Summer Internship Series: My Summer in Civil Rights

Maddy Bellman ’18
My summer in civil rights - 2000px-seal_of_the_ohio_civil_rights_commission.svg_-150x150.png image #0Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Intern, Ohio Civil Rights Commission, Columbus, Ohio

My name is Maddy Bellman, and I’m currently a senior English major! Thanks to the Knowlton Center and Denison alumna Mary Turocy, I spent my summer in Columbus, Ohio, working with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) as the Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) intern.

As a PACE intern, my day-to-day changed quite a bit. I balanced working on my own projects, attending Commission meetings, and shadowing employees in intake, mediation, and follow-up conferences with charging parties. I also saw House of Representatives sessions, Senate subcommittee meetings, and contacted legislators to discuss their sponsored bills.

It was a new experience for me to work in an office for almost forty hours a week, and it certainly took some adjusting to. I had my own office, my own phone, and a normal lunch hour. The work was always changing, but I wished the office was busier and the work more urgent. Working for any part of the government often means slow yet purposeful progress, so while I appreciated the necessary steps we had to take when doing our work, I hope my post-graduate job will involve more exigent projects.

Sitting in on mediations between a charging party and a respondent opened my eyes to a possible career path after graduation. Sonya, an OCRC mediator, and I helped with a number of successful mediation between two parties, and our most notable mediation settled for almost fifty-thousand dollars.

It was great working with Sonya because she was always calm, impartial, and did everything she could to ensure a successful settlement. It takes a special type of person to be a mediator, and one of my coworkers said I’m well-suited for the position.

My largest project this summer was the standardization of 53 documents for the five regional OCRC offices. I worked with our Chief Legal Counsel on this project to make sure every document had the proper letterhead, grammar, and formatting, and the purpose of this process is to protect our office from potential legal issues down the road.

I noticed and corrected a number of inconsistencies in the documents I worked on, and my project supervisors appreciated this. This was a difficult and tedious project, but my project supervisor made it all worth it when she said I did “two years of work in two days”!

Thank you to the Knowlton Center and generous alumni who made this internship possible through financial aid and pre-internship preparation. I can’t thank Mary Turocy ’05 enough for sponsoring me as an intern this summer. I learned valuable lessons of compassion and selflessness from the dedicated, caring people I worked with, and I appreciated all of my time with them.