Nicola Morrow '17 at the American Refugee Committee

Each semester, Macalester students who are passionate about human rights, global health, and immigration issues connect to Twin Cities organizations dedicated to that work. Through internship experiences, they apply what they've learned in Mac classrooms, work on projects that advance each organization's mission, and join a network of advocates. We asked three students to tell us about their internships.

Nicola Morrow '17

Bellingham, Wash.

International studies

Internship: American Refugee Committee

I first learned about the American Refugee Committee in Introduction to International Public Health course. I was excited to work locally with an international organization. At ARC, my supervisor was a Macalester alum, and my work with her dovetailed with almost all of my academic and personal interests, particularly public health.

I worked on a major retrospective data analysis that focused specifically on ARC's health indicator outcomes across all of their country programs. For example, we might measure the number and percent of deliveries of children with the full suite of immunizations, or the number and percent of deliveries performed with a skilled birth attendant present. I spent a lot of time digging through quarterly reports, and using this data to generate basic graphs and statistics. This information will be used to celebrate the progress that ARC has made as well as to help program managers and developers see where they can improve ARC's services. This project sparked my interest in creating a more rigorous internal reporting system. I spent the remainder of my time at ARC developing a more consistent and representative suite of health indicators, creating a basic internal reporting framework, and eventually doing the same for several other sectors. It was immensely gratifying to pursue my own project, and then to witness the commencement of its implementation.

International public health always appealed to me in class, but now I know that I love the actual practice of international public health as well, despite its attendant inefficiencies and frustrations. This internship has allowed me to apply my academic experiences to a tangible project, and I can't overemphasize the satisfaction that comes with knowing my work will be used in some small way to affect real programs and real people.

Gage Garretson '16

Oceanside, Calif.

Geography

Internship: Advocates for Human Rights

Through my academic work at Macalester, I was drawn to human rights and humanitarian policy programs, but I realized I needed experience. The Minneapolis nonprofit Advocates for Human Rights has a well-established relationship with Macalester and I knew it would offer a unique experience working with human rights policy.

One of my projects included working on a report we submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. I spent my days there researching migrant rights, coordinating informational meetings with attorneys and advocates, compiling interviews of migrant workers in Minnesota, and drafting the report.

My internship marks the beginning of my professional work in human rights policy, and the experiences and knowledge I gained from it will stay with me for years to come. Applying the ideas I'm learning at Mac validates my education and helps me feel prepared for life after graduation. I'll remember the great work that The Advocates does, but also how stretched small non-governmental organizations can be and the value of interns. For me, the organization's size opened the opportunity to participate in such important and meaningful work.

Doroteja Postonjski '17

Zacretje, Croatia

Political science and German studies

Internship: The International Institute of Minnesota

At the International Institute of Minnesota, I helped clients on their path to becoming US citizens by working with them on their citizenship and green card applications. My focus is European/international law and immigration, and my internship gave me great insight into how the US immigration system works. I worked with so many people, but they weren't just case numbers: they have faces, names, places that they belonged to and a new place where they want to a build a new home.

I was born and spent most of my life in Croatia, a country with a huge diaspora and a long history of immigration due to political and economic reasons, as well as the war that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia. I'm interested not only in the political and legal practices in immigration but also the cultural and historical narratives behind different immigrant groups. Right now, the European Union is experiencing a huge refugee crisis, and I plan to use the skills I developed at the International Institute both during my semester abroad in Germany and Austria and back home in Croatia.

To me, Mac means being aware and engaged, dedicated and hard-working. This internship fits perfectly into the picture of Macalester I imagined even before I came here.

April 1 2016

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