By Lillien Kelley
Salem State students spent their summer developing skills and exploring their career interests through a variety of internship positions. Internships provided students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the field, however, they are often challenging for students to pursue. Most internships are unpaid or underpaid, especially in political, non-profit, and public service sectors.
The Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics (Berry IOP) at Salem State University recognizes this challenge and works to create entry points and break down barriers for all students interested in these fields. For summer 2021, the Berry IOP awarded nine students with $3,500 stipends to support them completing summer internships in these fields.
Hannah Levine '22 majors in social work with a minor in civic engagement. For her internship, she was at HereNow as a college intern. On its website, HereNow describes itself as “a teen-led online and in-person initiative promoting mental health, well-being, and resilience through innovative content and creativity” which provides “a platform and network for Jewish teens to meet, share what matters to them, and get their friends and peers to join the conversation.”
Hannah supervised five teen interns and assisted them in creating content for HereNow including articles and creative experiences; engaged in outreach to Jewish Youth professionals to spread awareness of HereNow and adding to their database for an email list; assisted on grant writing; and helped to educate the teen interns on mental health-related topics.
“I gained more skills and experiences in the administrative side of working with an organization and enjoyed engaging in outreach and learning about the funding and logistics that goes into keeping a program such as this running and successful,” said Levine.
Geography and sustainability major Joey Wolongevicz '22 spent his summer interning with Salem State Professor Noel Healy as a research assistant. Some of his research duties consisted of a systematic literature review of green new deal literature, public policy analysis of global trends for green new deals, documenting global carbon-centric and social-centric climate policies and trends, and analyzing public policy efficacy for global COVID-19 green stimulus proposals.
“I learned how to effectively research public policy, assemble data, analyze data, and communicate such data in accessible language,” said Wolongevicz. “I also experienced the research process from Dr. Healy's professional perspective, which I have used to make my process more effective.”
Alisa Grishin '21 who majored in history with a concentration in public history worked with Qatar America Institute for Culture as a communications and programs intern. Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC) is a non-profit that uplifts and promotes art and culture from the United States, Qatar, and the MENA region, thus forming a strong inter-cultural relationship between these nations.
At her internship, Grishin created social media posts that consisted of researching famous and up-and-coming individuals from the creative sector. She composed literature for the social media posts and created the graphics. In addition to this, Grishin wrote articles for QAIC's quarterly magazine and conducted an individual research capstone.
When asked how this scholarship and internship supported her career goals, Grishin said: “Cultural diplomacy and cultural policy are two fields that I had never considered before this internship. Now, I am applying to graduate programs for them!”
Psychology and WLC-Spanish major Ashley Hames '22 spent their summer interning with Salem State University’s Sustainability Office. Hames said that “the sustainability office seeks to implement sustainable initiatives across campus that will help us reach energy efficiency goals such as those set by Energy Star.” Some of the responsibilities they had were entering utility usage data for Energy Star Portfolio Manager, benchmarking sustainability initiatives (such as compost) with other universities, social media posts and image editing, and student outreach/engagement.
“I gained Microsoft Excel skills from this internship, communicative skills as I worked on the promotional material with marketing, and knowledge of different kinds of energy usage as well as their cost and health impacts on the local community,” said Hames. “In the future, this will help me become a better negotiator in favor of renewable energy. I have been able to observe the smaller changes/compromises that are necessary at all administrative levels for a just transition to cleaner energy that is necessary for a livable future.”
These students were able to use the knowledge they gained through coursework and co-curricular involvements to obtain these internships. By receiving a scholarship through the Berry IOP, they were able to actually pursue these internships with less stress about how they would afford essentials such as housing, food, and transportation. Now, as a result of their internships, these students are better prepared for careers in fields that they are passionate about.
“We continue to be inspired by Salem State students’ interests and accomplishments within these fields,” said Samantha Giffen, the Berry IOP Coordinator. “We are thankful to our donors and elected officials for making it possible for us to award these scholarships so students can pursue their dreams.”
The Berry IOP is offering scholarships for students pursuing internships in Spring 2022. Find the application details. The deadline for applications is Sunday, November 28, 2021.