Summer Internship Series: A Summer of Justice

Imaa Nicco-Annan ’18

Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, Washington, D.C.

My name is Imaa Nicco-Annan and I am a senior at Denison University majoring in International Studies with a concentration on human rights and women empowerment, and a minor in French. This summer I had the privilege of working in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Washington, DC.

Human Rights Watch is a renowned, American-founded international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The organization is known for its neutral reporting, accurate fact-finding, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy. This is often in collaboration with local human rights groups. Human Rights Watch also publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media, some of which we, as interns, had the privilege of drafting.

My responsibilities as the Africa Division Intern were to draft reports and documents regarding issues in Africa while interacting with other US and international organizations, and foreign and domestic government officials.  A typical day of work involved monitoring the media for human rights issues occurring in select countries in West Africa; namely Senegal, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Gambia. My colleagues and I were assigned typical intern tasks such as filing and scanning documents, attending external meetings, flagging and sending emails regarding important press releases. However, we were also given a lot of leeway to work on tasks that were more geared towards our personal interests.

Human Rights Watch organized weekly “Speaker Series” where professionals within the organization would speak on varying issues which helped broaden my knowledge about the gravity of some human rights issues that I initially was not aware of. Through this internship, I gained direct exposure to the working on an international human rights organization. I also had the opportunity to network with several professionals in the legal and non-profit fields at leadership conferences hosted by Google, the French Embassy and Human Rights Watch. I was given the opportunity to draft a report on Guinea’s bauxite mining industry that is due for publication sometime this year. I was also assigned a task to identify locations and numbers of Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in Mali following clashes in 2012.

Through this internship, I greatly improved upon my research, analytical and critical thinking skills. This summer at Human Rights Watch served as a great avenue to learn about the employed strategies and efforts that are placed in investigations on issues of human rights abuses; and in the exposure of facts that generate extensive media coverage and eventually, changes in policy. It also gave me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in human rights advocacy field which I plan to pursue as a career, and honed my existent skills while simultaneously acquiring new ones. In addition, this internship helped me build my confidence as I attended various conferences and forums and networked with numerous professionals in the legal field.

My summer at Human Rights Watch has helped me guide my professional path and goals. I am certain that I want to work in an organization that focuses more on legislation of policies to protect human rights and eventually go to law school with the hopes of becoming a defense attorney.

I would like to thank Jim Wormington, Corinne Dufka, Lauren Seibert, and my coworkers-MJ, Charline and Gen for an enriching summer experience in DC.

Summer Internship Series: Knowledge Gains

Duncan Tulimieri ’19

Strength and Conditioning Coach Intern, Prentiss Hockey Performance, Stamford, Connecticut

My name is Duncan Tulimieri and I am a Health, Exercise, and Sports Studies major and Biology minor at Denison University. Over the summer of 2017, I was a strength and conditioning coach intern at Prentiss Hockey Performance. I am currently a junior and plan to graduate in 2019 and go on to a graduate school for Kinesiology after graduation from Denison. I am the alternative captain for the men’s ice hockey team.

My internship was a very unique one to say the least. I wasn’t sitting at a desk and looking at a computer and spreadsheets like one imagines an internship would be. I actually did the complete opposite. I was up at the crack of dawn and moving around all day, setting up and breaking down exercises for both professional ice hockey players and the general population. The internship had many great aspects, but my favorite part was getting to know some of the athletes and learn about their views and perspectives about strength and conditioning. I learned that being a strength coach is not only just about being able to work someone out, but also about talking to the person and realizing that you are dealing with a person, not a textbook or skeleton. One of the most rewarding parts of the internship was that I got to see many topics talked about in the classroom, be applied in real life. Some topics that I saw get applied in the gym that were talked about in the classroom were; the stretch shortening cycle, passive insufficiency, isokinetic movements, isotonic movements, isometric movements, etc. It’s one thing to learn about concepts in the classroom and be tested on them, but it’s a whole different setting when you apply them to real live people, and watch how it affects them.

I could not have gotten, or done, this internship without the help of my parents, my supervisors, and the generous donor who supplied me with a stipend. I would also like to thank the people at Prentiss Hockey Performance for helping me to expand my mind and think about things in a different way.

Summer Internship Series: A Prideful Summer

Justine Morelli ’18

Intern, MassEquality, Boston, Massachusetts

This past summer I had the opportunity to intern at MassEquality in Boston, Massachusetts for four months. Thanks to the McMahon Fund, I was able to commute by train for an hour each way into the city, four days a week, all summer long, to work at this organization. MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The non-profit does this by partnering across issues, identities and communities to build a broad, inclusive and politically powerful movement that changes hearts and minds and achieves policy and electoral victories.

Throughout the summer, I gained experience canvassing, organizing events, recruiting voters and volunteers for the MA 2018 ballot, researching key political issues, writing testimony for bills in the State House, and listening in on pivotal hearings in the legislature. This summer gave me a foundation in the world of lobbying and non- profit advocacy work that will definitely benefit me in my future endeavors after Denison. I became really interested in testimony and legal writing, as well as research for bills in the House and Senate.

The most exciting part of my summer was volunteering at Boston Pride in June. Seeing the city come together at one big festival parade on a beautiful day was an amazing experience. Working with MassEquality allowed me to fall in love again with my home state of Massachusetts. I became passionate about political work and writing testimony for bills; working here allowed me to realize that I really can make a change in my community by starting at the political level and using my own voice. I am so thankful to the Knowlton Center for helping me with my resumé and the McMahon fund for this experience.

 

Summer Internship Series: My #Paid Summer

Emily Walsh ’19

Influencer Marketing, #paid, New York City

My name is Emily Walsh, I am a Communications Major with a concentration in Organizational Studies. This summer I had the opportunity to work for an influencer marketing company, #paid.

#paid is an influencer marketing company that is based in Toronto, Canada. Recently, they have expanded their offices to New York City. I was fortunate enough to be the second employee ever in the NYC office. Influencer marketing is a form of the marketing world that focuses on social media influencers. These individuals have extreme influence over their followers and brands reach out to them to help market their product in an organic fashion. Influencers are seen as new age celebrities, they have high followings on different social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Influencer Marketing has grown to be one of the more trusted forms of marketing as most people trust and check their social media channels more frequently than reading magazines. What #paid does for these influencers is provide a middle ground between the brands and the influencers. They have a hybrid solution of technology and managed services that provide a streamlined process to make partnering together easy and effective.

Since I was the one of the few people to be in the new NYC office, my internship was not your typical workplace environment. My boss was head of sales in New York City, and we did work together and he taught me many valuable lessons. I was able to attend some of his Sales presentations and Marketing Panels. Most days my main priority was talking over “Slack” which was the main form of communication the company used and to work with the Creative and Marketing Team. Initially, I thought I would be used to help with some unfinished projects and loose ends. However, my role at #paid was far greater than I ever could have expected. My responsibilities this summer ranaged from researching data on different companies, to helping format excels, to creating new proposals and searching our database for the perfect influencers that would fit the campaigns. The variety of campaigns I was able to work on ranged from North Face to Canada Goose to Local Grocery Stores in Canada.

My summer at #paid helped me grow in a way I hadn’t known possible yet. It helped me see my strengths in working under pressure and how important communication skills are in person and over the computer. It allowed me to fuel my passion for Marketing and put into perspective what the working world truly is like.

I would like to thank Cole Tone the Sales director in NYC for being my mentor, and Bryan Gold and Adam Rivietz the Co-Founders of #paid for giving me the opportunity to grow and learn at the company!

Summer Internship Series: Columbus Museum of Art

Jiaxin Liu ’18

Summer Art Workshop Intern, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio

My name is Jiaxin Liu. I now am a senior in Studio Art major, Economics minor. During the past summer, I did my internship in Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio. During the two and half months’ internship, I worked as a Summer Art Workshop intern. Except helping with all the summer art workshops, I also helped with several programs in the museum such as Artful Adventures and Museum on the Move.

I expected to explore more about the positions in the museums and galleries and know what do those staffs typically do. I also wanted to gain more experience working in the art field. I am very happy that achieved what I expected during the past summer. For this internship, I gained more knowledge about the museum such as “how many departments art museums often have” and “what kind of program a visitor can participate in the museum”. I also got a lot of inspiration on art making surrounded by great artworks. Because of helping with art workshops in different theme, I learned many new art making skills that I haven’t learn in class. One of the greatest thing during this internship is I learned to work with diverse groups and individuals. It made me feel more confident working with others. I learned a lot; explored a lot; and gained a lot during this summer internship. I really appreciate that Knowlton Center helped me on getting this internship. I also feel thankful that Denison generously support me with the stipend to achieve my goal.

Summer Internship Series: My Summer at a Literary Journal

Samantha Toshok ’18

Editorial Intern, Virginia Quarterly Review, Charlottesville, Virginia

My name is Samantha Toshok and I am currently a senior at Denison University pursuing a Major in Psychology and a Concentration in Narrative Non-Fiction Writing.  This summer, I worked at the Virginia Quarterly Review, a national literary journal located in Charlottesville, Virginia.  There, I worked as an editorial intern, and assisted with the production of the magazine, proofread and edited both solicited and unsolicited manuscript submissions, marketed the publication on social media platforms, and helped run the 2017 VQR Writer’s Conference.  Prior to starting this internship with VQR, I knew I had intentions of pursuing a career in writing, however, I was not entirely sure in what type of capacity that would be.  This internship taught me a lot about precision and word choice when it came to writing or communicating a message to audience members or our readership base.  With the help of my direct supervisors and boss, Allison Wright, the managing editor of VQR, I would not have the opportunity to understand the process that goes behind magazine production and the level of accuracy and precision that goes into editorial work.  I have, however, found that I am drawn more to creative roles in the corporate side that involve creating narratives around products, services, or brands.  I also would like to incorporate more of my Psychology degree and use that to better understand consumer behavior.  Despite my different career aspirations, coming out of this summer experience has given me the opportunity to hone the very skills that I plan on applying to many future creative roles such as market research consultancy or advertisement.

Summer Internship Series: Finding My Career Path

Ashmita Das ’18

Digital Marketing, Xebec E-Media Technologies, Pune, India

This summer I spent two months in Pune, India in an internship that set me on my career path. I’m Ashmita Das, a senior double majoring in Communication and English Literature. Like any other college student, I wasn’t absolutely sure of what I wanted to do after graduation, till I spent the summer working at a digital marketing firm called Xebec E-Media Technologies.

I went in with no previous knowledge of the industry and unsure of whether I would thrive there. I quickly realized this is what I wanted to do with my career. I worked on digital marketing strategy for a major tourism company and came up with unique ideas to sell a campaign pitch. I also handled social media content for Aldo, Birkenstock and Call It Spring in the Middle East, all by myself. I was constantly surprised by how much I could take on and accomplish every day. Going from a timid intern who was unsure of herself to handling major accounts alone, I saw my professional growth in front of my eyes.

I worked with an amazing team of young professionals who became like my family in an unfamiliar city. From hectic workdays to dinners on the weekends, they made sure I felt like I was one of them. This experience was made even more gratifying by my supervisor, Zeeshanali Ruby, who constantly pushed me to do better and taught me all he could possibly teach me in two months. He was invested in making sure that I got everything I needed and more from this internship.

The internship let me work with fashion, which is one of my passions and made me realize how I could utilize my strengths to make a career out of it. It helped me plan my life after graduation and put me on a path to attain a master’s degree in Digital Marketing from Europe. This summer internship was a truly enriching experience that would not have been possible without my amazing colleagues and the all the help I received from the Knowlton Center.

Summer Internship Series: The Summer of Adaptability

Thomas Stephenson ’18

Marketing Intern, ContentVia and Health Admin Solutions, Columbus, Ohio

My name is Thomas Stephenson, and I’m a senior Communications major and History minor here at Denison University.  This summer, I was given the opportunity to be a marketing intern at two different companies. One was a company called ContentVia and the other Health Admin Solutions. I’m sure to my audience those sound like two incredibly different places to work, but one of the major things I learned this summer is skills in marketing can apply to almost any business.

However while I did work as a marketing intern for both these companies, my roles at each were somewhat different. ContentVia works with various startup companies to try and promote them as much as possible and set them on the right track. So one of my jobs was to draft various social media posts for these startup. These included Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. I also did a lot of research around the internet for new clients who could use our service, and even sent out a few outreach emails and made a few calls to try and spread awareness to them.

For Health Admin Solutions, my job was almost entirely focused on their social media platforms. They had a Facebook and Twitter page, but had not done much work in promoting them or even posting on them. I took over and immediately started to work on drawing attention and reaching out to clients on both platforms.

I felt great about what I was able to accomplish for both these organizations, as well as myself. The outreach I worked on through social media and contact with clients opened up new doors for both companies, and I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and learning some new skills along the way. I also feel as if this summer gave me an idea of what I’d like to pursue after college, which was my main goal at the start of June. I wanted to narrow down my interests and find a place within the marketing field that I enjoyed working in, and I believe social media could be one of those. I also realized through my research that advertising is a job I’d love to pursue in the future, and I’m excited to see what opportunities are out there for me after graduation!

Overall, interning with these two companies was a fantastic experience that has not only boosted my résumé, but my skills in marketing and confidence with professional work. I’m looking forward to the next challenge that’s sent my way!

Summer Internship Series: A Summer of Creating Relationships

Nicolas Valdiviezo ‘18

Advance Analytics summer intern, Dun & Bradstreet, Short Hills, New Jersey

I am Nicolas Valdiviezo from Lima, Peru. At Denison, I am a senior pursuing BA degree in Computer Science and Economics, with a Mathematics minor. The past summer I had the honor to intern in the Advance Analytics Department at Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Headquarters in Short Hills New Jersey.  D&B is a 176-year-old B2B data company that help their clients with analytics and data for them to grow relationships with other companies, they are in the relationship business and use data to make sure these are good. This company possess rich and meaningful business data of 265 million companies around the globe that is updated every day thousands of times to have the most up to date insights. D&B had set a standard in the business industry with the DUNS number, that uniquely identifies each company, and is a must in any business partnership, loan application, etc. Another great aspect is the great company culture they promote, for which they are 2017 Best Place to Work in NJ. The internship program there has been growing since 2012 from 25 interns to 108 around the world this last summer. There I have meet some of the most creative, smart and proactive people; and they believe that an internship is a learning opportunity.

The Advance Analytics Department is the one in charge of creating and delivering analytics to the company’s client. The first week we full of learning about the company, the culture and meeting key people for my day to day operations. Harold Fernandes, a VP / Sr. Leader and my supervisor, took several hours that week to talk to me, define expectation and explain to me his vision of the department, and update me in the current situation of the department. He gave me the tools and knowledge to be successful in there. I performed a very flexible roll. The first weeks I was doing research and summaries for Harold on different topics related to implementing analytics. I learned a lot about the process of models and how the company takes care of the client’s business. After the first two weeks, Harold would check on my work load daily and I reported and met him a weekly on my progress and the working environment.

However, my roll changed a lot after I was presented with the opportunity to work with one of the modelers, Cris, on increasing performance of one of their models. I worked side by side with him learning about his work and how his algorithms worked. One of the main expectation I had about this internship was that I was going to have the chance to make an impact in the company’s operation or people. Cris, gave the chance to use what I learned at Denison’s Computer Science department on his work. Together we reached improvements on the model’s execution time by at least a factor of six. It was a great learning opportunity for both of us. And certainly, let me feel that I had an impact.

The company was full with employees willing to talk to all interns and give advice. Interns had the change to attend sessions with executives, lunch and made appointments with chief officers of the company. We even had breakfast with the CEO. It made me realize what a good work place looks like and how serving leadership works. In addition, interns and employees participate on volunteering for nonprofit organizations during the Dun & Bradstreet Do good week. D&B was a great place to work in, I learned a lot about the operations of the company and the department, the employees do listen and expect the interns to give input and be collaborative, they create learning opportunities like workshops, special guest speakers, and more importantly they make you feel part of the company as one of their own. They abide by their values of being data inspired, relentlessly curious and inherently generous every day.

Summer Internship Series: Doing Policy in DC

Leah Hansler ‘18

Policy Intern, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Arlington, VA

Summer internship series: doing policy in dc - lh-nb-office.png image #0My name is Leah Hansler and I’m a senior political science major and philosophy minor. This summer I was a policy intern at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards near Washington, DC.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) seeks to elevate the teaching profession and improve the quality of teaching and learning in the US. It maintains rigorous teacher-set standards of what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do and provides a voluntary certification process for teachers who meet these standards. NBPTS works with other education-related organizations and advocates for policies related to teacher professional development, teacher leadership, and embedding national standards in school systems and teacher preparation programs.

While I have sought out experiences related to policy and advocacy throughout my college career, I did not have experience with education policy prior to this internship and I was excited to learn and work in a new field. My supervisor, Sarah Pinsky, gave me meaningful and interesting projects and had me sitting in on meetings and conference calls on my very first day. I also had the opportunity to help with other projects and departments, like editing part of a grant proposal and participating in Strategy and Policy team meetings.  I had two main projects, which were both meaningful learning experiences that added value to the organization. Drawing on my experience in advocacy, one of my projects was to design a series of resources to help the networks of National Board Certified teachers (NBCTs) around the country with their political advocacy efforts. I finished six handouts during my internship, addressing topics like “What is Advocacy and Why is it Important for NBCTs”, “Building Relationships with Policymakers”, and “Legislative Processes”. Before I left, I wrote a document with suggestions for how to use the resources going forward. The handouts are available to all NBCTs and will be used to inform the organization’s broader advocacy goals for the year.

Drawing on my experience with research, my other main project was to go through all research that references NBPTS, create a database of the research with detailed analysis, and then to create a summary document of general themes and overarching findings from what I had read so far. While I was not able or expected to finish going through all the research during my summer there, the summary document and database I started will be available internally to all NBPTS staff to aid in grant proposals, resources, and projects.

Summer internship series: doing policy in dc - lh-capitol-building.jpg image #1

I learned so much from my experience with National Board. I refined my advocacy and research skills, learned about important education policies, and received a more intimate understanding of how education is governed in the US as well as how US government works in general. I also gained a better understanding of how nonprofit organizations function and how to collaborate effectively within them. Additionally, both because of my internship and because I was living in DC, I had the opportunity to attend several events, briefings, and advocacy activities related to topics that interest me. I went to the constituent coffee for Senator Sherrod Brown, the full House markup of an appropriations bill, and several panels hosted by the Center for American Progress and the World Affairs Council DC, to name just a few. I improved my networking skills and learned about what it’s like to be part of the policy community in DC.

Because of my internship and my time in DC, I know that I want to pursue a career in policy, advocacy, and projects for a nonprofit organization. I also came away from the experience wanting to learn more about education and curious about how the practice of teaching could fit into my other interests and goals. My internship helped me decide to take an Education class at Denison this semester and to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowship.

I could not have had this wonderful experience without Dr. Pool and Dr. Katz in the Political Science department, the Knowlton Center, and the Cephus L. Stephens Public Affairs Internship Stipend. I also must thank my amazing supervisor, Sarah Pinsky, as well as all the other colleagues at National Board I had the pleasure to know and work with this summer. I am grateful to them for affording me an internship opportunity that was everything I could have wanted and more.