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Internship Reflection
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Hi All!

I’m Joie, a rising senior at The George Washington University double majoring in Sociology and International Affairs with a concentration in International Development (and I’m trying to squeeze in an Anthropology minor, wish me luck!). I worked with the Education Policy Fellowship Program as their Communications Intern from June to August this summer. I was drawn to IEL because of its emphasis on community-based solutions to education issues and its real focus on success for all students. During my time here, this admiration has only increased. IEL organizes so many great programs for so many populations of students and I have learned a lot about issues I had not been exposed to previously.

I am going to structure this post in terms of three words we use often here at IEL: engagement, leadership, and community. I am doing this because I used these words in my intern project (read on for more information…), and in addition, each word is representative of what I have done during my internship here.

Engagement: Major tasks I accomplished!

I did quite a lot of content creation for EPFP. In terms of graphics, I created four new infographics exploring the EPFP alumni network, and updated other important marketing materials. In terms of data analysis, I analyzed a national survey and displayed the results via charts and graphs. This was used for the August 2017 Coordinators Meeting. Speaking of that, I helped prepare for the whole meeting and ran logistics during the meeting! I also wrote a lot of content. The first was a Mentoring Program guideline for Site Coordinators, next was managing the EPFP Twitter, and last was a Google Analytics How-To Guide. In addition, I created a whole new page on the website focused on networking. Finally, I did some research on leadership development program evaluations to be used in a future project.

 

Leadership: How I was challenged!

I gained so many new skills during this internship. The first is Microsoft Publisher. Before this, I had rarely used Publisher, but it was an essential tool in the creation of infographics. The second is Google Analytics. I had never worked with this platform before, so I had to teach myself in order to teach others. It culminated in a comprehensive, nine page guide with pictures, links, and a bibliography! The third is data collection and analysis. Although I had previous experience in this, I advanced that skill because the infographics and national survey all revolved around numbers and how to interpret them. The fourth is marketing and social media, two fields in which I had very little experience. After I had interpreted the numbers, I had to display those interpretations in an accessible, clear way for all to understand. I also tweeted; another new skill. These marketing and social media tasks required me to understand my audience, be concise, and recognize the importance of language in conveying ideas. The fifth was my intern project! IEL wants all of their interns, in addition to their program-specific work, to complete an independent intern project based on their interests. I value reflection and collaborative ideas. So, I interviewed 18 members of IEL staff working different programs asking them to define the terms engagement, leadership, and community. I then aggregated the definitions into all-encompassing, working definitions for the staff to use going forward and displayed them in a poster format.

 

Community: Having fun at IEL!

During my time here I was able to really feel integrated and included within the entire IEL team. The first week I was here, I was invited to a staff basketball game after work. Soon, staff will be going to a Washington Nationals baseball game. Last week, a staff member walked around the office giving away strawberry shortcake cookies. There is a truly unique office culture here where you do great work but also have fun while doing it. Also, every week there is a Brown Bag lunch focusing on a different IEL program or professional development topic. Although geared towards interns, staff also attends if they have an interest. This was a great way to get know other staff members and the important work they are doing. Everyone at IEL is approachable, appreciates you and your work, wants the best for you, and will help you out along the way. Even the president! Johan made sure to be available for all staff to meet with, even interns.

All in all, I loved working at IEL. In the work at IEL and in the work environment at IEL, engagement, leadership, and community are major themes. If you want to work somewhere that promotes authentic engagement and partnerships, that pushes people to succeed on their own terms, and that values collective power, then apply to be an IEL intern. Don’t be afraid to connect with others, share yourself and your knowledge, and to keep learning!  

 

Contact Us at 4301 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 100 | Washington, DC 20008 | 202-822-8405 | epfp@iel.org

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