CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?
NJ: During my internship at The Years Project, my responsibilities included researching candidates’ history with climate change, the environmental rollbacks that are taking place with the current administration, and keeping track of events that are exacerbated by climate change such as the current wildfires in California or the floodings taking place across India and Bangladesh. It was incredibly helpful because I was able to write blog posts detailing the lack of responsibility the government took before and after Hurricane Katrina, focusing on New Orleans, and why the Southern community, specifically my home state of Mississippi, is left behind on climate change. I do not have many opportunities to speak on the South or Southern politics, but my internship allowed me to explore new possibilities.
CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?
NJ: Despite this internship being a virtual experience, the best thing about it was that it developed my writing skills outside of the classroom and allowed me to learn more about the interconnectedness of poverty, racism, and climate change. This was an eye opening experience to a new kind of storytelling that I do plan on using in my journalistic career. I am grateful for my first internship experience, and I’m grateful I was able to take it through the Yawkey Nonprofit Internship Program. I look forward to my other internships in the future and see what I can get out of that. This summer was definitely an unprecedented one, but I am grateful for it all, even the twists and turns.
CCD: What was the most memorable part of your experience?
NJ: Towards the end of the internship, my fellow interns and I got together to write critiques that we think could help bring the company to the next level. As a smaller nonprofit, we were able to talk to the owner and founder of the organization. We were fortunate enough to work with top producers who even helped film award winning documentary series. They constantly encourage us to take initiative and to gather our own research. They allowed us to share our voices and made us feel heard and seen. I am very in tune with social justice issues, and I took notice that The Years Project, while progressive, did not always take a stance on social injustices unless it was the side of a popular opinion. I warned them against continuing to do that because in order to effect truly great change, they should be proactive about the work that they are doing. I find their work extremely necessary, but I asked them that they not be afraid to produce a video on a controversial topic for those who need to see it.