By Ellen Zhang
Chief Marketing Officer
My name is Angela Frimpong and I am a rising junior at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. I’m majoring in Biology and minoring in Global Development Studies. I’m interested in non-profit work, international development and public policy. This summer, I interned at Bread for the World (Bread), a non-profit that advocates for people experiencing hunger and poverty. I served as the Church Relations Intern, specifically working for Pan-African Churches. My duties included providing resources for Bread’s members to effectively advocate for people facing hunger and poverty in the US and abroad. I also had the opportunity to table for Bread at the 2018 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Summit.
I’m interested in incorporating critical thinking into education as a tool for international development. In working toward the aforementioned goal, I started a non-profit in 2016 which encouraged low-income students in Accra, Ghana to pursue higher levels of education by mentoring them and coaching students to apply for scholarships. In the summer of 2017, I executed a Davis Project for Peace, which I received a $10,000 grant for. The project provided critical thinking training, mentoring and Internet connection for over 140 students and four public schools. This January, I was honored by the Anglican Church for my efforts in improving education in Accra.
Why did you decide to intern and what did you look for in your internship?
I decided to intern because it allows me to apply the skills I have learned in school to a real work setting and gain skills needed to be successful in a workplace. When looking for internships, I prioritize opportunities that allow me to grow personally and professionally while giving me the opportunity to be at the frontlines. I want to fight a social justice issue like hunger or abuse of human rights using policy, advocacy and support. My internship this summer fulfilled all these requirements, while being a faith-based organization which was a huge plus!
How did you apply for sponsorship for your internship?
You know, being a low-income student and pursuing an unpaid internship in one of the most expensive city in the US is a bit of a paradox. So, I am glad you asked. When I was offered the opportunity at Bread, I literally googled “how to fund an unpaid internship in DC” and the B. A. Rudolph Foundation Scholarship popped up. So, I applied. I also knew Grinnell College allocated funds to students pursuing unpaid internships so I applied for those funds as well. In early May 2018, I found out I had won both the scholarship from the Foundation and the grant from my School. To this day, I am so grateful to God and all those who supported me financially. However, I do recognize the privilege in pursuing an unpaid internship, so I am currently collecting information and preparing a blog that publishes information about opportunities that financially support students, so others can pursue unpaid internships.
What is your top takeaway from the experience?
Apart from the growth I have gained personally and professionally, the new network of professionals and mentors who are working in my field is my top takeaway. Washington, DC truly is the city for international development and policy work; I literally met a director at Counterpart, which is an international development agency on the train! I am so happy I got the chance to interact and learn from professionals here.
Why do you think internships are valuable?
Internships are so important because they provide opportunities to develop professionally by applying skills learned in the classroom to a real-work setting. Interns are also able to learn about office culture and skills needed to succeed professionally. Internships increase the chances of getting a job and/or other opportunities in/after school. In fact, in 2013, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that 51.7% of graduating seniors who had jobs offer by graduation had interned. Lastly, internships help students decide if they will want to pursue certain careers or not.
How will you apply the skills you’ve learned during your internship to your next academic year in university?
I plan to continue to take classes that will introduce me to skills I need to pursue a career in international development and policy. I also plan to continue to pursue opportunities that interest me. I will do more reflecting on how the various experiences are changing/confirming my outlook on my faith, life, academics and career. Lastly, I have learned to listen more than speak, which is an important skill to have in school.
What advice would you give to future interns in your role?
It’s okay to not be perfect but it’s important to keep learning, Also, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and realize that even though you’re an intern, you’re still playing an important role. Bread is a huge organization that is doing a lot to advocate for better policies for people experiencing poverty and hunger. Although sometimes I didn’t know exactly how my work was promoting Bread’s mission, I trusted that I was making an impact.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for reading about my internship experience! I hope you found this valuable. Please feel free to contact me if you want to give or receive more information about funding unpaid internships or pursuing international development and/or public policy. Reach out if you just want to chat! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, both my Facebook and LinkedIn usernames are Angela Frimpong, and my Instagram username is iamobaasima.