Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Current Intern to Future Interns: Some Friendly Advice

I would like to dedicate this post to the incoming summer interns.

First off, of course, congratulations on being accepted to intern with the Feminist Majority Foundation. As an intern currently approaching the end of my spring internship experience with FMF, I can tell you when you mention to people that you're with FMF, it's bound to get you quite a few nods of approval from friends and acquaintances.

And of course, (depending on the crowd you hang out with) you might get some raised eyebrows and cautious oh's. But don't let those phase you; keep in mind, many people still don't know what the word "feminist" means, or they may have a misconception of its meaning.

On that note, I'd like to share that I came here in January with very limited experience in women's studies and the feminist realm. The only education I had came from the courses I took at my university (Feminist Theory and Psychology of Women) and being a member of the newly formed Women's Studies Club on campus. The main reason I had hoped to get an FMF internship was to learn and be exposed to women's advocacy. Lucky for me, (and soon, for you, if you happen to be in my position) FMF accepted me with open arms.

I am working with the media team (Beth Soderberg, assistant to Ellie Smeal (FMF President) is my supervisor) for which I write news stories for the newswire. I am also working with the campus outreach team, and the campus organizers have all been guiding me along during this semester. The biggest event this semester for the campus team has been the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in DC back in March. That was a pretty intense learning experience, helping prepare for and having the chance to participate in such a big event.

Since I write for the newswire, I'm constantly being exposed to the latest news that happens. Since I did not have a strong background in women's issues, this gave me the push to research and ask questions. I encourage you (if you don't already do this) to read the news every day, paying particular attention to feminist issues. If you have time, have a look through our newswire in the last few months and familiarize yourself with what is going on today.

As a member of the campus outreach team, I was assigned to write regularly for our blog. I like to uphold the integrity of this communications medium and keep my posts thought-provoking and relevant. So even though this is a more relaxed medium than the newswire, I still appreciate how lucky I am that I can share my opinion on such a major organization's blog.

I would love to know what you think about my entries, you can look them up in the search under "ilona globa." I hope that when you intern here, you will have a chance to post in the blog as well. Knowing how to use social media resources like blogs, Twitter and Facebook is essential to be successful today.

Something else you can look forward to while you intern with FMF: you will not be told to bring anyone coffee/lunch or run random errands. If you are put in charge of the phones or do administrative work, you get paid! This was a great relief to me, since there are so many organizations that make interns do menial tasks that do not teach them anything beyond how their boss takes his/her coffee. You will likely do printing, copying or cutting, but these are necessary in any office environment. (And wait 'til you see our printer! It's a bit of a beast, but I trust you'll conquer it.)

To finish up, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of your time here. Show your enthusiasm and ask your supervisors for new tasks/work whenever you finish an assignment, because the time will likely go by in a flash. If you get invited to go to special events with other FMF employees, go! This is the DC Metropolitan area, an amazing place to network and potentially find a job.

Best of luck with your summer endeavors!

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