Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Amelia

This is the final 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: Amelia Medved, junior

For eight weeks of this unconventional summer, I interned with the North Shore Land Alliance, a non-profit that owns and maintains nature preserves on Long Island. Many of these preserves have trail systems for hiking, which staff and volunteers maintain for public use. 

Amelia with a porcelain berry root.

An Honors Summer Internship Fellowship allowed me to work from home full-time for the Land Alliance. My primary responsibility was to design interpretive trail signs for the Cushman Woods preserve in Matinecock, NY. I painted mostly in watercolor and then used digital media to assemble the final signs. I’m majoring in Environmental Studies and plan to complete a Visual Arts minor; I gained professional experience in both design and non-profit work by collaborating with my supervisors, researching local history and ecology, and executing multiple designs for the Land Alliance.

I worked most closely with Stewardship staff, and though my work was mostly remote, I was glad to spend one day a week at Cushman Woods performing trail maintenance. Working one-on-one with my supervisor, I learned plant identification to inform my trail signs. We also picked up trash, weeded native plant gardens, and sawed fallen trees after storms.

Watercolor of a Wood Thrush.

I also did a significant amount of invasive plant removal along the trails. The international nature of the city and its surrounding region allows plant species from all over the world to find their way to New York; the plants that face no natural predators can grow out of control, decimate native biodiversity, and compromise an ecosystem’s resilience. While removing garlic mustard and mugwort originating in Europe and multiflora rose and mile-a-minute weed native to Asia, I observed some local consequences of globalization. Especially through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic, I considered how connected the world is and precarious our systems have proven to be.

I am so glad to have spent my summer as an intern at the North Shore Land Alliance. It was an environmentalist’s dream to work out in nature at a time when I really needed to get out of the house. Thank you to the Honors Program and to Dr. Keller for this opportunityーa valuable internship and time to see my local ecosystem up close and hands on.

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.  

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Amalia

This is the second 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: Amalia Sordo Palacios, sophomore

The Covid-19 pandemic would have made obtaining an unpaid internship impossible for me this summer, which is why I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Keller for awarding me with the Honors Program Summer Fellowship Grant that made my work possible. I had the opportunity to intern with Autism Community Network, a nonprofit in San Antonio that serves children by providing autism diagnostic services, occupational and speech therapy, and classes for parents and caretakers of kids diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Because I began working with ACN at the same time that they started transitioning to telehealth, I witnessed a historic shift in the way autism diagnoses are performed and, alongside my coworkers, learned how to make remote services successful.

Amalia at the Rose Hill Campus.

Some of my roles included observing diagnostic and therapy appointments, administering the social media platforms, serving as a translator for Spanish-speaking families, and conducting research to assist with the grant-writing process. By working alongside clinical professionals, I learned a lot about careers in healthcare. I was reminded of the Honors Program’s interdisciplinary curriculum while observing how the diagnostic team came to a decision: each clinician specialized in a different field, but their collaboration and input ensured a more accurate autism diagnosis for the child. I also worked on finding research to support several grants; this was really exciting because I learned more about the real-world applications of neuroscience (my intended major). I was even able to give a presentation to parents about my own experiences growing up with a sibling with ASD. 

Throughout my internship, I reflected on the Honors Program’s idea of being scholars for justice and how it connected to my work. Prior to the pandemic, autism diagnoses were difficult to obtain due to long waitlists, shortages of trained professionals, and geographic barriers. I thought the pandemic would exacerbate these issues; however, I found that the transition to telehealth was a step towards ensuring accessibility for all families by helping them overcome geographic or financial barriers. ACN also developed a new program for parents struggling with mental health issues, supporting the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis. Through this internship, I’ve had the chance to explore different career paths and observe concrete examples of the role that the tradition of homines pro aliis (men and women for others) plays in nonprofit organizations. Despite working fully remotely, I was able to do really meaningful work this summer, all made possible with the Honors Program’s support.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Caitlyn

This is the first 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.

Caitlyn Humann, Honors ’22

Author: Caitlyn Humann, Junior

Thanks to the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship, I had the opportunity to intern at my regional food bank, Long Island Cares Inc. – The Harry Chapin Food Bank, this past summer. Long Island Cares brings together all available resources for the benefit of the hungry and food insecure on Long Island and aims to provide for the humanitarian needs of the community.

Initially, my goal for this internship could be summed into one statement: to learn, from the perspective of LIC, the relationship between non-profits and all levels of government. I wondered if it is easy for non-profits to get funding and personal acknowledgement from legislative bodies and the extent that food banks rely on federal and state support.

What I didn’t know at the time I applied for this fellowship was that the COVID-19 pandemic would put New York in a state of emergency starting in March and that by May 4th , the demand for Long Island Cares’ services would increase by 64%.

What was initially designed to be a government advocacy internship – during which I would draft letters to representatives, attend in-person legislature meetings and help expand LIC’s Veterans Project by hand delivering food to veteran’s homes – expanded. I worked under LIC’s Chief Government Affairs Officer and drafted letters to advocate for COVID-specific support for food insecure communities, attended virtual local government and advocacy meetings, tracked new legislation on the federal, state and local levels and outlined testimonies on LIC’s new developments, successes and challenges since the start of the pandemic.

As increasing amounts of Long Islanders faced unemployment and food insecurity, I saw first-hand the vital role that food banks play in communities across the nation. I analyzed the impact that COVID had on all demographics of Long Islanders along with representatives’ actions that supported food banks. I was also able to make positive impacts in the moment by packing boxes full of nutritious food for members of my own community.

Just as the Honors Program builds a sense of community by bringing diverse groups of students together to collaborate and support each other in reaching their academic (and personal) goals, Long Island Cares brings together people of all demographics to form a community that stretches across Long Island in which everyone plays their role in fighting against hunger. In our Honors classes and conversations, we often discuss the “missing voice.” Through this internship, I heard
the voice of food insecure families, who rely on non-profits to live a happy life. I am grateful to the Honors Program for giving me this opportunity. As I enter my professional career and strive towards my goal of representing my community as an elected government official who advocates for justice, I will keep this experience with me.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Megan

Author: Megan Gilligan, senior

This is the fourth and final post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Thanks to The Honors Program Summer Fellowship, I was able to work as a student intern for the Pace Women’s Justice Center.  PWJC is a nonprofit that advocates for and provides legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault.  It also conducts outreach and training sessions on how to interact with victims of abuse as well as how to escape abusive situations.

Megan (left) with the other PWJC summer interns.

As an intern, I was able to take part in many different aspects of PWJC’s work. I provided support to attorneys and staff and researched topics relating to individual cases as well as New York State law. I attended client interviews and court proceedings, created Excel spreadsheets for client financials and outreach events, and revised a 150-page resource guide for attorneys on the PWJC legal helpline. Additionally, I attended Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse training sessions and represented PWJC at Family Law, Women’s Advocacy, and Immigrant Advocacy committee meetings.  Most importantly, I witnessed the positive impact that PWJC has on so many victims’ lives by providing access to legal services. Many people in abuse situations are not fully aware of their legal rights or are afraid of taking their abusers to court. PWJC works with all of its clients to figure out the best plan for them and coordinates with other organizations to make sure the clients are receiving all the help they need.

As someone who hopes to become an attorney and is currently studying for the LSAT, my internship with the Pace Women’s Justice Center solidified my passion and determination to enter into the legal profession.  Through my history classes in the Honors Program, I learned a lot about how law can shape the course of a nation. This internship furthered that understanding by allowing me to see how law can directly affect individual people’s day-to-day lives.  It gave me the opportunity to learn from and interact with all sorts of legal professionals from attorneys to paralegals to law students. I was able to see firsthand the dedication of the PWJC staff to do the best they possibly could for their clients and the effect that has on their clients’ lives.  I am very grateful to the Honors Program for allowing me the opportunity to have this profound and rewarding summer internship experience; I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Jack

Author: Jack Andrews, senior

This is the third post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Honors Senior, Jack Andrews, at his South Bronx United summer internship.

The Fordham Honors Program can, at any time, signify a variety of different things to different people. If you ask a rising sophomore, it might call to mind the chronological study of the different periods into which scholars have divided history; to a senior, it might be a large and looming paper upon which his or her graduation relies. However, along with the different demands of the academic syllabi of the Honors Program is the consistent expectation that Honors students will use the educational and professional opportunities they have received for the betterment of themselves and others. As such, the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship application demands from its potential recipients a cover letter describing their understanding of the common good and how their various internships further it. 

Jack with other South Bronx United interns.

I was graced with the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship, and, thus, with the ability to accept an internship with South Bronx United, a local youth organization combining soccer and academics with the hope of animating Bronx kids to excel in high school and pursue college educations. My role at South Bronx United, as an education intern, was to serve as a classroom aide and mentor to a cohort of rising ninth graders who all attended SBU’s Summer Soccer Scholars program—as well as to coach a recreational soccer team comprised of students of different age groups within the program.

Many of the students with whom I worked were from immigrant families from places like Mexico, Venezuela, and Ecuador—and many had complex immigration stories. As someone both pursuing a Spanish minor and with aspirations to become an immigration lawyer, working with a group of people I hope to serve in the future was a dream come true. My students were a daily reminder as to why I was passionate about my potential career; they were intelligent, driven, and compassionate individuals who, in addition to loving soccer, felt an obligation to achieve to their highest potential for the parents and guardians who gave them the chance to do so. They also taught me some new words in Spanish, although I might not rush to use them in a professional setting. I can’t wait to hear, a few years from now, where my students plan to attend college, and I am forever grateful to the Honors Program and Dr. Keller for making this summer possible.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Ellen

Author: Ellen Thome, senior

This is the second post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Thanks to the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship, I was able to intern at Save the Children as a Supporter Experience & Retention intern this summer. Save the Children is a global nonprofit, working in 120 countries to protect the rights of every child. Save the Children achieves this by providing health and nutrition programs, increasing access to education, promoting gender equality, and protecting children in areas suffering from conflicts or disasters. Save the Children also advocates for policies that protect children at the local, national, and international level.

As a Supporter Experience & Retention intern, my job was to help communicate Save the Children’s latest efforts to donors. I did this by revising fundraising materials and selecting images and links for Save the Children’s calendars. I also helped Save the Children celebrate its Centennial anniversary by sending donors materials that highlight the long-term changes Save the Children has achieved since its establishment. Finally, I collected donor feedback by analyzing and creating surveys. The scope of these surveys ranged from small matters – photos for the annual calendar – to broader issues, such as what motivates donors to give. Overall, this internship introduced me to the administrative side of nonprofit work. Additionally, I met several experts in international nonprofit fieldwork, which also allows me to consider the possibility of overseas nonprofit work. 

This internship has reinforced the importance of written communication that is central to the Honors Program curriculum. Revising donor-facing materials showed me how small textual details can have profound, long-term impacts. Furthermore, Save the Children considers literacy foundational for children’s development and rights, and prioritizes children’s literacy with early childhood reading programs, supplemental school reading initiatives, and campaigns to keep girls in school. 

Additionally, Save the Children’s work around the world corresponds to the pillars of justice and diversity of the Honors Program mission. Save the Children protects children regardless of nationality, religion, or refugee status, and demonstrates a commitment to justice by focussing on children hit hardest by conflict, such as children in Syria and Rohingya children from Myanmar. Save the Children delivers justice to children experiencing conflict by establishing child-friendly spaces where children are protected from violence and work through trauma, and by addressing governments to end conflict. Save the Children’s job-training and livelihoods programs also ensure justice for the poorest children by breaking cycles of poverty.  

Finally, this internship has helped shape the focus of my Honors senior thesis, which I will be writing this fall on the topic of migrants. This summer, Save the Children established two centers along the US-Mexico border for migrant children transitioning out of ICE detention centers. Seeing  Save the Children’s work for migrant children both reinforces the importance of my topic and highlights how much more needs to be done to help detained migrants. 

I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Keller and the Honors Program for their support in allowing me to pursue this wonderful opportunity.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Abigail

This is the first post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2019 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.

Author: Abigail Gillis, senior

This summer, I had the privilege of working as an Elementary School Intern at DREAM Charter School in East Harlem. Like other charter schools, DREAM’s goal is to provide a strong college preparatory education to disadvantaged students. DREAM is also focused on family involvement in children’s education; promoting social, emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing as well as academic achievement; and using baseball to promote holistic wellbeing and the skills required to achieve it.

As an intern with the elementary school, I was able to spend a couple of weeks at the beginning of the summer supporting teachers in their classrooms and on field trips before the school year ended. However, most of my responsibilities were oriented toward the upcoming school year(s) rather than on direct work with students. My fellow intern and I pursued two research projects, one on Inquiry-Based Learning and the other on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and put together teaching resources based on our research. We also had a few projects which we chose to split up between us. I worked mainly on creating ELA pacing calendars for PreK-5th grade and on putting together the Staff and Family Handbooks for the 2019-2020 school year based on earlier years’ materials.

Abigail Gillis, Rose Hill Honors Program Class of 2020.

As a rising senior, I was very much hoping to find a position this summer that would allow me to work inside a school. I was looking for an education-based internship that would give me a different kind of experience than the tutoring I’ve done in the past (including work with the Rosedale Achievement Center through Honors). I was especially hoping to have the opportunity to work at a place like DREAM, whose mission and work support so many students with limited opportunities. The Honors Summer Internship Fellowship has allowed me to accept a position that not only helped prepare me for my future career in education but actually gave me a chance to do so in a way that benefits hundreds of lower-income students in NYC, and I am so grateful to the Honors Program for providing me with a way to spend my summer with DREAM.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Kat

**This is the final post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2018 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.**

Author: Kat Martucci, senior

Summer Internship Fellow Kat with one of her students.

This summer, I was awarded an Honors Summer Internship Fellowship to be an Education Intern at Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC). The experience was challenging, unpredictable, and often times exhausting – but more than anything, it filled my summer with incredible joy and love.

Last year, I attended the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Honors Conference as a representative of the FCRH Honors Program. There, I participated in a teach-in on criminal justice and spoke with both currently and formerly incarcerated people. The teach-in sparked a desire in me to further learn about and work towards criminal justice reform.

Because of this, I was instantly drawn to Children of Promise. CPNYC aims “to embrace children of incarcerated parents and empower them to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system.”  Its innovative model of a combined after-school/summer camp program and mental health clinic provides children with holistic support and exciting opportunities.

Throughout the summer, I could be found in many different roles. Primarily, I led a ‘Science Club’ for groups of 8 and 9 year-olds. Other days, I helped with ‘Read-aloud’ for 6 and 7 year olds, accompanied children on trips throughout New York City, and directed volunteers at CPNYC’s Saturday Resource Center. Regardless of the role I was in, every day I developed relationships with the children and grew to love their unique traits and bold attitudes.

Although my internship has formally ended, my relationship with CPNYC has not. I plan to volunteer there during the school year and am currently helping to design and implement a youth Council of Promise to provide leadership opportunities for the children.

2.7 million children in the nation, and 105,000 children in New York State, have a parent in prison. CPNYC is the beginning of a movement to support these children, whom the odds are against, and create opportunities for them to succeed.

For me, this internship has emphasized the importance of building relationships with the individuals who are affected first-hand by issues of injustice. In becoming a part of their community, their struggle becomes my struggle, and I am all the more committed to a career in solidarity with these communities.

Thank you to the FCRH Honors Program and its donors for this fellowship as well as the opportunity to attend the 2017 AJCU Honors Conference. These experiences have been critical in my formation at Fordham, and I so grateful for the continued support of the Honors Program as I enter my final year at Fordham.  

Honors Summer Internship Fellow: Andrew

**This is the third post in a series of four posts written by the Summer 2018 Honors Internship Fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.**

Author: Andrew Seger, senior

I am grateful to have received the Honors Program Summer Fellowship, which afforded me the opportunity to learn from and work alongside some very hardworking journalists writing in the field of global affairs news and analysis at the Council on Foreign Relations. In this very consequential time for U.S. politics, our country’s role as a leader on the world stage is increasingly coming under question. As one of the world’s premier think-tanks, CFR is a rendezvous for scholars and diplomats who lead the charge at carefully analyzing, sometimes criticizing, and constantly learning from U.S. foreign policy actions and blunders.

As an intern with CFR’s editorial team, I worked with established journalists and writers who contributed news and analysis content to CFR’s website. As my capstone intern project, I worked throughout the summer on producing a published interview on the current state of Libyan politics with Frederic Wehrey, a senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

My internship at the Council on Foreign Relations was any political junkie’s dream summer job. As an International Political Economy major, the internship supplemented and built upon everything I’ve learned in three years of studying politics and global affairs. It was also complementary to my growing knowledge of world history and political philosophy, subjects the Honors Program first sparked my interest in years ago. Again, I am grateful to Dr. Keller and the Honors Program for affording me this opportunity to work and learn at the Council on Foreign Relations, and I look forward to building upon this experience in the future.  

Andrew Seger, 2018 Honors Summer Internship Fellow