Political development in conflict zones, United Nations
I served as the Political Development Intern on the Middle East and West Asia Desk of the Department of Political Affairs Department at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. My specific assignment was Yemen. Yemen is in its third year of a ferocious civil war between the Saudi supported government and the Iranian backed Houthi rebels. This conflict has created the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today, with over 85% of the population in critical need of humanitarian aid. The United Nations is working to mitigate the conflict as well as provide necessary aid to the peoples. As an Intern in the Political Affairs Department, I conducted political analysis of key conflict zones in the country, creating reports for the Secretary General's Office as well as other high level officials in the UN. I worked closely with colleagues to monitor and assess global political developments in order to detect potential crisis and solutions in the country. As I was working on a team dealing with a tremendously volatile region there was constant research to be done. Each day I attended skype calls with the field departments who kept us up to date on the latest developments in the field. My job was then to process and compile this information into daily briefs for the entire Middle East and West Asia team. The greatest part of the job however, was the chance to sit in on official Security Council meetings. I was in the room with Nikki Haley as she addressed the council on their anti-Israeli sentiments, there when the security council was briefed on the situation in Syria and there as they called an emergency meeting after the missile launch by North Korea. My time at the UN challenged me to think outside of my comfort zone. As the only American on my team I learned the nuances of international cooperation on a small scale. I was challenged to think from others perspectives and pay attention to cultural differences in workplace interactions. I refined my writing skills and learned to write in the jargon of the UN and international relations. I met interns and colleagues from around the globe who offered fantastic career advice. I felt supported in my endeavors and know that I am a more well rounded global citizen after the experience.
Molly Davis, MCAS '18
Empowering Women, Cord Siruvani
I secured a GlobeMed’s Grassroots Onsite Work (GROW) internship to work with CORD Siruvani, a social work/public health nonprofit located in Tamil Nadu, India. The GlobeMed Chapter at Boston College has been working with CORD Siruvani for about four years now, the mission behind the partnership to not only support a nonprofit but to also educate US college students on what a sustainable and equitable partnership looks like. The majority of our time there was spent in the field, shadowing the CORD community workers on Mahila Mandal visits. Mahila Mandals are women empowerment groups that seek to provide women with economic options, through micro financing and self-generated income projects, as well as a space in which they can support each other. We also had the opportunity to see the tangible outcomes of the BC GlobeMed-CORD Siruvani partnership through visiting different sites around Tamil Nadu. Our main partnership projects have been focused on improving the current waste segregation system as well as public health ventures. Through visiting these project sites and listening to the concerns of the CORD community workers and the Tamil Nadu citizens, we were able to see how our projects could be improved on. For example, GlobeMed at BC has funded push carts to make transportation of waste easier for the waste segregation workers. However, while at the waste segregation site, we observed that the workers could use a permanent shelter to work inside as they segregate the waste as to protect them from inclement weather and wind. After discussions with the CORD Siruvani director, Dr. Meera Krishna, we all agreed that future funds toward the waste segregation program should be contributed to building a permanent structure to facilitate easier working conditions for these waste segregation workers. The end of the trip culminated in Dr. Meera and the GROW team discussing the current and future projects the partnership plans to produce together. Through collaboration, we were able to create our Partnership Action Framework for this upcoming year, with an agreement for CORD Siruvani to send us their monthly newsletters and our agreement to raise a certain amount of funds as well as working on a alcohol & drug awareness program aimed at children and teenagers living in Tamil Nadu.
Sierra Dennehy, MCAS '18
Social entrepreneurship, Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub
When I first started at Flywheel, I didn’t really know what Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub was. In fact, I didn’t even know what a “flywheel” was. I figured that was a good place to start. “Flywheel – a heavy revolving wheel in a machine that is used to increase the machine’s momentum.” The name made sense, given that enterprises would look to Flywheel for momentum and stability. I anticipated that I would spend the summer helping Flywheel to achieve this mission. What I didn’t anticipate was the momentum and stability that a summer at Flywheel would provide me. The Flywheel website promises a belief in the “power of social enterprises to make communities stronger.” This was on full display from my first day at Flywheel when I was briefed on the idea of the Welcome Project, a joint boutique/kitchen in the heart of Camp Washington. In the following weeks, I was immersed in conversations, phone calls, workshops, and research to build out a business plan for this enterprise that would employ the local refugee population. I was inspired by the Welcome Project team, who had a clear vision and passion for building a sustainable venture that would support and enhance the Camp Washington area. I heard this same passion in the voices of social entrepreneurs who came to the “Business Model Canvas for the Social Entrepreneur” Workshop in late June. I had never been surrounded with people who had this passion for community development, but also a drive to develop a high quality service or product to meet market demands. I remember walking away excited to see how these businesses would grow, scale, and develop in the coming years. These people were building great companies and left me wondering, “What could I build?” The entrepreneurs that I interacted with and worked beside accelerated my interest in entrepreneurship. The professionals in the Flywheel network gave me mentors and examples to stabilize and model my professional style after. The whole experience left me believing in Flywheel and the power of social enterprises to make communities stronger.
Phil McHugh, CSOM ’20
Domestic violence and the law, Queens District Attorney Office
In the Domestic Violence Bureau at the Queens District Attorney’s Office in New York, I was able to work alongside an Assistant District Attorney and learned the ins and outs of the courthouse. The position came with a steep learning curve as I was taught how to initiate first contact with victims, meet with the police officers who responded to the scene, and later interview the victims themselves. After completing the file and discussing the case with my supervisor, I was then able to stand in the well of the courtroom and watch the outcome of the case unfold. We also worked closely with the non-profit Safe Horizons to ensure that the victims were able to obtain counseling and services outside of the legal assistance that we provided. Many victims I worked with had extremely inspiring stories that have shaped how I see and interact with the world. They came from a diverse range of backgrounds and spoke a variety of languages. Having the opportunity to follow these cases through the course of these victim’s lives allowed me the experience of seeing the vast number of ways that a single law can be applied. The Domestic Violence Bureau in Queens continues to prosecute a defendant even if the victim decides that he or she would like to drop the charges; while this led to very difficult conversations, it also led to a much deeper understanding of the law. The Bureau has tailored parts of the legal process to reflect this mission, and the work done in this office is not only retroactive, but preventative as well. Their influence stretches back to before they even see the file, as they have instructed the responding police officers to record certain signs on the scene that may be forgotten with time but may be detrimental later in the case. Being able to see the legal process through this lens and how it is possible to work through division barriers has led me to see the law in a multidimensional sense, and to understand that it is so much more than what happens in the courtroom.
Samantha Schneider, MCAS '18