encouraging them to leave messages to their senators or to write them directly. I’m not quite sure if senators listen to their constituency but as I heard that was a good strategy during the hearings in the house.
I’m rolling over different projects, for know we are trying to encourage residents to become citizens, which is a long term political strategy that I really like. I came along with a project called social justice sexuality, which I will share details later, but it’s extremely interesting, and today I will participate in a meeting for women leadership campaign, which I hope it’s going to be quite interesting.
I will be able deepen into the projects in further posts, and how they are related with public policy. For know I have to go back to Mss Kagan hearings,
Read Full Post »
—I tried posting this yesterday, but somehow it didn’t go through…—
As the week draws to a close, it’s hard to recollect exactly how I’ve spent the hours between 9:45 and 5:45 each day. I’ve spent a large chunk of time working on a set of lesson plans for elementary and middle school social studies classes, which involves a huge amount of frustrating research. Yesterday, two of the other interns and I were given the task of researching statistics describing the benefits of school gardens to students (nutrition, exercise, self-esteem, etc), teachers (incorporation into the curriculum, improved test scores, improved behavior/creativity, etc) and schools. There was actually very little published research–only a handful of semi-useful articles and reports, many of which were anecdotal. However, after a day and a half of scouring the internet (thanks to our respective school library proxy sites), the three of us amassed a decent amount of data. In addition to being a Green Schools resource going forward, the communications department will use our findings to write/support the feature or op-ed piece they’re writing and trying to place in magazines.
I spent the afternoon folding Green Schools pamphlets for an upcoming conference and starting to read the Kerry book on environmentalism, copies of which pretty much line the conference room shelves.
The office tends to be permanently at half-capacity during World Cup games, so no one said anything about the JLo songs playing from the other intern’s iPhone…
Read Full Post »
This week has been a mix of busy, not so busy, slacking off, and racing. Tomorrow we have a pretty important briefing with Ambassadors or their representatives on the Afghan strategy presentation. I am lucky to be at the office when such a big event is happening.
My biggest achievements so far were establishing connections with two pretty impressive people. I say this because I am always nervous about writing that follow up email, and numerous times before I have missed the window of opportunity. Not this week! So I hope to keep the spirit up and practice my networking skills some more tomorrow.
Another pre-achievement was signing up for debate training. There will be 6 training sessions and one speed debate tournament in a month from now with everyone from the office present (if they want to, of course, but considering that there will be food – they will be). I undertook this assignment to improve on some essential skills. I feel proud.
Today I finally managed to finish up on some of the many things I have to do. One was submission of yet another report; my coordinator said he likes it. I am glad.
Read Full Post »
The day after my first post, one of the communications interns turned to me and said that he read my blog post. As an Education/Policy intern, I haven’t contributed anything to the organization’s blog, and was confused. He opened this blog and pointed to it. Apparently, this blog is way more public than I thought (actually, I hadn’t yet thought about it). My mention of the organization’s name sent my post to the email inbox of all the people in the communications department with google alerts set to the org’s name (and, I assume, its acronym as well).
I really did not write a happy post, so I’m hoping not too many people read it. It has since been revised to retain most of the content with a more positive tone.
Since then, I’ve had more work to do. The policy department considers me one of their interns (though still less so than the actual policy interns), and there’s usually something to be done there. However, I’ve teamed up with the Green School intern, who was having a really difficult time drafting a lesson plan. For the past few days we’ve come up with a set of three activities for either 3rd-5th or 6th-7th grade social studies classes. Today we presented the idea to the Green Schools Coordinator and Education Associate, who approved of our plans and progress, and also gave some helpful feedback. I’m hoping to get the lesson plan done by Friday and move on to helping the policy dept with launching their campaign re: the reauthorization of the federal child nutrition programs (this includes school lunches and a bunch of other really important food-related stuff). I had hoped to find an internship dealing with food policy, so naturally this is something I’m excited about.
I’ll be better about posting twice a week when I start doing more interesting things
Read Full Post »
This is the end of my third week and I finally have a chance to sleep late and relax with out having to worry about catching a bus or a plane. These past two weeks have been hectic to say the least. I have been back and forth from city to city and meeting to meeting. The work of a DC intern is never done! Last week in LA people only knew that I was an intern when I told them that I was. I did not receive any special treatment nor was I forced to watch the happenings of the conference from the sidelines. I had the opportunity to witness great discussions about disability rights and meet some really interesting people.
During this past week I went to several meetings that focused on various disability rights issues and I even had the opportunity to witness a hearing on the Hill. This upcoming week I will be responsible for preparing an issue brief that will be turned into the federal government. I’m excited!
Best Best Best,
PS I will post some pictures next week!
Read Full Post »