This is the fifth post in a series of six posts written by the Summer 2021 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.
Author: Jeremy Fries, sophomore
With the effects of COVID-19 still lingering through Summer 2021, I was thrilled to be accepted to complete work for the nonprofit of my choice. The organization that captured my interest is called The Theater Project, a group that endeavors to create a fully remote theater experience for high school students. To work with The Theater Project entailed many tasks, but the common denominator was always the love of theater, found plainly on the faces of my directors. I’m only passingly familiar with the art of drama, but the team’s use of the craft as a means of inspiration inspired me to join—in many ways, it felt true to the spirit of the Honors program, a group that encourages its students to explore their passions through a number of exclusive events and opportunities.
The most ambitious project of my internship, and the one which spanned the full duration of my job, was my outreach initiative. One of the Theater Project’s events is a competition for young playwrights, in which students submit their play to a panel of judges and even have the opportunity to have it performed by professional actors. To afford this opportunity to more students, my task was to increase our email list by collecting the necessary emails—English teachers, drama teachers, counselors, and principals—from high school staff directories. The result of my work was a master list of over 6,100 school contacts, as well as nearly 450 additional emails for other projects. I also completed a number of smaller tasks, including drafting two cover letters, transcribing a podcast episode, arranging a Google calendar for grants, and collecting royalty-free images for future productions.
What I loved most about my scholarship was the singular emphasis on problem-solving and intellectual growth. I felt that my work was uniquely situated in the context of my development—for instance, one of my royalty-free image searches was for a play about the Nuremberg Trials. This investigation both educated me and deepened my appreciation for efforts towards justice. My scholarship also allowed me to cultivate new and useful technical skills. By doing research about Google Sheets to facilitate my outreach project, for instance, I inadvertently acquired a wealth of spreadsheet skills to take with me through other disciplines.
As a whole, my Honors summer internship fellowship opportunity has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I am looking forward to my continued involvement in fall 2021!