Majors: Economics, Political Science
CFS Program: Field Studies in Social Justice
Employer: Young Invincibles
Going into the CFS program, I was looking to gain experience at a nonprofit, particularly in public policy. After interviewing with several organizations, I decided to spend my winter quarter as Civic Engagement Fellow at Young Invincibles, and I do not regret my choice! Young Invincibles is a national nonprofit organization that engages in research and advocacy on issues affecting young adults. I thought this was a very unique perspective, and I wanted a position that would let me work on a variety of projects.
My responsibilities have included tracking the Illinois gubernatorial candidates on the issues, writing op-eds, meeting with students involved in political advocacy at several universities, researching policy issues, conducting advocacy trainings, and general event planning. Our biggest event this quarter was holding a gubernatorial forum where college students could directly engage with candidates on higher education issues. In preparing for these events and conducting research, I have learned a lot about the policy landscape in Illinois and Chicago. I have also learned more on the issues by sitting in on coalition meetings with other nonprofit organizations in Chicago. I have had the opportunity to meet great people at many policy nonprofits in Chicago, and I have even had the opportunity to develop relationships with other nonprofits I had interviewed at.
In addition to the experiences at my internship, I am also taking an amazing CFS class on social justice. Our specific class has a focus on criminalization as a response to social problems, and this has encouraged me to be more conscious of the ways policy can harm the very people it intends to protect.
This quarter has been a time of growth and exploration, but it has also been very challenging at times. Time management is a central issue. Coming down to the office three days a week in addition to classes means that I have had a lot less time to myself than usual. Early mornings have made scheduling time to see friends and loved ones essential, as spontaneous opportunities to relax and hang out can be pretty sparse. Nonetheless, having a supportive CFS community and colleagues at Young Invincibles has been very helpful, and rising to this challenge has been a growing experience.