Melissa Canu ’13
Major(s): American Studies
Internship Site: Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women - Boston, MA
I scheduled an appointment at the Career Center to talk about my interests, career goals, and desired plans for the summer. Through this meeting, I found a posting on idealist.org from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. MCSW is an independent state agency that advocates women’s rights, and engages in community outreach and policy reform. I liked the convergence between public policy development and direct services to women, so I emailed the contact person and inquired about application materials and deadlines. I worked on my materials and brought them back to the Career Center for final revisions. Shortly after I emailed my materials to MCSW, I was called for a phone interview.
From early on, I expressed interest in policy research and public outreach, so my supervisor assigned me projects relevant to my interests. I drafted a speech for the Chair of the Commission to give at the State House, wrote talking points for an event called Advocacy Day that we hosted at the State House in June, wrote press releases when there was movement on our priority legislation, and got to draft a rebuttal with another intern when a revision was proposed on one of our bills that would inhibit the capabilities of the bill to close the wage gap in Massachusetts. My favorite projects involved research and editing.
Two of my English classes really prepared me for this internship. ENGL220: Critical Approaches and Literary Methods vastly strengthened my ability to read and interpret a text, and then express my thoughts into a well-planned, articulate paper. This skill translated over to my internship, and helped me to receive direction, think about my assigned project, and then produce a publication that was useful and professional. My ENGL101: Gender in American Fiction equipped me with the vocabulary to understand and comment on situations where gender plays an important factor. I not only strengthened my own language, but also developed more of my own views on women’s rights.
Everyone that I met through my internship was helpful. My supervisor has very quickly become one of my mentors, as she built a successful career, and balances it well with her family. She holds, in my eyes, an ideal position, and conversations with her have shown me that she felt the exact same way that I do when she was my age.
The Commissioners I interacted with throughout the summer have served as role models and excellent opportunities for networking. This group of powerful and independent women are inspiring, and motivate me to work hard so that I may one day be as successful.
Tips from Melissa:
Familiarize yourself with the mission of the organization - it is a really informative way to learn exactly what the organization is about, and how you will factor into their duties. Keep an open mind, and always be aware of authority figures who express an interest in you and your future. It is these people who will turn into your role models, mentors, friends, and will do anything they can to help you achieve your goals.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.