National Urban League, New York, NY
The National Urban League (NUL) is a civil rights and urban advocacy organization based in New York with 90 affiliates across the country. NUL is dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. This past summer, I interned with their Talent Management Department and the main projects I was involved with were with the President’s Project and Learning and Development (L&D) team. Although the internship was fully remote, the experience was still very helpful for improving teamwork and communication skills.
The 26-person intern team was challenged to propose solutions to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity within higher education. The project went in-depth into how colleges and universities could improve DEI in different sectors: scholarships and loans, campus policing, and recruitment. In the beginning, it was hard to communicate and work with such a large group. We all started doing research, and then we divided the work and assigned it to smaller groups: writers, designers, and speakers. By the end of the internship, we managed to deliver a good presentation titled, Including U: Broadening DEI in Higher Education, that was met with rave reviews by the National Urban League’s Executive Cabinet.
I also led the design for a training about Effective Communication. This was my first time designing a training in a professional environment following a structured L&D framework. I learned about L&D methodology, which took me from analysis to the implementation phase. This experience made me want to learn more about different methods instructional designers can use to achieve specific objectives. Through this project, I also practiced my skills as a facilitator, receiving valuable feedback that helped me get used to the structured facilitation process required by my supervisor. The intern’s training was an excellent opportunity to improve problem-solving skills, as I had to optimize the limited time and create activities that would achieve specific learning outcomes.
I also wrote recommendations of possible structure and missions for NUL affinity groups (employee resource groups). I based my recommendations on research, and I used internal resources, such as the organization’s demographics and documents from past affinity groups. When writing my proposal, in addition to the affinity group’s description and structure, I reported observations that could be helpful for those who would follow up on the project, such as group size, feasibility, cost, and potential interest level. During the internship, I also explored my ability to design presentations and newsletters using a variety of formats and tools. This will be a transitional skill I can apply at my next job.
Overall, I learned a lot and felt I did meaningful work. My experience at the National Urban League inspired me to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector. I am grateful for this opportunity that made me better understand a nonprofit’s day-to-day operations. This was an incredibly valuable experience that I would not have had if it were not for the generosity of the Class of 1966. Thank you!