IGNITE, Oakland, CA
IGNITE National is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting female representation in politics. They achieve such goals through establishing educational programs at schools K-12, as well as colleges and universities. Such programs (called Chapters), teach young girls and women leadership skills to complement their political and professional ambitions. Additionally, IGNITE strives to have the largest professional network consisting primarily of women either currently or recently holding political office. This strategy allows IGNITE to support women actively engaged in politics and to curate an environment for future generations to demand representation and seize political office.
IGNITE recently received a sizeable donation from the Melinda Gates Foundation to support the organization in their western expansion plans and more. Working with the expansion team, I was able to help grow their network and expand their reach to schools and colleges throughout the west coast. We consisted of a relatively small group of women dedicated to researching communities and gathering contact information of influential women in the area. My job specifically was to research the largest cities and most important women in Oregon. I gathered the contact information of women with careers ranging from state representatives to college professors to high school teachers and admin teams. We had initially planned on beginning outreach towards the end of the summer, but this step was pushed back to the fall. While I still found growth in working at this organization, I would have loved having the opportunity to network with confident and experienced women.
This internship has influenced me in a variety of ways. That said, my goals at Williams remain unchanged. I still plan on majoring in psychology; however, IGNITE has allowed me to better understand my professional goals after graduation and I would like to continue working for nonprofits. I love the idea of working with an organization that is dedicated to bettering the world and achieving socially conscious goals. Furthermore, the collaborative work environment at IGNITE made me realize how highly I value social interaction and collaboration in the office. It felt amazing to feel both appreciated and heard. I still am not sure of my exact professional goals, however, IGNITE has provided me with important insight into what sort of environment and office culture I want in my future. While I would love to continue working with IGNITE after graduation, I still have no explicit interest in involving myself directly in politics. I can, however, see myself behind the scenes working on legislative initiatives or for morally and socially conscious nonprofits.
I would like to thank the Class of 1972 and the ’68 Center for supporting this summer experience.