Monthly Archives: July 2014

Finale

I cannot believe my internship is actually over. This time has flown by incredibly fast, but I have learned so much. Two very exciting experiences come to mind when thinking back over the course of my internship and contemplating the learning goals that I originally set for myself. First of all, I was fortunate enough to go on the release of a wild adult bobcat. He had been sighted on a couple’s property multiple times, and the two landowners noticed that he was limping and was extremely skinny. They were able to trap the adult bobcat and bring him to our facility. During the initial intake exam our RVT announced that the bobcat had a very old fracture in his front right leg that had not healed correctly and he was extremely emaciated. The rest of the team at the FFAWC and myself cared for the adult bobcat and monitored his progress during the month that he was in our rehab facility. Once the bobcat gained weight and appeared to be putting more weight onto his right leg, we coordinated with the landowner to release him back onto the property from which he was caught. I was involved in the transport and release of the bobcat. Seeing that bobcat run out of the crate and out of site was such an incredible experience. I was able to see all of the hard work that was put into his rehabilitation pay off. Seeing the full cycle of rescue, rehabilitation and release was truly amazing. Several news channels even covered the bobcat release story – we made it onto CNN! Check out the link below to see the story covered on CBS News.

http://www.cbs8.com/story/25929352/rehabilitated-bobcat-set-for-release-back-into-wild

The second experience that comes to mind actually occurred during the beginning of the rehab process – the rescue. A fellow intern, Laura, has a part time job at K-Mart, where someone had left a days old baby bird in his or her locker. Being an intern at a wildlife rehab facility, Laura offered to take the bird home that evening after her shift and bring it to the center when it opened in the morning, which meant that we had to make sure that the bird was able to make it through the night. This experience forced me to use all of the knowledge that I have gained throughout my time at the FFAWC. What does a baby bird need? What can we do for it tonight to keep it safe, comfortable and alive throughout the night? Laura and I did as we were taught and the little bird pulled through and we were able to get it to our RVT for proper medical care in the morning.

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This experience has taught me quite a lot about the field of wildlife rehabilitation. It has opened my eyes to a possible future career and I will definitely be pursuing further experience in this area. This internship has showed me that I may be interested in veterinary medicine. I spent lots of time with the RVT at the center and I felt that she really made a difference in the animals’ lives and in the running of the center. I would love to shadow a wildlife RVT or veterinarian, as well as either intern/volunteer at another wildlife rehab center where I can continue to learn about the practice.

I would definitely recommend taking on an internship to anyone who is considering one. An internship can be a fantastic hands-on learning experience and a great way to receive training in the field that you are interested in. At least, it definitely was for me.

Working for the Weekend

CAROLINE LANFORD | Washington, DC

lincoln memorialSo much has happened since my first week here on the Hill! In the first half of my summer, I’ve already

  • Assisted Members of Congress and LAs at our full committee mark-up where CHS ordered reported all eight bills with favorable recommendations
  • Wrote the report for one of those bills (H.R. 4812)
  • Researched cyber security and education data technology for a joint hearing with the Education and Workforce committee
  • Met with Google’s congressional affairs representative about ed. tech regulations and legislationCongressional Baseball game
  • Drafted memos on immigration and the technology sector for Members traveling to Silicon Valley
  • Assisted Members at a full committee hearing on the unaccompanied children crossing the border into Mexico with DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson and the directors of FEMA and CBP
  • Revised a Section by Section Analysis and helped write a fact sheet for an upcoming bill
  • Drafted and reviewed floor statements for Members during votes on five of the bills the committee ordered reported from our markup
  • Drafted an op-ed on soon-to-be-introduced legislation
John Boehner

Speaker Boehner after addressing our group of 400 Hill interns

So far, the most challenging but also most rewarding things I’ve done have involved writing. I’ve never really enjoyed writing, and it is often very difficult for me, but I’ve loved being able to see things I’ve written be useful for legislation and even get read and spoken by Members of Congress. It’s invaluable to be able to communicate complex facts and ideas in a coherent and convincing manner, so I think this practice writing on a number of different issues and for different audiences and purposes will be highly important to both my academic and professional pursuits in the future.

I’ve continued to learn a lot more about the behind-the-scenes process of how policy is made and what exactly happens on the Hill. I got to attend a surprisingly entertaining lecture by Speaker of the House John Boehner just a few days after the shocking GOP Majority Leader and Whip elections, and cheered on CHS’s very own Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA, 2) at the 52nd Annual Congressional Baseball Game with the rest of my office. In interactions like these and in just walking around the Capitol, I’ve already learned a lot about how important personal relationships and political strategy are to the policymaking process.

Independence Day in the National Capital was amazing, and I’ve absolutely loved every washington-dc-fireworksminute of being in DC! There are always so many friendly, intelligent, and interesting people with so many different backgrounds here. It’s truly an international city in a small town.

Until next time, just keep power walking!

Midway through my ESL internship

Hi all! At this point in the summer, I am about halfway through my internship with Catholic Charities here in New Orleans and I have no idea where half the summer has gone. In my Level 2 class, we have made it through about seven out of the 15 chapters, covering topics such as First Impressions, Work Vocabulary, Job Hunts, and Traveling. I can honestly say that the reason we have progressed so rapidly in the course is because of the enthusiasm of my students. I have never met a group of students (adult, college seniors, or children) that was so eager to learn. In no class at Tulane have I witnessed such perfect attendance (and my students almost never show up hungover!) or so many completed homework assignments.

My students come from all over the world and their personal experiences here in New Orleans vary drastically. Even though the classes take place Uptown, I have students who travel (either by bike or public transportation) from far-flung areas like Algiers and Kenner. Although I know that some Tulane students commute to school, it stuns me every day to see all the students packing my classroom, many coming directly from full days of work.

While it is easy for me to see how quickly my students are progressing on their learning goals, it has been harder for me to identify what I am learning from this internship. Some of what I have learned has been very positive. For instance, I learned a lot about the curriculum building of a Level 2 English class and how to develop students’ conversation skills through class book clubs and political debates. Some aspects of my internship have been less positive. While my teaching experience has been exceptional this summer, my work on the non-profit administration end has been less rewarding. My efforts to coordinate adult education and social services presentations for the ESL program have not been so successful yet, but that might be the result of mass vacationing to the Gulf shore to evade the summer heat. Although I eventually (today!) received a response from one group to my inquiries about adult education in the NOLA community, it has taken persistence on my part and a refusal to give up to get anything done. Despite some setbacks, my internship has been a great experience so far, even on the administrative end, as I have gained more experience researching public/education policy on the internet and in libraries by myself in order to find the necessary information for my students. That in itself is rewarding enough.

Thanks for reading!
Olivia

halfway point :(

It’s so crazy to think I’m at the halfway point at Moxie.

I got this internship through the math department at Tulane and had no idea how much work it would be. Jumping from a math tutor to a daily teacher has been immense. Planning lessons is difficult, but I’ve certainly learned the merits of planning far in advance!

Math can be tough, because it’s hard to convince kids to want to do math. We don’t want Moxie to feel too much like school, but it is important that the girls show academic growth over the course of the program. There are days that I have to lecture and give assignments, but I try to spend more time on projects. I’ve found that mixing math with art projects works really well. For example, we are currently “building a dream house.” The girls are working in groups to design and furnish a house. They were given a budget and parameters for what the house should/should not include. They created a floor plan, budget sheet, and collage of the furnishings. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on this project – this was the first time the girls have expressed real enjoyment for a math project.

Science lab has posed some different challenges. Unlike math, the girls seem really interested and excited about science. Before starting Moxie, I imagined doing constant science projects and experiments. Financially, that hasn’t really been possible. I’ve been able to do about two projects/experiments a week, while the other days are devoted to lessons. The girls have expressed some dissatisfaction about this, but as a start-up nonprofit we just don’t have the funds.

I won’t lie, I have my favorites amongst the girls, but I have found that each one of them is so special and unique. I am so pleased with the way my relationships with the girls have grown. Some of them were very affectionate from the start; others took awhile to open up. They are all minority girls from low-income families. Many of them have experienced the premature death of a loved one, violence at home and sexual abuse. To see girls who have been through so much get so excited over baking soda volcanoes is easily enough to make my week.

I have faced some challenges since starting at Moxie. One big problem we have is attendance; most girls do not attend consistently, which makes it really hard to teach (especially for project-based learning). Another difficulty has been working on such a tight budget – we are unable to buy a lot of classroom supplies.

“Glows”: I feel that I have learned how to effectively communicate with each girl. I understand that some girls need to be communicated with in specific ways and I have catered to the academic and personal needs of each girl. I am also proud of myself for the way I’ve adapted to certain aspects of Moxie. Typically, in the workplace, I am not a flexible person. I have learned that being so rigid just doesn’t work here. There have been times that I’ve had to change lesson plans last minute – I’ve learned the importance of having a back-up plan!

 

“Grows”: It can be difficult not to get frustrated. There have been moments where I’ve found myself completely losing my patience/cool. There have been incidents where I snapped at my helper or one of the girls. Whether my point was justified or not, I think I can try to improve the way I deal with frustration. Additionally, I still haven’t quite mastered the integration of relevant content and the method of project-based learning. I’ve found the material in the diagnostics to be difficult to translate into games and projects – specifically in math.

One size doesn’t fit all

Hello fellow interns! I thought for this post I would give a little insight into this fabulous organization I’m working for this summer!

The Central Coast Region Camarillo Office where I'm reporting to. This building houses all the major supplies for disasters spanning the Southern coast of California.

The Central Coast Region Camarillo Office where I’m reporting to. This building houses all the major supplies for disasters spanning the Southern coast of California.

We all know the iconic logo of the American Red Cross, an organization synonymous with blood drives, blankets and Clara Barton. Most elementary school kids in the US are taught the historical story of this organization’s founding, which began in Washington DC in 1881 when one passionate nurse was determined to aid a war-stricken United States, whose population at the time consisted of more injured soldiers than abled-bodied ones. Clara’s humanitarian girl-power efforts and 23 years of service led to the development of one of the nation’s premier humanitarian organizations. Their mission statement is as follows:

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”

IMG_2400

One of the many inspirational posters around the office.

Their motto is turn compassion into action, and through the strong network of volunteers, donors and partners they are able to provide support in times of need. As a non-profit organization, the Red Cross relies soley on private donations and grants for its daily funding and functioning. The fundamental principles are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality, all of which are incorporated into every aspect of their work. With over 100 million volunteers and employees nationwide, the Red Cross is part of the world’s largest volunteer network and found in 187 countries. And I’m now one of 100 million!

My haphazard organization of my desk. Have no fear, all those papers are now safely filed away and ready for a disaster! (Fingers crossed we don't have one soon...)

My haphazard organization of my desk. Have no fear, all those papers are now safely filed away and ready for a disaster! (Fingers crossed we don’t have one soon!)

Today, the supporters, volunteers and employees of the Red Cross provide compassionate care in five critical areas:

  1. People affected by disasters in America
  2. Support for members of the military and their families
  3. Blood collection, processing and distribution
  4. Health and safety education and training
  5. International relief and development

My internship primarily falls under the first critical area, and I am working in the Department of Disaster Programs in the Ventura County Chapter of the Central Coast Region of the Southern California Division. There are a lot of divisions. Anyways, I’m working on preparing databases in preparation for large-scale disasters, and the information I’m gathering and compiling will directly aid communities in the event of a disaster. For example, I am working on a database of restaurants the Red Cross has a partnership with in each chapter of the Central Coast region, and this list will allow people to know where they can go for a fixed price and affordable meal during a disaster. While my collection of restaurants doesn’t initially aid anyone, the availability of this resource is essential to providing support. Further, I have sharpened my interpersonal communication skills, for in order to create these agreements I need to communicate with managers and organize an agreement that they will hold to in the event of a disaster.

Well, are you?

Well, are you?

While interviewing for my position, my now supervisor and I discussed the role of nonprofits in society, and how diverse they must be in their outreach. There is no “one size fits all” solution, and it is impermeable that response are adapted to suit the needs of the community. My supervisor emphasized the point that yes, the Red Cross is a national and global organization that sets ideals and guidelines for each individual chapter, but not every case will be solvable in the same way. She made sure I understood that “you can’t please everyone” and particularly during an emergency. Decisions are made quickly to ensure the majority of the population is covered, and this can lead to variations in performance and results. By keeping in mind their fundamental principles and understanding the basis of their mission, the Red Cross and its volunteers may not respond the same way every time, or the same way every chapter can respond, yet by remembering the sole purpose of helping someone in need, each individual chapter, employee and volunteer can and will provide help and comfort in the face of tragedy.

Moxie!!

Moxie Leadership Academy is a start-up nonprofit summer program that targets incoming fifth and sixth grade girls by measuring academic and personal growth. We are based at Crocker Elementary School on Gen. Taylor. Day 1 was relatively slow; the girls were assessed in mathematics, science and emotional intelligence. Moxie is centered on the idea of project-based learning – girls do hands-on projects to learn instead of the traditional lectures, worksheets and homework.

I am working alongside a great team! Vanessa is our supervisor. She handles all the reservations, finances and other logistics. Christina is covering logic/critical thinking and interpersonal skills. I also have a classroom aid, Malajah. She is an incoming eighth grader and will probably be a huge help to me.

The idea is that the girls learn and grow without feeling like they’re in school (because they aren’t!). I’m anticipating this being a tough balance to strike. The daily schedule includes:

  • Advisory – This usually involves some sort of team building exercise or activity for the girls to get to know one another better
  • Breakfast
  • Math – I’m hoping to cover area, perimeter, volume, surface area, circumference, fractions, some statistics and probability
  • Workshop – This will be some sort of construction project or craft
  • Social action project – Students will choose social issues they feel passionately about and design an action or solution to further their beliefs
  • Interpersonal skills – This class will focus on personal growth and the growth of friendships amongst the girls
  • Lunch
  • Science – Includes mostly hands-on projects and experiments
  • Logic/Critical Thinking – Projects and activities that involve problem solving
  • Fitness – There will be a different instructor each week teaching different physical classes
  • Game time – organized games that the girls play together
  • Fridays include pamoja in place of science lab. Here students will showcase what have made/experienced throughout the week. Parents will attend.

I teach four classes every day – fifth grade math, sixth grade math, fifth grade science and sixth grade science. I am incredibly nervous planning all these lessons. I have no certification and no teaching experience aside from some tutoring. I’m also nervous about facilitating personal relationships with the girls, and striking the balance between friend and teacher in being a mentor to them.

All the girls come from low-income families, and I expect that poverty isn’t even the worst that some of them have experienced. That’s why it is so important to me to not only engage the girls in STEM, but to help them grow into strong, motivated young women.

A day of work at the ballpark – part 2

I just wrapped up a very busy July 4th weekend of work, and I’m about to begin a seven game homestand starting tomorrow….but I’m ready to go and I’ve got tons to write about!

Working in the sports industry is similar in many ways to playing a sport, in that it is impossible to predict. I’ve been interning in the New York Mets ticket office for more than 6 weeks now, and every day I’m presented with something new and unique. Whether it be paperwork, gameday responsibilities, etc., the work is always different and I always have to be prepared to do the unexpected.

photo (1)

Recently, I was involved in the organization and management of a Match.com “Singles Mingle” event at the stadium during a game. My responsibilities included working with Match.com to set up the event and make sure everything ran smoothly. It doesn’t sound like the typical “ticket office work,” but as I said, one must always be prepared to do the unexpected when working in the ticket office!

July 4th weekend was, of course, very busy and the days were long, but there was no better way to spend it than at the ballpark! The Mets begin a seven game homestand Monday, and though I can’t predict what work/events will be coming my way….I’m ready for anything!