Our team members are passionate, dedicated, and committed to raising awareness about global poverty and advocating on behalf of the world’s poor. Read about some of our past interns from 2020 and the amazing work they did.

 

ALEXA

Alexa Bates, PR/Marketing Team Member

Alexa’s Achievements: Received 11 shoutouts from influencers and was a guest speaker on Media Outreach 101. Alexa also raised $2,075.

 

Question #1:  Since you have been with The Borgen Project, what is one thing that has surprised you so far about global poverty issues or advocacy?

What has surprised me most is the widespread misunderstanding of the facts surrounding global poverty. Few people recognize just how many people experience extreme poverty and what extreme poverty is even defined by. This is problematic because it makes eradicating global poverty that much more difficult. Continuing to advocate about global poverty is critical and it’s something I plan on doing until real change is achieved.  

Question #2:  What motivated you to go the extra mile in your work?

I was most motivated to go the extra mile because of my frustration with the realities of how so many individuals and families struggle in this world. Upon learning that so many people live on less than $2/day, I was committed to doing whatever I could to remedy global poverty. Reaching out to family and friends, raising money, and discussing these issues was something I thought I could do to play my part in making people aware of global poverty and ultimately ending it. 

Question #3:  Any tips or words of advice for other team members to help them along a similar path to success?

I would encourage team members to be resolute and confident in their work. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family members or acquaintances you may not have spoken to in a while! Many people are much more interested in learning about things they’re not familiar with than you would think and are happy to donate to the cause, whether that be their money or their time. Reach out to as many people as you can and you’ll be sure to find success.

Question #4: What have you been up to after completing your internship role with The Borgen Project?

After completing my internship with The Borgen Project, I have been finishing up my final year at the University of Michigan and I have also been seeking post-graduate job opportunities. Additionally, I’ve been spending some of my time working as the Head of Social Media for an organization called Spill the Honey. The organization educates on the historic Black-Jewish Alliance and furthers that alliance today.  

 


ALLISON

Allison Harlan, HR Team Member

Allison’s Achievements: Was instrumental in assisting with recruitment and Indeed postings. She presented to one of her classes and had three students apply to volunteer with The Borgen Project. She also reached out to 15 influencers and raised $600.

 

Question #1:  Since you have been with The Borgen Project, what is one thing that has surprised you so far about global poverty issues or advocacy?

The most surprising thing about fighting global poverty is how effective we are. I think sometimes it’s easy to underestimate our efforts because we aren’t working on the ground or able to see immediate results – but each person that we interact with, each email we send off, each call we make, adds up and makes a huge difference in the world. The most surprising thing about advocacy is how easy it is – we can all find ways to advocate and bring awareness. Every single person brings a skillset to the table that is so valuable and can be utilized in many different ways. Whether that be through fundraising, through social media outreach, lobbying, etc., we all bring something to the table when we’re going to advocate. When the passion and drive is there, advocacy can be “easy” – but it’s all about advocating effectively.

Question #2:  What motivated you to go the extra mile in your work?

I had the privilege to work with youth who were at-risk a few years ago, and I saw first-hand what poverty was like at a domestic level. I met a young boy who had been arrested for stealing a shirt because he needed it for a school presentation, and thankfully, he was given community service hours rather than a 12-month sentence. I think about him every day and he is a huge source of my motivation because I want to make sure our kids are set up for success and aren’t experiencing such financial hardships. While I am so blessed to have met him, I think about all the other boys and girls I haven’t met, and I want to do everything I can for them.

Overall, my love for people, our mission and organization, and our work motivates me to go the extra mile.

Question #3:  Any tips or words of advice for other team members to help them along a similar path to success?

Invest in the tasks as much as possible and see if there are any other ways that you can help out. Go the extra mile and really maximize your time within your program – there are a lot of valuable skills that you can build.

Question #4: What have you been up to after completing your internship role with The Borgen Project?

Since I completed my HR internship, I’ve become an Assistant Manager for The Borgen Project and assist with our NPL and HR teams. I also graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Psychology and I finished up my first year of graduate school there as well. I’m currently in my last semester of my MPA program and have been dedicating time to school and working with The Borgen Project!

 


AMANDA

Amanda Ostuni, Writer

Amanda’s Achievements: Fundraised $ 1,047, had a successful lobbying meeting with her representative, got a Letter to the Editor published in her local paper and her Minnesota Refugee Resettlement piece became The Borgen Project’s article of the month in April 2020.

 

Question #1:  Since you have been with The Borgen Project, what is one thing that has surprised you so far about global poverty issues or advocacy?

I was pleasantly surprised to learn how much progress has been made with some poverty issues. I was glad to learn military leaders have spoken in favor of investing in global development, that we have passed and renewed things like the Global Food Security Act, that some nations have improved in their poverty class status, and of the number of bills congressional leaders have proposed addressing global poverty issues. On the other hand, I was surprised to learn how much better things could be without bureaucracy standing in the way—for example, too many bills haven’t actually been reviewed in Congress, and lay languishing. But knowing what some obstacles provide direction for advocacy work, and knowing what’s been achieved gives hope. These two things together are the perfect fuel to keep us fighters going.

Question #2:  What motivated you to go the extra mile in your work?

Passion and responsibility. The Borgen Project was an opportunity to write about meaningful stories that fell under the umbrella topic of global poverty issues. When you are writing with the purpose of teaching readers about a subject as important and complex as something like global poverty, and to advocate for change in that area, there is no room for factual errors or half-hearted commitment. So, I felt a responsibility to humankind to do my best work. It helps, too, that I could choose my topics, so everything I wrote came from a place of personal passion. It’s always easy to work hard at something you’re interested in. These same philosophies apply to the other internship components. You won’t succeed in fundraising or in persuading a member of Congress to agree with you if you are not well-informed, persistent, and emoting sincerity. Essentially, it’s “go big, be real, or go home.”

Question #3:  Any tips or words of advice for other team members to help them along a similar path to success?

  1. Use the things that interest you as a launching point for an article idea, or a fundraising pitch, or discussion with a congressional leader. When people sense that you really care about what you’re telling them, they’ll be more inclined to listen. A good writer can fake it, but nothing beats authenticity.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your supervisors/editors—about a particular edit, whether a story angle makes sense, about speaking with your congressional leader, anything. The best work comes from open communication.
  3. Stick to a routine. I was worried about staying on task for a remote and part-time internship—there’s room for procrastination in flexibility. But I chose set hours/days each week for The Borgen Project, and it kept me accountable.
  4. Use your network. I didn’t know much about foreign affairs going into this, but I had a couple of friends/family with some applicable knowledge, so I consulted them on ideas, fact-finding resources, and more when needed. Think of who you know who might be informed on global poverty issues, and pick their brain if they’ll let you.

Question #4: What have you been up to after completing your internship role with The Borgen Project?

The internship with The Borgen Project confirmed for me the direction in which I want to take my career. I want to use my writing and reporting skills to address sociopolitical issues (foreign or domestic). So, I have identified companies I hope to one day work for, and I have started applying to graduate programs that will help make me a better candidate for those companies. I am applying to a mix of relevant programs: political science, public policy, and journalism with politics or social justice specializations. I hope to enroll in a program for the fall 2021 semester. (I also picked up two new hobbies in post-internship quarantine free time: surfing, and bad painting).

 


NOOR

Noor Mchallah, Nonprofit Leadership Team Member

Noor’s Achievements: Noor met with four congressional offices and garnered the support of Rep. Frederica Wilson who co-sponsored the Global Health Security Act of 2020. She mobilized 40 people and raised $670. 

 

Question #1: Since you have been with The Borgen Project, what is one thing that has surprised you so far about global poverty issues or advocacy?

The thing that has surprised me the most regarding global poverty advocacy is that mobilization and reaching out to senators and representatives really works! After several conversations with my congressional leaders’ staffers, I was successful in garnering my Representative’s support for co-sponsoring the Global Health Security Act which was a really big accomplishment. Advocacy is evidently very effective, especially social media advocacy, which I wasn’t aware of prior to my internship with The Borgen Project. Through my social media posts, I attracted a lot of attention and donations which really helped with my goal of advertising The Borgen Project and its purpose. 

Question #2:  What motivated you to go the extra mile in your work?

My motivation lied in the belief that the harder I worked, the more of a difference I could make for The Borgen Project and for my congressional leaders with who I was discussing crucial poverty-reduction legislation. I knew that I would gain the most out of working hard because I would learn a lot as I’d put effort into each of the tasks on a weekly basis, and so that’s what I did!

Question #3: Any tips or words of advice for other team members to help them along a similar path to success?

Working hard and putting a lot of effort into tasks is crucial to be successful as your hard work won’t go unnoticed. Dedicate a good amount of time to your weekly tasks and be sure to show how committed you are to spreading the purpose of The Borgen Project to the people in your community and your congressional leaders! 

Question #4: What have you been up to after completing your internship role with The Borgen Project?

I have been working for The Borgen Project as an Assistant Manager since August which has been an incredible experience. It’s been really interesting to see the inner work of the organization as someone who was formerly a Non-Profit Leadership Intern and I appreciate all that I’ve learned so far. I am also currently studying at Boston University, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Public Health and Arabic, and have been able to see a lot of similarities between what I’m studying and what The Borgen Project advocates for. 

 


Sofia

Sofia Siegel, Political Affairs Team Member

Sofia’s Achievements: Fundraised $1,445, and had six congressional meetings. Her representatives also co-sponsored a bill after her meeting. Her letter to the Editor was published and she met all of the impact chart goals.

 

Question #1: Since you have been with The Borgen Project, what is one thing that has surprised you so far about global poverty issues or advocacy?

It’s amazing how oblivious we all are to the issues that exist within the realm of global poverty. My internship truly taught me how much of a bubble we all live in. Something that surprised me about global poverty advocacy is how easy it is, it takes no time to make a difference by just emailing or calling Congress. It’s amazing how such a small act has an extremely large impact long term.

Question #2: What motivated you to go the extra mile in your work?

My experiences working directly with impoverished communities in low-income countries motivated me to go the extra mile in my work. The connections I made during my work in these countries, with Putney Student Travel, made me feel that I had a personal connection to the work I was doing. This personal connection motivated me to go the extra mile in my work because I know how crucial the efforts of the Borgen Project are to people around the world. 

Question #3: Any tips or words of advice for other team members to help them along a similar path to success?

Reach out to everyone you know and take advantage of social media!! You will be surprised at how many people are interested in your work and who are willing to support and help you. Mobilize all the recourses you possibly can and you will also manage to achieve more than what is asked! 

Question #4: What have you been up to after completing your internship role with The Borgen Project?

Since completing my internship role with The Borgen Project, I have been back at Brandeis University for my sophomore year working on my political science and history majors and my Hispanic studies minor. I’m working hard in these subjects with the hopes that one day I can utilize the things I learn to further the efforts of ending global poverty. I am hoping to once again work in political affairs or political consulting this coming summer. And of course, I still call and email Congress every week! 

 


TERRA

Terra Johns, Regional Director/Advocate Team Member

Terra’s Achievements: Received Honors, Bird-Dog and President’s Circle Awards. Met with four congressional offices, mobilized 53 people to call and email Congress, bird-dogged Sen. Tillis during a TeleTown Hall, attended five networking events and presented to her resident staff and the college council at her university about The Borgen Project’s mission. She also raised $3,321 in donations.

 

Question #1: Since you have been with The Borgen Project, what is one thing that has surprised you so far about global poverty issues or advocacy?

Although I’ve always suspected it, I was particularly surprised by the sheer expansiveness of the issue of poverty itself. This became most apparent to me when preparing for meetings with the state’s congressional leaders. Taking various forms, every piece of poverty legislation has a different mission. This ultimately reveals the multifaceted nature of the problem and highlights its severity not only nationally, but on a global scale.

Question #2: What motivated you to go the extra mile in your work?

I’ve always had a drive to help people and once I learned the impact that I could make through my work with The Borgen Project, I knew it was my responsibility to put in maximum effort. Through firsthand experience, I’ve seen the extent to which poverty can influence the trajectory of an individual’s life…any form of support has the potential to save the overall wellbeing of a community. I believe that it’s necessary to do what we can when in the position to make a difference.

Question #3: Any tips or words of advice for other team members to help them along a similar path to success?

I believe that mindset is everything. It’s important to be willing to put yourself out there and express your passion for the cause. Energy is contagious and showing your level of care makes potential donors want to contribute. I also want to emphasize the importance of contacting a broad network of people. I wouldn’t encourage volunteers to be particularly selective in who they decide to reach out to because you never know who is going to feel moved to donate. You might expect to receive a large donation from your best friend, but may end up receiving more from a neighbor with whom you’ve had very few conversations…people are unpredictable and you’d be surprised by their generosity! 

Question #4: What have you been up to after completing your internship role with The Borgen Project?

Post-internship completion, my primary focus has been my education. As a Resident Advisor trying to supervise first-year students in the midst of a global pandemic, I have been incredibly busy and have had to be particularly intentional in tackling my course load this semester. I’ve also had the opportunity to take my modeling career to the next level and was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.