Progressive Summer Opportunities

Looking for a meaningful way to spend your summer? Stanford activists share their most memorable experiences.

ACLU National Prison Project
Sharada Jambulapati []

I helped in the office by responding to prisoner mail and conducting research on legal cases, prisoner rights, and state correctional budgets. I enjoyed being in DC with top lawyers working on prisoner rights issues.  I was able to visit local jail facilities with lawyers and attend congressional hearings featuring Justice Breyer and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Van Anh Tran []

I worked mainly in APEN’s Development Office and learned a lot about the work that goes into fundraising for a non-profit organization and grassroots fundraising techniques. This organization generally worked with the older immigrant population in Oakland’s Chinatown and the Laotian community in Richmond, California. In the past, they had campaigns to prevent Chevron from expanding their refinery in Richmond (which they succeeded to do!) When I worked there, there were efforts to teach the very pivotal population of Oakland’s Chinatown to vote. Near the end of my time that summer, APEN was starting an effort to create a coalition among the various environmental justice organizations in California to develop a grassroots effort to combat climate change and affect state policy. Also near the end of my time there, APEN was starting a campaign to combat the Dirty Energy Proposition (Prop 23). As an intern, I wrote letters to potential donors and allies and was able to attend many, many meetings–from attending a workshop for the elderly in Chinatown to listening to amazing Asian American activists speak about their experiences during the 1960s in APEN’s partner organizations in San Francisco. I was able to attend many rallies and was able to do precinct walks (related to Prop 23).

It’s so difficult to capture what I loved most about my experience at APEN. Through APEN, I was able to learn so much about grassroots fundraising and about the Asian American communities of Oakland and Richmond, California. I learned just how relevant environmental justice was to these populations and to these areas. My supervisor sponsored me to attend a Camp Wellstone training in Oakland and I learned many valuable skills related to political organizing. I also loved being able to visit San Francisco once a week to attend a speaker series about the history of Asian American organizing in the Bay up to the present day. And this was all a part of my job description as an intern. I loved how my work was to LEARN. And I loved being able to work in the heart of the population that the organization was trying to work with.

U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Labor, and Human Rights
Imani Franklin []

I tracked daily human rights violations in Libya and the West Bank reported in a variety of news sources, wrote a report on the status of women in the Middle East/North Africa, and found case data on prisoners of conscience in Morocco. I loved seeing how genuinely invested some of those with weight at the State Department were in advocacy for disempowered communities.

Filipino Community of Seattle/Anakbayan Seattle
Julian Jaravata  []

Through the Haas Center’s Community Service Work Study program, I worked with the Filipino Community Center’s youth program FilSTAR and organized and facilitated field trips and workshops about Filipino culture/history and immigration as well as general workshops about education including applying for financial aid. We also participated in community events such as a meeting with the city of Seattle’s Human Services Department serving as advocates for culturally relevant and culturally sensitive youth programs. I also organized as a part of Anakbayan Seattle taking part in educational discussions and surveying the Filipino youth sector of Seattle and participating in initiatives launched by youth such as the Northwest Filipino American Student Alliance.

I am grateful for the acceptance of the community and people’s willingness to educate me on the history and current situation of youth in Seattle. I had the opportunity to work with dope people who will continue to serve as mentors for me. I was able to integrate myself within different sectors of the Filipino youth community from the youth in FilSTAR who comprised mainly recent immigrants to working class youth and university-level students. The presence of a community was very strong amongst the people I worked with and I was able to feel a part of the community. They also played a pivotal role in addressing issues that affect the greater activist community in Seattle. For example, members of one of the progressive women’s organization, Pinay Sa Seattle, were able to spearhead discussion and action on the existence of domestic violence within activist circles. I was able to learn a lot and become more confident in my abilities as a community organizer to reach out to people and help build environments for collective education and action.

Gender DynamiX
Alok Vaid-Menon []

I got a Chappell Lougee Research Fellowship and Community Summer Research Internship Grant (from the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity Department) to conduct research on queer activism in South Africa and intern at the first transgender advocacy organization in Africa. I worked with the local queer community, gaining an international perspective and applying my education toward meaningful social change.

Mario Villaplana []

I worked as a Freshmen Engineering Practicum Intern. I automated UI tests for the Google iPhone app. Besides the fun work and people, I liked doing various activities including going to SF Pride with the Gayglers, Google’s LGBTQ-themed group. Crisis Response
Sam King []

I programmed interoperability tests for Person Finder, a missing persons database used in natural disasters. I did social-good work, and I had Google’s resources there to support me.

Sam King []

I programmed for public health in Cambodia. I got to travel and teach Cambodian programmers.

KIPP LA Schools
April Gregory []

I assisted in the development of a college access program called KIPP Through College for alumni of KIPP LA middle schools in the South and East Los Angeles communities. My daily tasks included conducting research on patterns of college attainment amongst students in LA Unified, writing an annual report, doing field work at the KIPP schools, and increasing the visibility of the KIPP Through College program. I worked both in a formal office environment and at school sites, engaging with the CEO of KIPP LA, middle school students, and everyone in between.

Gaining insight into how a successful, thriving, expanding nonprofit organization operates on a day to day basis was an invaluable experience. I was inspired by my supervisors and coworkers and deeply humbled by the teachers and students I met at the KIPP schools. Furthermore, working at KIPP reaffirmed my commitment to pursuing a career in education access and equity while also giving me a sense of connection to and love for the communities of South and East LA. And, to top it all off, the Haas Center was incredibly supportive throughout my fellowship; I would not have been able to work as an unpaid intern for KIPP if it hadn’t been for the Haas summer fellowship program.

National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
Laura Benard []

I did administrative and research support for the development office as well as fundraising event organization. The people there are fantastic – kind, committed to the cause, and always willing to help.  And there’s the added benefit of canine companions all around the office!

National Institutes of Health, Office of Science Education
Jovel Queirolo []

I worked on curriculum development, helped market a government challenge to create and collected replicable science experiments at no cost, and helped high school students explore career options in the biomedical sciences.

I loved seeing such a strong connection between laboratory science, government, and social change. Going to work every day combined my love of science with my desire to contibute to the education reform movement. My favorite memory was attending a meeting at the White House Conference Center with one of my supervisors. NASA, the EPA, and the Department of Energy were also present at the meeting to discuss how government science agencies can create plans and programming to mentor and develop the next generation of innovators.

Project Dosti
Kara  []

I lived at an orphanage primarily for abandoned and destitute girls. I worked on a database for the nonprofit that runs the orphanage and taught english at the affiliated school. I loved hanging out and playing with the girls, as well as getting to know them and experiencing how open and resilient they were.

Stanford School of Medicine Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Medical Education Research Group
Lea Gee-Tong []

I interviewed LGBT identified patients about their experience accessing health care and helped with research tasks related to the ongoing, long-term group projects. All of the group’s projects are related to LGBT health and LGBT related medical education curriculum. Getting the chance to do groundbreaking, interesting, and important research about LGBT health and LGBT patients within a group of wonderfully dedicated individuals- undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students, and faculty advisers. We are looking for one person interested in LGBT health and research to join our team this summer! Please contact me for more information.

The Beat Within
Sharada Jambulapati []

The Beat Within’s mission is to provide incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Through the organization, I was able to edit stories, facilitate workshops, analyze surveys, and help expand the organization’s networks. I especially enjoyed working in the juvenile halls and facilitating writing workshops.  I learned so much from the program’s participants and was inspired by their stories.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Shawn Dye []

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals. As an intern, I wrote for the organization’s website and blog, helped coordinate big coalition meetings, attended Capitol Hill briefings and coordinated an intern event on Youth Voting Rights for other DC interns.

The intern event was one of the most rewarding experiences because it involved me pulling from everything I learned over the summer to put on a successful program. I had the opportunity to work on my research skills, writing skills, public speaking, organizational skills and management skills while putting on an event that motivated other youth to be aware of voter disenfranchisement at the state level.

Urban Adamah
Aliza []

Urban Adamah is an urban farming, cooperative living, Jewishly influenced, social justice driven summer experience! I lived in a house with 12 Jews in their 20s (about half in college, and half had graduated), and we all worked on an urban farm together in Berkeley, two blocks away from the house. In the house, we lived co-op style, and enjoyed cooking and sharing meals together. On the farm, we practiced organic, permaculture-influenced growing techniques, and built in innovative, portable beds. We also worked with kids (it’s really fun to sing about decomposition!) and had weekly internships with local orgs pursuing food justice related missions, like City Slicker farms in West Oakland. Lots of interesting speakers came through as well. And we donated the food we grew to local organizations serving residents without access to healthy foods.

I loved working outside and coming home literally DIRTY every day. It was also great to have such a  hands-on food justice experience to add to my understanding of the issue. Please let me know if you’re interested or have any questions, and definitely contact me if you plan to apply because I will put in a good word!

Uri L’Tzedek
Gideon []

Fellows are selected from universities across the country for an intensive six week Summer Fellowship, located at Uri L’Tzedek’s New York and Los Angeles branches.  Fellows devote their time to activism, leadership training, and social justice seminars. I was excited by the opportunity to work in and learn about the not-for-profit industry in NYC.


Want to add your summer experience to our list? Please contact 

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