It’s been an adjustment process for students, faculty, and staff transitioning to life online. Internships are no exception! In this series, we’re going in-depth with UChicago students about their remote internships. Over the course of the summer, I asked four friends with different majors and career paths to answer a few questions about their experiences.
Next up is Brian, a fourth-year English major from Shaker Heights, OH.
Sam (me): What type of organization are you working for/which organization are you working for?
Brian: I work at the Illinois Prison Project (IPP), a nonprofit based in Chicago, IL.
S: What is your internship role?
B: I provide programmatic and administrative support on IPP’s commutation petition campaigns for incarcerated clients who are: 1) elderly veterans, 2) people formerly housed in solitary confinement who are seriously mentally ill, 3) habitual offenders serving life, and 4) people who are medically vulnerable. I assist with synthesizing and organizing client files, tracking client data, and communicating directly with clients and their families. I also contribute to the IPP team’s strategic planning, intake management, systems development, and client support as needed.
S: What does a typical day look like?
B: I wake up, eat breakfast, attend a morning staff meeting over Zoom, work on tasks for the day and on long term projects, eat lunch, work on more projects in the afternoon, and continue to work until daily tasks are completed!
S: What are the difficulties of performing your internship online? What are the advantages/benefits?
B: It's definitely strange not having an office to be in—I'm currently working at a card table set up in my bedroom—and I miss not being around people while I work all day. But that is definitely made better by the Zoom meetings we do every day. Slack has also become an app that stays open all day, and it feels like everyone is easy to get in touch with. I really think I'm getting much better with tools like Slack, Google Suite, etc. because we heavily rely on them. A commute of 5 seconds is also a great perk!
S: Song of the summer?
B: "IN MY ROOM!" by Tatiana Hazel
Hopefully Brian’s experience has given you an idea of what working for a nonprofit can be like! I'll see you next time for an interview with a Computer Science and Astrophysics major!