Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Elizabeth

This is the third post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2020 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Author: Elizabeth Lurz, junior

I began the summer doing extensive research on the current job market in the U.S. and Fairfield County, with special attention to jobs both impacted and created by the COVID-19 pandemic. My goal was to locate the gaps where B1C clients could enter the particularly tricky and unprecedented job market, while also becoming familiar with the organization’s systems. Simultaneously, my boss encouraged me to seek out other projects within B1C, and I connected with the Legal Team to help build an improved webpage, which nicely connected my interests in law and computers, as I am minoring in Cybersecurity.

By July, I began to work with my boss on the Unpaid Wages team, a clinic set up to assist clients who were unpaid for a completed job, often an unfortunate result of employer exploitation of a worker’s immigrant status. After developing an in-depth project management tool and reworking intake forms to accommodate the new online environment, I became one of the primary contacts for new clients. I met with them over the phone to gather their information, understand their case, and help prepare their supporting documents for our volunteer attorney. Though I had to quickly brush up on my loosely conversational Spanish, and learn to adapt when a language barrier occasionally emerged, this soon became my favorite task of the summer.

My work with B1C has been an extremely rewarding experience. It was challenging to work in a fully remote setting, but I pushed myself to still develop positive relationships with coworkers and clients. Truthfully, without the Honors curriculum, I do not think I would have been able to make meaningful contributions to B1C. Honors pushed me to embrace my community and connect with and learn from others. I used my interdisciplinary knowledge on the movement of people and changes during crises to sympathize with clients. I was empowered to stand up to injustice, even when the results are farsighted, as they always are with slow courts and uncooperative employers. Though the summer has come to an end, I excitedly agreed to continue working remotely for the Unpaid Wages Clinic throughout the fall semester. I am looking forward to our upcoming cases and hopefully obtaining hard-earned money for several amazing people.