InterMission is a winter term between the first and second semesters each January. Grade 12 InterMission courses provide opportunities for students to explore their own questions about activism, social justice, change-agency, and finding meaningful work. Students visit a city to spend time in apprenticeships, with the goal being to prepare our oldest students to soon fulfill the final words of our mission statement, “We expect our graduates to shape a changing world.”
I’m Katherine Brink, senior assistant director of admissions at Miss Porter’s School. I got the chance to catch up with a few of our seniors (Gretchen W., Mayra B., Lizzy M., and Jacqueline M.) who just returned from their internships in D.C. See what they had to say about their experience!
KB: Hi girls! Can you all describe what you did for your internship assignments last week in D.C.?
Gretchen: I worked at A Wider Circle, which is a nonprofit based in Silver Spring, Maryland that helps furnish the homes of people who live in poverty. They give donated furniture to new homeowners – people book appointments about a year in advance and they get to walk away with pieces of furniture so that they can make their home more comfortable to live in! They also offer classes and workshops on workplace etiquette and provide clothes to people who are applying for jobs.
Mayra: I was working at the Feminist Majority Foundation with four other Porter’s students. It’s a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that works on various national issues from the feminist perspective. I worked a lot on issues having to do with birth control, abortion laws, and family planning. Throughout the week, I wrote a lot of newswires for their blogs, because they have three main blogs about the issues in order to bring awareness to them. It was a very interesting experience.
Lizzy: [Jacqueline and I] interned in Senator [Chris] Murphy’s office where we did a lot of filing emails, voicemails, and letters; but we also got to go see different places on Capitol Hill, like the Senate floor, and watch all the senators vote. We also got to meet with Senator Murphy for a bit. We talked about the InterMission program and what our specific class was on: health care. It was really cool. A few minutes into our meeting with him his assistant was like, “Your next meeting is here.” It was two reps from Newman’s Own and they’re based in Farmington, so he asked us to sit in on the meeting!
KB: Mayra, did this spark an interest in working in the nonprofit/NGO world for you?
Mayra: Well it was really interesting because on one of the days, we went to Capitol Hill and we actually went into Senator Murphy’s office, too, and had part of the day to talk about these issues. Specifically, we were talking about health care and family planning in Puerto Rico after the hurricane hit and how, even prior to the hurricane, Puerto Rico was suffering a lot. This definitely inspired me to look at problems on the national level.
KB: Gretchen, what was your favorite part of your internship?
Gretchen: My favorite part of my internship was working in the professional development center and getting to work with the clients directly, helping them pick out clothes for their job interviews. It was really fun, especially working with a group of people who had just moved to America who didn’t really speak a lot of English. It was fun to communicate with them through clothes and see the smile on their face when they found a dress or a jacket that they loved.
KB: What about you guys, Lizzy and Jacqueline, do you think you’d ever run for office?
Jacqueline: Working in D.C. and being in that environment was a really unique experience that you really wouldn’t get anywhere else, unless you’re interning when you’re in college. The fact that in high school we’re getting this experience…it inspired me to change my major and now major in political science next year at Bucknell!
KB: Did you guys meet any Ancients when you were there?
Mayra: Yes – at Feminist Majority Foundation – Gaylynn Burroughs. We worked really closely with her for most of the week, so it was very cool to see her job. She takes on a lot of different roles at the Feminist Majority Foundation…she’s up on Capitol Hill quite often promoting the work that they’re doing in the foundation.
KB: What was it like living in D.C. for the week?
Lizzy: It was so cool! Jacqueline and I had a 30 minute commute every day where we had to walk to the Metro and then get on the right one. On the first day we got on the wrong one! We went in the wrong direction so then we got off and fixed it…so we had to ride the right Metro and then get off at the right stop and then walk to the building.
Gretchen: It was really fun being able to choose where to go to eat, and things like that!
Lizzy: For lunch every day, Jacqueline and I got to eat in the Senate cafeteria! We’d eat lunch with everyone from all these different buildings. In our building, we were just in Senator Murphy’s office but then at lunch we were with all these different people on Capitol Hill. We would do a lot of people watching!